Major Minor

How far afield is Jimmie Lee Solomon from the southeast Texas town where he was raised? Today he’s the executive director of baseball’s farm system—and he may be swinging for even bigger fences.

JIMMIE LEE SOLOMON, MAJOR League Baseball’s executive director of minor league operations, has just done something remarkable, something he almost never does in public. With a long, deep breath, he has come, for a fleeting moment, to a complete and sudden stop.

Indeed, in the previous ten minutes or so of this May afternoon, from behind a desk in his small New York office on the seventeenth floor of a Park Avenue high rise, Solomon was such a mad flurry of nonstop motion he seemed to produce a slight breeze. Demonstrating perfect balance, he simultaneously chatted up someone on the phone, talking so quickly you’d swear he was creating a hybrid language; hand signaled to somebody sitting in front of him; flipped through several memos; and munched his way through a lunch of blueberry yogurt and a large fruit salad.

Solomon developed this type-A personality growing up on a hundred-acre farm in Thompsons (population: 200), a speck on the map in Fort Bend County. “My father, who was a cattle rancher all his life, believed two things: that laziness was a curse and that his sons were made to be farmhands,” says Solomon. “So I had this strong work ethic of making sure I was always doing something and getting a lot done quickly, but I also had this strong aversion to farm life. In fact, farm life is probably the biggest reason why I’m here today, because I ran from it as fast as I could. As a kid it was the motivation for me to play every sport I could and do well in all my classes—anything, than to come home and be at my father’s mercy.”

Since July 1991, the forty-year-old Solomon has been one of baseball’s highest-ranking black executives, of which, currently, there are still only a

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