A.J. Hinch was never in the running to take over the Stanford baseball program when Mark Marquess retired following the 2017 season.
"I have a pretty good thing going here," Hinch said while the Houston Astros were in Oakland this past summer.
The Stanford grad still has a lot of ties to his former school. He's just not ready to give up his day job.
Hinch's first job as a manager, with the Arizona Diamondbacks, ended in a mid-season dismissal. But he's always possessed a sharp baseball mind and he kept at it, and continued to learn.
He was drafted twice before getting his Stanford degree in psychology and then signed with the Oakland Athletics after being drafted a third time, where he made his major-league debut in 1998.
A mostly forgettable playing career turned into a sensational executive career. On Wednesday, Hinch (408-316 as a manager) reached the pinnacle of his profession when the Astros beat Palo Alto grad Joc Pederson and the Los Angeles Dodgers, 5-1, in game 7 of the World Series.
"The players are really what makes the sport go," Hinch said. "And the more you can get out of them, the more you can get them to trust in you, believe in you as a leader, the better you'll be as a manager."
That's something Hinch had to learn the hard way.
"At least for me, as a young guy I didn't appreciate what it took to put your heart and soul into the players and let them see you for who you are, and in return ask them to be themselves," he said.
Until he got to the Astros.