Jerry Krause, a distinguished NBA general manager and longtime baseball scout, passed away Tuesday at the age of 77.
Perhaps the most memorable portion of Krause’s career was his run as GM of the Chicago Bulls. Serving in that position from 1985-2003, Krause oversaw the franchise’s six NBA championships.
Prior to joining Bulls, however, Krause served stints as a scout in both the NBA and Major League Baseball. It was while he was a scout for the Chicago White Sox that he was approached by owner Jerry Reinsdorf about taking over the Bulls. Not long after his time with the Bulls concluded, Krause returned to baseball, as he was hired by the New York Yankees as a scout in 2004.
That began a run in baseball that saw Krause make a stop with the New York Mets and eventually return to the White Sox in 2010. He joined the Arizona Diamondbacks as a special assistant in 2011, and remained with the organization until retiring last year.
Before his career as an NBA GM began, Krause made stops as a baseball scout with the Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s, Seattle Mariners, and the White Sox. While he had a notable track record in both sports, Krause always had a love for baseball, something he explained in a 2011 story in The Chicago Tribune:
“About five or six years after I came to the White Sox, Jerry Reinsdorf wanted me to run the Bulls,” Krause said. “And Bill (Veeck) said: ‘You’re crazy. What are you going to do?’ I said, ‘Well, Bill, I’ll tell you what. I’ve got a kid (Michael Jordan) there who can play a little bit, and I am going to take a sabbatical from baseball and I will be back.’ Well, the sabbatical lasted 18 years.”
After leaving the Bulls, Krause returned to baseball in 2004, scouting for the Mets and Yankees before returning to the Sox in 2010.
“This game is where my heart is. Always will be,” Krause said.
Krause is survived by his wife, Thelma, two children, and four grandchildren, according to an obituary in the Tribune. A memorial service has been scheduled for April 9.