Larry Baer is one of professional sports’ leading visionaries. After graduating from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School, he worked in the media industry for Westinghouse Broadcasting and CBS Inc. before working in Major League Baseball.
A San Francisco native, he started working with the Giants in the early 1990s when he led the effort to assemble a new ownership group that kept the Giants in San Francisco. In 2012, he became CEO of the Major League Baseball team.
During his first year as CEO, the Giants won their second World Series Championship in three years. In 2014, the team continued its winning streak by landing its third prestigious World Series title.
Additionally, Larry Baer oversaw the construction of Oracle Park, dubbed one of the “best ballparks ever built” by many fans. Since the park opened in 2000, it has garnered much acclaim, earning the title of Sports Business Journal’s Sports Facility of the Year in 2008.
Baer is also the chairman and CEO of Giants Development Services. This branch of the company is currently constructing a new, mixed-use urban neighborhood on the site across McCovey Cove from Oracle Park. Once complete, Mission Rock will include around 1,500 new residential units; over a million square feet of offices; 250,000 square feet of retail, restaurants, and amenities; and 8 acres of parks and natural open space.
Larry Baer has served on numerous Major League Baseball boards, including chairing the Strategic Planning Committee, the Business and Media Board, and the International Committee. He has also been recognized with countless honors and titles.
In 2012, he received the award for Alumnus of the Year from Harvard Business School. Two years later, he was honored by the University of California Berkeley with the Excellence in Achievement award, and in 2019, he received the Excellence in Leadership Award from the University of California Berkeley’s Baseball Foundation.
He lives with his wife, Pam, in San Francisco, and the couple has four children together.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
During the week, I stick to a strict schedule. That means getting up around 6:00 a.m. and heading downstairs for a workout. Next, I catch up on current affairs by reading three newspapers before eating breakfast.
I grab a coffee or tea on the way to work and, by the time I reach the office, I have a clear mind and am ready to attack the day. You’ll find me meandering from office to office, checking in with my colleagues, and brainstorming throughout the day. I believe that collaborating with the entire team helps me be more productive.
My Saturdays typically start with an early-morning dog walk and either a coffee with friends or a quick round of golf. I devote Sundays to family time, hanging out with Pam and the rest of the family and catching up on the latest political interview shows.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I don’t think ideas come to life through written proposals. You get so much more from people when you are fully immersed in the process on a personal level. I try to conduct as much of my business as I can this way. Often, that means having in-person brainstorms, office visits, and phone calls.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I’m excited by the recent engagement of the younger generation, including our children, in social justice causes. Seeing their passion and depth of engagement exceeding that of my own generation is encouraging. It gives me hope for the future.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I exercise seven days a week. Regardless of how I’m feeling or what’s going on, I get up and get moving. I have this relentless discipline to thank for keeping me centered and productive.
What advice would you give your younger self?
Don’t be so hard on yourself and grind so hard at work. It will all turn out fine.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
I believe that the United States can come together and prosper. I am optimistic for a positive future that we can build together.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I make sure to say “I love you” to my wife and children regularly. It may sound like a small thing but I think it’s a big thing and really does matter.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
I believe that a solid team is at the center of any successful organization. By expressing an interest in my co-workers as individuals, rather than just colleagues, I’ve built genuine bonds with my staff.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I’ve tried working with our ballpark neighbors and the local community to gain positive results regarding the homelessness crisis, but we’ve yet to gain positive results.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently bought a subscription to Headspace, the mindfulness app. It’s an investment in my mental health. Mindfulness has become a buzzword of late, but that’s only a testament to the mounting evidence that it works. I carve out time each day for mindful meditation.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I’m reading President Obama’s memoir and would recommend that everyone does the same. It’s the true story of American success and breaking down barriers against all odds. It’s an inspiring, engaging, and important read.
What is your favorite quote?
“Some men see things as they are and ask ‘why.’ I dream of things that never were and ask ‘why not.’” – Robert Kennedy
- Larry Baer, the SF Giants CEO, believes that a productive day is one that starts early.
- Larry Baer is excited by the new generation’s commitment to social justice.
- Larry Baer discusses the power of face-to-face conversations.
- Larry Baer recommends that everyone read President Obama’s memoir.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.