Born in Sackville, N.B. in 1940, Murray Cook has spent more than half a century in professional baseball. After graduating from Ohio University with a master’s degree in history in 1962, he was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played shortstop and third base in the lower levels of their system for parts of four years, before hanging up his spikes to become the general manager of their Class-A affiliate in Gastonia in 1966.
Cook impressed in his new role and the Pirates promoted him to their big league front office in 1967. He was named the team’s assistant farm director the following year and soon rose through the ranks to become the club’s assistant director of minor league operations in 1972 and director of scouting in 1977.
After 21 years in the Pirates organization, Cook was hired to be the New York Yankees scouting director in January 1983. Just over six months later, he was named the club’s general manager, becoming just the second Canadian to be a big league GM (Huntsville, Ont., native George Selkirk was the Washington Senators’ GM from 1964 to 1969). Cook remains just one of five Canadians to serve as a GM at the major league level. The others are Selkirk, Gord Ash (Toronto Blue Jays, 1995 to 2001), Doug Melvin (Texas Rangers, 1994 to 2001; Milwaukee Brewers, 2003 to present) and Alex Anthopoulos (Toronto Blue Jays, 2009 to present).
In 1984, Cook was reassigned to the position of vice-president and director of scouting with the Yankees, before he replaced John McHale as general manager of the Expos on September 5 of that year. Drafting Randy Johnson, signing free agent Dennis Martinez and rebuilding the Expos into a surprising contender were among the highlights of his close to three years in Montreal.
Following his tenure with the Expos, he served as the general manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 1988 and 1989. Since 1990, he has worked in scouting capacities for the Minnesota Twins, Miami Marlins, Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers. In 2010, he was named East Scout of the Year for his contributions to the scouting field. He is currently the Tigers’ East Coast regional cross checker.