Replacing Terry Francona in Boston: Arizona Wildcat styleby Christopher C. Wuensch on Sep. 30, 2011, under Sports
The Boston Red Sox have declined to pick up the option on manager Terry Francona’s contract, effectively ending the former Arizona Wildcats’ tenure in BeanTown.
Francona leaves Boston with a 744-552 record and the franchise’s only two World Series titles in the past 92 years.
The search for a new BoSox skipper begins immediately. Here’s suggesting that the Red Sox choose another former Wildcat to man the bench for the 2012 season.
Hiring former pitchers and former pitching coaches as managers is en vogue these days as baseball enters a post-steroid “pitcher’s era.” See San Diego Padre skipper Bud Black and freshly interimed Chicago White Sox manager Don Cooper as an example.
Trevor Hoffman, a year removed from his retirement, could provide leadership to the Red Sox’ depleted pitching staff.
The former all-time saves leader could also breathe down the neck of closer Jonathan Papelbon, whose lone loss of 2011 came on the season’s final day and knocked the BoSox from the postseason contention.
When being a slugging outfielder wasn’t working out for Brian Anderson in the White Sox, Red Sox and Kansas City Royals organizations, ex-Cat Brian Anderson converted to pitcher. He lasted one season on the hill before being cut by the Royals and New York Yankees during the 2011 season.
Perhaps it’s time for the enigmatic Andersonto give coaching a try.
Alan Zinter stepped into the batter’s box just 84 times in his brief two-year career with the Houston Astros and Arizona Diamondbacks — and struck out 34 of those times.
When it comes to baseball experience, however, he might very well be the Crash Davis of his era, earning 5,544 plate appearances (250 career home runs) in 19 minor league seasons — 108 of those in the Red Sox farm system in 1995.
Currently he coaches for the Diamondbacks’ Double-A affiliate the Mobile Bay Bears.
Catchers traditionally make good coaches. Plus, if the Red Sox really want to chap their rivala the Yankees, why not hire a guy who donned the pinstripes in the 80s?
Former Wildcat Ron Hassey currently coaches for the Jupiter (Fla.) Hammerheads, a Single-A Advanced affiliate of the Florida Marlins. He could even sign his son, ex-Wildcat shortstop and former Toronto Blue Jay prospect Brad Hassey as a bench coach.
The affable J.T. Snow — a six-time Gold Glove-winning first baseman — could stress defense to the Red Sox, who completed a MLB-worst 120 double plays in 2011.
Snow finished his 16-year career in Boston, playing 38 games for the Sox in 2006.
Probably the most qualified and plausable choice among ex-Wildcats.
Chip Hale was among the finalist for the New York Mets top job prior to this season, a gig that, eventually, went to Terry Collins.
Hale’s served as bench coach for the Mets and the Arizona Diamondbacks. He also headed up the DBacks’ Triple-A affiliate the Tucson Sidewinders where he went a franchise-best 91-53 and earned Pacific Coast League Manager of the Year honors.
Shelley Duncan is still active and playing for the Cleveland Indians. And even though he set or equaled career highs for home runs (11), RBI (47) and batting average (.260), in 2011, his career has yet to fully take off in five years.
Younger brother Chris Duncan was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals out of Canyon Del Oro High School and didn’t go to the University of Arizona like Shelley. But he did grow up in OroValley, so he’s well versed in the Bear Down tradition.
And although Chris hasn’t pulled on a Major League uniform since 2009 with the Cards, he has spent some time since then in the Red Sox farm system.
Their careers might not equal much individually, but perhaps as a managerial duo they could challenge Marcel and Rene Lachemann (301-350) as the winningest brother combo in baseball history.
It helps having coaching in their blood. Dave Duncan, their father, has been a Big League pitching coach continually since 1979 for five franchises, including his current stint with the Cardinals, which began 15 years ago.
As long as we’re talking progressive strategies (managerial brother duos to wit), why not bring back the player-manager — a task not seen in baseball since Pete Rose multi-tasked during the 1986 season?
If the Red Sox choose to go that route, how about trying catcher Nick Hundley in a dual capacity? The former Wildcat enjoyed career bests across the board this season for the Padres (.288 batting average, 9 HR’s) and is now a free agent this off-season.
It worked for Charlie Hustle and the Cincinnati Reds. Who knows? Perhaps it can work again for the Red Sox.
Author’s Note: This compilation is satirical in nature. Please don’t hammer my comments box over semantics.