BOSTON — Baseball was a huge part of Derek Falvey’s upbringing growing up in Lynn. Falvey heard many stories of the city’s baseball legends, the likes of Harry Agganis and Tony Conigliaro, and all their accomplishments. He played Little League in East Lynn and carried his youth career through his teenage years when he played Babe Ruth.
Now Falvey’s living a dream he always aspired to reach — a career in Major League Baseball as the Executive Vice President and Chief Baseball Officer of the Minnesota Twins. He joined the Twins in 2016 after serving as assistant general manager of the Cleveland Indians.
Falvey, who started in Cleveland as an intern in 2007, helped build an Indians team that fell one win short in the 2016 World Series.
“I try never to take it for granted,” said Falvey, 35. “When I first got an internship in Cleveland I took it on and said ‘I don’t feel like I’m working.’ Now even to this day I’ve been very fortunate to have never worked a day in my life over the last 12 years or so. It’s been a lot of fun. I’ve had a lot of people that have been mentors and role models. Nobody does this by himself. I’ve been fortunate that I’ve had a lot of people invested in me.”
His success carried over to Minnesota in 2017. The Twins, coming off a 100-loss season in 2016, bounced back last year to make the playoffs as the second wild-card team. They were the first team in MLB history to reach the postseason after a 100-loss season the previous year.
“In 2016, after I was hired, that was a tough year for this club,” Falvey said. “To come back in 2017 and make the wild card game, go to the playoffs, that’s a tremendous accomplishment. I think it speaks to the guys on this club.”
Falvey returned to his home state this past weekend when his Twins visited the Red Sox for a four-game series at Fenway Park. He said visiting Fenway Park, which he has done on a handful of occasions through his career, always brings back cherished memories of his Lynn childhood.
“Every time I come up here I see this and I think about my upbringing,” said Falvey, who attended Governor’s Academy and played college baseball at Trinity. “I think about Lynn, I think about Lynn baseball, Lynn schools. Anytime I get the chance to talk to somebody related to that, it brings back hometown memories for me. I feel very lucky to have grown up in Lynn. I hope I’m making those who helped me along the way there proud.
“Your home’s always your home,” Falvey added. “That’ll never change. I was fortunate that during the years I was in Cleveland, I came back here quite a bit. Terry Francona, the manager there, I had a great relationship with him and there was a connection there. Fenway Park looks a little different every time I come back, but this is a great place to watch a baseball game. The fans are passionate. They’re all about the Red Sox and there’s an energy in the ballpark.”
And Falvey never forgets his Lynn roots. Growing up playing Little League and hearing tales of the city’s legends allowed Falvey to develop a passion for baseball that he still carries with him.
“I have a number of memories,” Falvey said. “I played East Lynn Little League. I lived in the Highlands, on Allen Ave. Fraser Field, Manning Bowl. Prunier was right there. That was where I played Little League baseball, in the shadows of Manning Bowl. I had some great teammates and great coaches there. We won states in Babe Ruth and went to the New England Regional as 13-year-olds. That was one of the funnest years ever.”
Falvey said he still keeps in touch with friends who live in Lynn. His parents, Candy and Steve, live on the Lynn-Saugus border. He visits his hometown during the holidays and also keeps up with the local high school sports teams whenever he gets the chance.
“I try to get back during Thanksgiving or Christmas,” Falvey said. “My wife (Meghan) and I are both from here. She’s from West of Boston so we get a chance to come back and see our families. That’s when I get the chance to keep an eye on the English-Classical Thanksgiving Day score. I relish the opportunity anytime I can.
“I hope I’m a solid representative of the city,” Falvey said. “I know there are times, from the outside looking in, there’s sometimes reputation elements to Lynn that I think are unfair. I think there are a lot of great people, great families. A lot of hard working, blue-collar working families that still live there that I’m friends with today. My best friend still lives in Lynn, Joe Fannon. That’s as good as it gets. There’s a lot of good people in Lynn.”
Falvey hopes to make Lynn proud as he aims to build another World Series contender in Minnesota.
“We have a tremendous ownership group and a great group of guys,” Falvey said. “It’s not always easy. You have to make tough decisions with these trade deadlines. We have incredible support, the people in Minnesota are great. It’s a great community to be in and raise my family. I miss Lynn and I miss my family, certainly, but I feel very lucky to be here.”