Freeport grad Cromie takes advantage of his opportunities, serves as assistant GM for Nationals
Like many baseball fans, Adam Cromie read “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game” when it came out in 2003.
But more than being interested by the story of how the small-market Oakland Athletics used statistical analysis to become a playoff team, Cromie was intrigued by the number of people in the team's front office.
“I think that it was a different takeaway than most people had from the book,” Cromie said. “But the life-changing thing for me was, ‘Wow, this is something I could do for a living.'”
It took some time, but 31-year-old Cromie is, indeed, working in baseball. The 2001 Freeport graduate recently became an assistant general manager for the Washington Nationals, getting a bump up from the team's director of baseball operations position.
“This has really kind of been my dream since I was 18 or 19 years old, and to get here and have an opportunity to contribute at this level is pretty humbling,” said Cromie, “It makes you think a lot about all the people who helped you get here. When something like this comes along, it's not something that's just the result of my hard work or my aptitude. It's really the result of a lot of people who have helped me along.”
Cromie works in the day-to-day operations of the Nationals. As director of baseball operations, he worked with scouts and player development officials within the organization. As assistant general manager, he will be more involved with agents and in contract negotiations, as well as with league officials.
“A lot of the subject matter's the same, but the people I'm working with and the audience is different,” Cromie said.
The path to his new position wasn't easy. After Freeport, Cromie attended Allegheny College for undergraduate work and the University of Massachusetts for graduate school. He wrote a thesis on how major league baseball organizations use their minor league teams to their advantage.
He interned with the Washington Wild Things and also worked as a video scout for Baseball Info Solutions, a baseball data and analytics service, as well as with an agency before breaking in with the Nationals as an unpaid intern in the winter of 2007.
“I worked really for minimum wage or for free for a very long time,” Cromie said.
“Frankly, I had an easier road than a lot of others had. I ended up in a place where there was a lot of opportunity.
“It was a very small front office with a lot of jobs or job functions unfilled. When I got here, there was a lot for me to grab on to. I was able to get a lot of responsibility very quickly, and that's not the case for a lot of people who worked just as hard or harder than I have.”
The Nationals rose from a struggling franchise to one of the best in the majors while Cromie has been on board. Washington posted the worst record in MLB in 2008 and 2009, but won the National League East Division in both 2012 and 2014.
“As proud as I am of what we've been able to do on the field, I'm just as proud of the things we've been able to do off of it,” Cromie said. “Between the resources we've been given by our ownership group, Mike Rizzo's leadership as general manager and just a lot of quality people in the organization, I think we've gone from being a team that really struggled to make baseball decisions to a team that really excels at being able to scout, develop players and to make baseball decisions.
“I'm really proud of that, and I think that's the framework for what we've been able to do on the field.”