George Bamberger, saying "a manager has to suffer and I don't want to suffer," resigned last night in Los Angeles as manager of the New York Mets, the team with the worst record in baseball. He was replaced by coach Frank Howard.
The Mets announced the changes at at Dodger Stadium before their game against the Dodgers, then the team got Howard his first victory, 5-2.
The Mets got six-hit pitching from Ed Lynch over seven innings to break a four-game losing streak. Lynch (4-2) benefitted from a 10-hit offense and did not allow a runner as far as second base until the seventh. Doug Sisk pitched the final two innings to notch his fifth save.
The Mets lost a 14-inning game Thursday night to the Dodgers, their eighth defeat in nine games. That loss put them in last place in the National League East with a 16-30 record, 10 1/2 games out of first place.
"I feel fine physically," said Bamberger, 57, who has a history of heart problems. But he indicated he wanted to preserve his health and added:
"I always knew that when I felt it was too much of a strain I would go home and relax, go fishing."
General Manager Frank Cashen said Bamberger had told him two or three weeks ago that he was considering stepping down. He said that Bamberger called him Thursday from Los Angeles to give him the final decision.
"He said, 'Frank, I made up my mind, I've gotta get out,' " Cashen said.
Bamberger was named manager of the Mets in 1981 after recovering from a heart ailment that resulted in bypass surgery in the spring of 1980. He contemplated resigning during the season last year but decided to stick it out and the Mets finished last. The club has not had a winning record since 1976 and has finished last in four of the past six seasons.
Howard, a star with the old Washington Senators, managed the San Diego Padres in the 1981 season. The Padres were 23-33 in the first half of the year and finished last. They also finished last in the second half of the strike-abbreviated season with an 18-36 record.