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BoSox name Francona manager
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Old 03 Dec 2003, 06:06 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Default BoSox name Francona manager

BOSTON -- Now it will be Terry Francona's turn to see whether he can lead the Boston Red Sox to the World Series.


Francona will be hired as the new Red Sox manager, a baseball source told The Associated Press on Wednesday, speaking on the condition of anonymity.


The ex-Philadelphia Phillies manager will join his former ace, Curt Schilling, as they try to bring the Red Sox their first championship since 1918.


Francona did not immediately return a call seeking comment. Red Sox spokesman Charles Steinberg said the team had no announcement to make.


But the source told the AP that the team has scheduled a Thursday afternoon news conference at which they will announce Francona's hiring.


Francona, 44, managed Philadelphia through four losing seasons from 1997-2000 when the Phillies were a young team trying to rebuild.


Francona will be under pressure to win immediately in Boston, where Grady Little averaged 94 wins over two seasons but was let go after the team collapsed in the seventh game of the AL Championship Series.


The Red Sox also interviewed Los Angeles third-base coach Glenn Hoffman, Anaheim bench coach Joe Maddon and Texas first-base coach DeMarlo Hale. But Francona was established as an early front-runner, and his hiring was delayed only by the team's pursuit of Schilling, acquired last week in a trade with Arizona.


The Red Sox traded four players for Schilling last week, but the deal was held up while they negotiated a contract extension with the 37-year-old pitcher to get him to waive his no-trade clause. They agreed Friday to a deal that will pay him $37.5 million over the next three years, with an option for a fourth.


Schilling said one incentive for him to sign in Boston was word that Francona was "a slam dunk" to be the new manager. Even so, he made it clear that he did not make Francona's hiring a condition of the deal, nor did the Red Sox promise it.


Under Little, the Red Sox made the playoffs last season for the first time since 1999. They came back from a 2-0 deficit against Oakland, winning three in a row to take the best-of-five, first-round series and play the New York Yankees for the right to go to the World Series.


Boston led New York 5-2 in the seventh inning of the decisive seventh game, but Little opted to go with tiring ace Pedro Martinez instead of a recently rehabilitated bullpen. Martinez blew the lead, the Yankees won 6-5 on Aaron Boone's 11th-inning homer off Tim Wakefield and Little was let go after the season.


Red Sox management insisted that Little's fate wasn't determined by one loss. Instead, the Boston brass had grown frustrated by his lack of preparation and willingness to wing it rather than trusting the statistical analysis they thought was the solution to the team's 85-year championship drought.


Now, they turn to Francona, who said after his interview that he was open to using statistics as one resource among many.


He did not immediately return a call seeking comment Wednesday.


Francona managed Philadelphia to a 285-363 record over four years, never winning more than 77 games. That was a young team that considered improvement a success.


"The one thing you just die for is a chance to win," Francona said after his interview. "To have a chance to win and to be expected to win is what you play for, what you coach for."


Francona spent the 2001 season as special assistant to baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians and was bench coach for the Texas Rangers in 2002. He was a bench coach for Oakland this season when the A's blew a 2-0 lead in the first round of the playoffs, losing three straight to the Red Sox.


"I had a great view" of the Boston team, Francona said last month. "They seemed to really care for each other on the field. They give you no let-up in the lineup."


The son of former major league outfielder Tito Francona, Francona was an outfielder and first baseman in the majors for 10 seasons with Montreal, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati, Cleveland and Milwaukee. He hit .274 with 16 homers in 708 games.


In the minors, Francona was Michael Jordan's manager at Double-A Birmingham.

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Old 04 Dec 2003, 12:03 AM   #2 (permalink)
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once the Schilling trade went down you knew he was going to be the next manager. I am not really surprised
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