Where should Brian Cashman rank among all-time best GMs?

In conjunction with their new book about baseball executives, my friends Mark Armour and Dan Levitt are counting down the 25 greatest general managers in major-league history, one every day. Which makes for some good reading. Friday we got No. 21 on the list, who might have an argument that he’s been jobbed …

Of all the successful general managers in history, few are more of a challenge to access than Brian Cashman. We could see an argument that he should rate much higher — after all, the Yankees have won six pennants and four championships in his 17 years as general manager, a record very few can match. On the other hand, he had some advantages: he started with a great team (he won titles his first three seasons), his ownership provided him enormous financial resources (peaking with a payroll 60 percent more than the second highest team), and there are countless stories of his decisions being overridden by his bosses, at times calling into question who was running the show.

Mark’s post goes into some detail, but that paragraph there says most of what needs saying. Is No. 21 fair? I haven’t the slightest idea. As Mark writes, "The problem is … that no one else in history has ever had a job like it." Which makes any comparisons terribly difficult. If I were feeling particularly charitable or iconoclastic, I might argue for bumping Cashman up a few notes, if only because a) he’s somehow kept his wits about him for all these years, and b) he’s obviously a tremendously bright fellow.

Then again, we haven’t yet seen exactly who ranks ahead of Cashman. And I think it’s worth mentioning that being named 21st-greatest general manager in major-league history is pretty solid.