The Pittsburgh Pirates yesterday fired Manager Chuck Tanner, who has been with the National League baseball club for nine years, as part of a shakeup that will put a local government-private partnership in control of the team.
And Bob Lillis, who guided the Houston Astros to a winning record in three full seasons as manager but never to the playoffs, was fired and offered a top-level job in the organization, General Manager Dick Wagner announced.
"We've decided that a change in field managers is in the best interests of the Pirates in 1986," said Dan Galbreath, who will step down as president when Mayor Richard Caliguiri solidifies the buyers' group he organized. The Galbreath family of Columbus, Ohio, last week agreed to sell the team for $22 million plus the assumption of about $7 million in player contract obligations.
Tanner said he plans to manage next year. "I'll be somewhere and it's going to be good," he said. "I want to win more world championships."
Tanner said he got the indication from the new owners, headed by Ryan Homes Chairman Malcolm Prine, that he was not wanted. "They didn't want me and I didn't want them. It was a mutual decision," he said.
In Houston, Wagner said he hoped Lillis would remain in the organization but felt that a change needed to be made because the Astros had not risen far above the .500 level under Lillis' direction.
Wagner said coaches Denis Menke, Les Moss and Matt Galante had agreed to 1986 contracts and coaches Cot Deal and Jerry Walker would be offered posts in the Astros' minor league organization.
Lillis, 55, took over the Astros in 1982, following the dismissal of former manager Bill Virdon and led the Astros to a 28-23 record. In his first full season as manager, the Astros finished third in the West Division and last season tied for second place.
The Detroit Tigers traded pitcher Juan Berenguer and two other players to the San Francisco Giants in a six-player deal.
In exchange for Berenguer, catcher Bob Melvin and a player to be named later, the Tigers obtained pitcher Dave LaPoint, catcher Matt Nokes and minor league pitcher Eric King, said Detroit General Manager Bill Lajoie.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, buoyed by strong pitching and playoff experience, have been chosen by Nevada sports books as the early favorite to win the National League playoffs and the World Series. Bookmakers are predicting the Dodgers will beat the Toronto Blue Jays in the World Series.
The sports book at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino posted early 8-to-5 odds for the Dodgers to win the World Series. The Cardinals were listed at 11 to 5, the Blue Jays 2 to 1 and the Kansas City Royals 7 to 2.
Baseball's 26 teams drew a record 46,838,819 for 1985, an increase of about 1.3 million over the 1983 record of 45,540,338 and more than 2 million ahead of last year's figure.