By week’s end we should know the identity of the new Phillies’ skipper. The consensus seems to be Jim Leyland will be offered the job if he can convince management his burnout in Colorado in 1999 was a combination of high altitude and low talent.
By all accounts the Phillies’ brass are leaning heavily toward someone with experience, which raises the immediate question of why were Terry Pendleton and John Russell even interviewed. A very unscientific run-through of my ever-diminishing gray cells reveals that prior experience is no guarantee of future success and vice-versa. Indeed, some of the most successful managers had no prior big league success either as managers or players. Earl Weaver and Tommy LaSorda leap to mind.
What we have here is the sort of conventional thinking that lead to trouble with the Phillies when the hired Larry Bowa. In that instance it was pre-determined that a players’ manager was out of the question following Terry Francona. (We will ignore Mr. Francona’s subsequent experience managing players.) So, in came Mr. Bowa, at one and the same time the throw-back candidate (tough, intense) and nostalgic choice (1980 champions).
Ed Wade is a cautious, conservative man as are his immediate superiors. The safe choice is someone who has been there before. The wiser choice would be someone whose baggage has no previous claim checks attached to the handle.