ATLANTA -- If Braves assistant general manager Perry Minasian were to list his greatest experiences in the baseball world, some of the highlights would include chilling with Tommy Lasorda, traveling with Nolan Ryan, wrestling with Bo Jackson and mingling with a pre-President George W. Bush.Oh, and to truly make this
ATLANTA -- If Braves assistant general manager Perry Minasian were to list his greatest experiences in the baseball world, some of the highlights would include chilling with Tommy Lasorda, traveling with Nolan Ryan, wrestling with Bo Jackson and mingling with a pre-President George W. Bush.
Oh, and to truly make this list even more impressive, he could point out he did all of this before he was 18 years old, back when he and his brothers were working for their father, Zack, the longtime Rangers' clubhouse manager who gave his sons a chance to be a part of his daily life in the baseball world.
"I'm appreciative of all the things I got to see and all of the people I got to meet," Perry Minasian said. "You grow up fast. My fondest memories were just being around the different personalities and seeing how different people can be successful. There isn't just one mold."
Once united within the Texas clubhouses that their father ran from 1988-2009, the Minasian boys have flocked in different directions. Oldest son Rudy's days overseeing the kitchen at The Ballpark have been replaced by his duties as a lawyer in Chicago. Perry's memories of his eight-year stint as the stadium's bathroom cleaner have faded into the distance as he's established himself as a top executive for the Blue Jays and Braves. Zack is a special advisor with the Brewers, and Calvin, the youngest of the bunch, is the Nationals' Minor League clubhouse and equipment coordinator.
"My dad got us started early," Perry said. "I was eight when I started. We worked hard. It wasn't just show up and leave. Child labor laws wouldn't approve, but I wouldn't change a thing about what we got to do and experience."
During this holiday season, the brothers have been reunited at their parents' Chicago-area home. Barbara, the matriarch of the Minasian clan, welcomes her sons into her home with the understanding that she may have to serve as a referee as her highly-competitive boys engage in constant baseball chatter.
"We're very competitive," the Braves executive said. "I love my brothers to death, but they want to beat me as much as they want to beat anybody else. So, it's not like we're trading secrets. I wouldn't say the conversations are about family bragging rights, but there has to be some level of competitiveness among us."
Every so often, the chatter turns to real business and has to be conducted separately in separate rooms. Such was the case during Thanksgiving in 2010, when Zack and Perry, then the directors of scouting for their respective clubs, had to step away from the turkey to discuss the framework of a deal, which, when completed a couple weeks later, sent Shaun Marcum from Toronto to Milwaukee in exchange for Brett Lawrie.
"Because we're so spread out, this is my favorite time of the year, because it's one of the few opportunities we have to be together," Perry said. "We're competitive, but it's also nice to have people you love and trust who understand what you're going through on daily basis. We don't let each other get too high, and we're there to pick each other up when necessary."
Before becoming the patriarch of this Minasian clan, the elder Zack Minasian was the son of a man who just happened to be Lasorda's best friend. At 14 years old, he entered the baseball world by traveling from Los Angeles to Ogden, Utah, to serve as the clubhouse manager, equipment manager and travel director for the Rookie-level team that was being managed by the future Dodgers' Hall of Fame manager.
Many years and escapades with his best friend Bobby Valentine later, the eldest Minasian landed with the Rangers and soon after started to give his boys a daily look at life in the Majors
Perry Minasian fondly remembers sitting next to Ryan on flights and serving as a batboy as the Hall of Famer spun his sixth no-hitter. He chatted with Bush without any sense the Rangers' owner would one day be better recognized as the future leader of the free world. And he still proudly remembers the bruises he found when he removed his shirt a few hours after Jackson had playfully wrestled him to the ground.
Minasian now leans on his childhood experiences to better identify those traits that separate different players. He saw how Sparky Anderson, Tom Kelly, Lasorda and other managerial greats went about their business. He later spent two years as Buck Showalter's staff assistant in Texas, an experience he likens to going to Harvard in the baseball world.
Bolstered by these experiences with these men -- as well as Mel Didier, the late great scout who served as his mentor -- Minasian joined the Blue Jays as a Major League scout in 2009 and became the director of scouting a year later, when Alex Anthopoulos became Toronto's general manager.
Now courtesy of twists and turns neither could have envisioned as recently as three months ago, Anthopoulos is running the Braves' baseball operations department that Minasian joined in September. He's appreciative to be with one of his best friends and every bit as thankful for the assistance he's already gained from Braves CEO Terry McGuirk and the club's two Hall of Fame leaders -- Bobby Cox and John Schuerholz.
"I couldn't be more excited to be where I'm at with this organization and in the city of Atlanta," Minasian said. "It's a great place to be. I think it's one of the best places to work in all of sports."
Mark Bowman has covered the Braves for MLB.com since 2001.