Submitted on Friday, 11/22/2019, at 3:53 PM

“The amount of ties Amherst has to Major League Baseball is sort of strange, until you consider that it’s the opposite of a school for dummies,” the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette quipped recently, pondering the factors that resulted in the Pittsburgh Pirates hiring Ben Cherington ’96 as their new general manager. He replaces another alum, Neal Huntington ’91.

“The philosophy of Neal and Ben is very much alike,” said Bill Thurston, who spent 44 years at Amherst, coaching until he was 74. “Both are very detailed guys. Both are really focused.”

“Number 1, you’ve got to be a great student to get in,” Thurston said, about why Amherst has been such a great proving ground for futures in baseball. “You’re working with smart guys. I tried to recruit guys who loved the game. They became students of the game — not just playing but understanding it.”

Amherst is also the alma mater of Dan Duquette ’80, former GM of the Baltimore Orioles, the Montreal Expos and the Boston Red Sox. He hired Cherington as an area scout for the Red Sox in 1999. Jared Banner ' 07 serves as vice president of Player Personnel for the Red Sox.