KANSAS CITY, MO., SEPT. 15 -- Manager Hal McRae was fired by the Kansas City Royals today despite guiding the Royals on a 14-game winning streak that put them back in playoff contention before the players went on strike.

"I think Hal has done everything possible with the club he had," Royals General Manager Herk Robinson said. "He's done a good job. But as we move forward we feel we can find a manager who can better lead us into the next several years with the younger players."

Robinson said some embarrassing incidents involving McRae, including one last year when a sportswriter was inadvertently cut on the cheek, had nothing to do with his decision.

Taking over from the fired John Wathan in May 1991 with no previous experience, McRae was 286-277.

"I want to thank Herk and the late Mr. {Royals owner Ewing} Kauffman for giving me the opportunity to manage," McRae, 49, said from his home in Bradenton, Fla. "I'm a better person because I've managed. I believe I improved as a manager."

Coaches Lee May, Bruce Kison, Steve Boros, Glenn Ezell and Jamie Quirk also were released, although Kison and Quirk are expected to stay.

Robinson said he didn't have any specific candidate in mind to replace McRae. George Brett, the team vice president, said he wouldn't be interested.

Brett, who played with McRae for most of his 20-year Royals career, said the situation was "very awkward."

"To be in the decision-making process that determines his future is very difficult when you admire someone as much as I admire him," Brett said. "But it was discussed at great length this summer, and decided that when the season was over we were going to go with this move. It's not something that happened overnight."

"I think it's something he sort of expected," said Brian McRae, the Royals' center fielder and the manager's son.

The 14-game winning streak, second-longest in team history, left the team four games behind the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central when the strike stopped play.