History: Marlins Managers Cont.


Today we continue our trek down Marlins Memory Lane with the final five men who have managed the Marlins up to this point in history.

Jeff Torborg:

Torborg spent the 1960s and 1970s behind the plate with the Dodgers and Angels.  In 1977, he tried his hand at managing.  He managed the Indians for three seasons, got fed up, and took most of the 1980s off, that was a crazy decade anyway, who wouldn’t?

Torborg returned to managing in 1989 for the Chicago White Sox and in 1990 he won the AL Manager of the year award where he lead the White Sox to a 94 win season.  He then went to the Mets for the 1992 – 1993 seasons and took the remainder of the 1990s off.  Apparently a glutton for punishment, Torborg helmed the Expos in 2001.

His tenure with the Marlins in 2002 – early 2003 was short lived and uneventful and after starting off the 2003 season with a 16 -22 record Torborg was shown the door.

Torborg called games for the Atlanta Braves in 2006 and 2007 but his contract was not renewed and he has since faded into obscurity.

Jack McKeon:

John Aloysius McKeon, known throughout the galaxy as “Trader Jack,” spent his entire playing career as a catcher (GASP!) in the minor leagues.

Jack began his major league managing career with the Kansas City Royals where he managed from 1973 – 1975.  Then, in 1977 (very good year!) and 1978 he managed with the Oakland Athletics.

Jack took the next ten years off and in 1988, he made his triumphant return to managing with the San Diego Padres where he stayed until 1990.

McKeon took the next seven years off possibly to visit Tibet (yes, I totally went there) and returned in 1997 aAnother great year!) to coach the Cincinnati Reds for the next three seasons where he would win the first of his two National League Manager of the Year awards in 1999.  His second would come with the Marlins in 2003.

Interesting story about how McKeon came to become the Marlins manager in 2003.  After the Marlins fired Jeff Torborg and were scrambling to find someone to replace him the front office asked Bill Beck, the club’s senior director of team travel, about, “His Guy” who was, of course, Jack McKeon, with whom Bill had worked previously with the Padres and Royals.  On Bill’s recommendation the club hired McKeon and he promptly led the Marlins to their second World Championship in team history.  Thanks to both Bill Beck and his lovely daughter, and my good friend, Lauren Beck for providing this great story.

Today Jack is again managing the Marlins as the oldest manager currently in Major League Baseball and second oldest person to ever manage at 80 years young.

Joe Girardi:

Former Major League catcher (I’m seeing a pattern here!) for the Cubs (1989 – 1992), Rockies (1993 – 1995), Yankees (1996 – 1999), back to the Cubs (2000 – 2002), and finally with the Cardinals (2003).

Girardi’s first managing gig was with the Marlins beginning in 2006.  He led the fish to a 78 -84 finish in a season that was replete with significant events that transpired on the field and off.  Girardi’s famous on camera squabble with Marlins owner Jeffery Loria over Loria’s expressing his displeasure with an umpire during a game pretty much sealed Girardi’s fate as he was let go after the season ended, but not before he was awarded the National League Manager of the Year.

Today Giradi is the manager of the New York Yankees and he led them to a World Championship in 2009.

Fredi Gonzalez:

I really want to not like this guy, especially as many times as I had to watch in agony time and time again as he left pitchers in games WAY too long, but for some reason, I can’t completely dislike the guy.  Fredi Gonzalez spent his playing career in the Yankees minor league system as a, wait for it, wait for it…CATCHER!

Fredi began his managing career with the Miami Miracle in 1990 and joined the Marlins organization in 1992 and spent time managing and coaching at various levels within both the Marlins and the Atlanta Braves organizations in the later 1990s and early 2000s.

Gonzalez was named manager of the Marlins after the firing of Joe Girardi at the end of the 2006 season and coached the Marlins to two winning seasons in 2008 and 2009.  His tenure with the Marlins ended after not meeting expectations in June of 2010.

Today Fredi can be seen managing and collecting former Marlin players like Pokemon (Gotta Catch em, All!) and calling them the Atlanta Braves.

Edwin Rodriguez:

Edwin’s career as a player was that of an infielder (broke the pattern here, that explains a lot!) for the New York Yankees in 1982 and with the San Diego Padres in 1983 and again in 1985.

Edwin got his first managing gig with the Marlins after the fish gave Fredi Gonzalez the boot in 2010.  Edwin did alright the rest of the 2010 season and started the 2011 season off REALLY well until the bottom fell out and the curse of Buster Posey caused the Marlins to spiral downward at a rapid pace.  Edwin fell on his sword and resigned in June of 2011 with a 32 – 39 record.

Don’t know what Edwin is up to nowadays but if I were him I’d probably be growing Bonzai trees in Okinawa.

Well kids, that is the story of the ten men who have led the Marlins on the field of battle through their eighteen years of existence.   Tune in next week when I……..ah hell I’ll just keep you guessing, how’s that?