Earlier this week, MMQB's Greg Bedard put together a fantastic profile on San Francisco 49ers general manager Trent Baalke. We hear bits and pieces about him, but this might be the best profile thus far. I can't recommend it enough. Additionally, Bedard wrote a quick follow-up section in his weekend notes column, with four fairly lengthy quotations about different aspects of his work. Give both articles a read.
The initial profile all sorts of interesting information about Baalke. I think some of us have known some of it, but putting it all together creates an interesting picture. Good call by $20 on Joe vs. Dan for suggesting a quick rundown of things we didn't know about Trent Baalke.
1. Grew up in Rosendale, Wisconsin
2. As teenager, worked odd jobs canning vegetables on an assembly line and making paint rollers
3. Played outside linebacker at Bemidji State in Minnesota.
4. Taught and did construction work after college
5. Was strength and defensive line coach at North Dakota State
6. Served as high school athletic director in Fargo, North Dakota
7. First NFL job was as scout for the New York Jets in 1998, after an unexpected interview. Followed that from 2001-2004 as national scout for Washington, and then college scouting coordinator. Became 49ers western region scout in 2005.
8. Writes his own reply cards to people who contact him.
9. Has a certain amount of dry wit:
[Packers GM Ted] Thompson remembers asking Baalke what he told kicker Adam Vinatieri when he coached him in college at South Dakota State. What was the wisdom that he passed along to the future Hall of Famer? “I told him to kick it through the uprights,” Baalke responded.
The article includes quite a few small anecdotes worth reading beyond just the facts stated above. Bedard spoke with Jim Harbaugh, and Coach Harbaugh discussed Baalke's eye for talent, including the drafting of Bruce Miller and the signing of Michael Wilhoite as an undrafted free agent.
The second article Bedard wrote featured Baalke providing some quick hits on topics related to his work. He talked about his influences, which included Dick Haley (Jets Director of Player Personnel when Baalke was there) and Bill Parcells. Back in late 2010, when the 49ers were figuring out their GM and coaching positions, Parcells provided an endorsement for Baalke.
The second article also has Baalke discussing Bill Belichick in particular, as well as the pressure to compete with the Seahawks, and the development of young players.
After the first article came out, Matt Maiocco wrote about a particular instance that hit on Baalke's somewhat OCD personality. He talked about the 49ers time spent in Youngstown in 2011 between games. Baalke went with Jed York to York's old high school, and while York was taking a tour, Baalke stayed outside. When York came out after the tour, he found Baalke having pulled some weeds that were growing in the front driveway to the school. Give that a read, and as I said, give the MMQB article a read as well.