Monday, November 01, 2004


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.


Tom G. said...

Actually, I'm sort of in favor of the conservative approach in this matter, depending on how you define conservative. Bell and Baylor could be defined as conservative choices, but they would be too conservative in the boring sense. I would prefer a conservatively agressive choice like Leyland, Fregosi, and to a lesser extent Manuel.

Tom G

Tom Goodman said...

In addition to Weaver and LaSorda there was a fellow named Tony La Russa who had no prior experience before taking over the White Sox. Idon't care for the guy but his record is impressive. . . at least until he gets to the big show. I just feel the experience factor is vastly overrated when it comes to managing. What is called for is someone with confidence, chutzpah and instincts. After years of experience, the leading candidates for the Phillies' job (Leyland, Fregosi and Manuel)haven't shown me much more of those qualities than the fellows who haven't had an opportunity. Of the three leaders, Charlie Manuel is the only one whose record was undermined by management's decisions to break up the team.