“He takes the reins of an organization that's wandering in the wilderness and delivers them to the promised land,” Obama said. “I talked to him about being DNC chair.”
Everyone laughed at the joke, and the Cubs president of baseball operations said afterwards he had no intention of entering the ring.
But two months later, Fortune Magazine named Epstein as the “World’s Greatest Leader,” beating out the likes of Chinese billionaire Jack Ma, Pope Francis, Melinda Gates and Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, who was No. 1 in 2016. Another Chicagoan, Chance the Rapper, ranked 46th.
Asked about the honor, Epstein said in a text it was “absurd” and admitted "I can't even get my dog to stop peeing in the house."
In a statement he also texted to other media outlets, Epstein added: "The whole thing is patently ridiculous. It's baseball — a pastime involving a lot of chance. If (Ben) Zobrist's ball is three inches farther off the line, I'm on the hot seat for a failed five-year plan. And I'm not even the best leader in our organization; our players are.”
Zobrist’s tenth inning double in Game 7 of the 2016 World Series propelled the Cubs to their first championship since 1908.
Epstein has received much of the plaudits for the Cubs’ title, and has unsuccessfully tried to deflect the attention back on the players, coaches and his underlings. But since he also was in charge when the Red Sox ended their own championship drought in 2004, the reputation as a curse-breaker is certain to take him to the Baseball Hall of Fame.
“People who know me know I still have a good chance to screw it up,” he said.
Epstein, who signed a five-year extension last year, reiterated he doesn’t plan on going into politics when his baseball career is over, but hopes to make a positive impact on society in whatever endeavor he takes.
Now that he’s been named the “world’s greatest leader” the door is wide open. Maybe he can even run for pope someday.
But first Epstein has to walk the dog.