Jon Daniels is 30. He’s a little geeky. The last time he played baseball was in Little League, and he wasn't very good. Jon Daniels also is in his third season as manager of the Texas Rangers, part of a new breed of sports executives sprung not from the rough and tumble fields but from academia and white-collar work. Fast Company profiles the league's youngest manager and his efforts—yes, there's hope, Rangers fans—to turn the mediocre team around.
"I like to think of myself as a collaborative decision-maker, not a power-hungry boss," said Daniels, who broke into the business via a low-paying internship after seeing how happy a friend was in a similar baseball job. "I want everyone's opinion." Daniels has worked to instill a happy-to-work-here vibe in the front office—moms even got Mother's Day cards this year—and led a transformation of the team's scouting and farm systems. Now the Rangers—better, but still a .500 team—have to start winning more.