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THE D-BACKS MOURN THE PASSING OF ROLAND HEMOND

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A sad day but a life well lived.

Sports Contributor Archive 2019
Roland Hemond, 1983 Chicago
Photo by Ron Vesely/MLB Photos via Getty Images

This is the team’s press release on the passing of Roland Hemond. I’m sorry I was not able to get this up yesterday:

Roland Hemond (October 26, 1929-December 12, 2021) passed away last night at the age of 92. His career spanned 8 decades and 70 seasons, from 1951-2020, including time with the Boston/Milwaukee Braves, Los Angeles Angels, Chicago White Sox, Baltimore Orioles and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Hemond spent 19 seasons with the D-backs as Senior Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations (1996-2000) and Special Assistant to the President & CEO (2007-20). The Arizona Diamondbacks, in 2017, renamed the seating area behind home plate “The Roland Hemond Scout Section” in honor of his accomplishments throughout the game. In 2015, the team dedicated Roland Hemond Field, which is located at Alkire Park in Phoenix and was the team’s 35th field in the “Diamonds Back” Field Building Program, presented by APS. In 2012, the executive conference room at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick was also named in his honor.

Hemond Family statement:

“He passed peacefully in his son Jay’s arms. The Hemond family shared many laughs with him until the end, and we appreciate the love and support of all his baseball family.”

D-backs statement from Ken Kendrick/Managing General Partner and Derrick Hall/President & CEO:

“Roland was one of baseball’s greatest ambassadors, and his impact on the game is beyond measure. We were lucky he was a D-back for 19 years as our organization is better because of his time here. His legacy will live on through those whose lives he touched and mentored on a daily basis as everyone who met him became a friend and had a favorite Roland story. One of his personal mottos, ‘Enjoy the moment,’ serves as a good reminder of a life well lived.”

He was a 3-time winner of MLB’s Executive of the Year award and spent 23 years as a General Manager with the Chicago White Sox and Baltimore Orioles. Hemond helped found the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation to provide assistance to longtime scouts in need of special support and is also considered the architect of the Arizona Fall League. In 2011, his extraordinary efforts to enhance the game’s positive impact on society were recognized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum’s Board of Directors as the second recipient of the Buck O’Neil Lifetime Achievement Award, bestowed upon an individual whose efforts broadened the game’s appeal and whose character, integrity and dignity is comparable to the late O’Neil, who passed away in 2006 after 8 decades of contributions to the game.

The 4 annual awards named in Hemond’s honor are a testament to one of the game’s greatest ambassadors as well as his professionalism, friendliness and willingness to contribute ideas and advice, among his many attributes unmatched in the industry. The first is presented by the Chicago White Sox in honor of those dedicated to bettering the lives of others through extraordinary personal sacrifice. The Baseball Americaaward is presented to the person who has made major contributions to scouting and player development. The Society of American Baseball Research (SABR) award is given to the executive who has displayed great respect for scouts. The final award is presented by the D-backs to an individual in scouting who exemplifies the qualities of strong character, dedication to the organization and an unfailing work ethic in the search for championship-level talent.

He is survived by his wife, Margo; their 5 children: Susan, Tere, Robert, Jay and Ryan; and their 4 grandchildren: Taylor, Zane, Cameron and Natalie.

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I’d just like to share a little personal experience with Roland. The first time I met him was shortly after I started working for the team as he was an advisor at that point. I didn’t really get to talk to him much though until there was a group trip down to the opening of spring training in Tucson. We sat on the bus together for the ride down and it was wonderful talking to him. He shared stories of his time as a GM, and I’ll aways remember his comment:

“The only time I was ever worried he made a mistake was when everyone universally said I made a great trade”. That not only showed his humility to me, but more importantly, it showed he really was wary of group think, and that attitude plays in any era. It was a valuable lesson for me.

I told him all about what I was doing of course, and I was worried I was chewing his ear off. When we were boarding the bus on the way back to Phoenix I stood off to the side because I didn’t want to impose. But he waved me over and said “aren’t you going to sit with me on the way back ?” Words can’t express how validating that was !

Over the years we chatted a little when we saw each other, but never at that length or intimacy. The last time I saw him was at a SABR event for his birthday, and his family was there too. It was heartwarming to see how everyone at the event responded to him.

RIP Roland. Well done sir.