Charlie Manuel was hired as manager of the Cleveland Indians yesterday after working as their hitting instructor the past six years, and Atlanta Braves hitting coach Don Baylor was hired as manager of the Chicago Cubs.
Manuel, who has never managed in the major leagues, replaces Mike Hargrove, who was fired after the Indians blew a 2-0 lead in the first round of the American League playoffs against the Boston Red Sox.
"The only way we're going to get national recognition, I know, is to win a World Series," Manuel said at a news conference as he was introduced as the Indians' 37th manager. "Believe me, I'm starting to work for October. I want it to go down to the end of October."
Manuel is popular with Indians' players and that clearly helped him get the job. It didn't hurt that the Indians scored more runs this season than any other team in the last half century.
When Hargrove was fired, General Manager John Hart talked about the need for a "new voice and new energy" in the clubhouse to get the Indians their first World Series title since 1948.
Before joining the Indians' staff in 1993, Manuel managed the club's Class AAA affiliates in Colorado Springs and Charlotte. In 1992, he led Colorado to the Pacific Coast League title and was honored as the league's manager of the year.
In Chicago, Baylor was hired to try to revive an injury-plagued team that went from the playoffs to last place this season. "This franchise speaks for itself," Baylor said yesterday during a news conference. "It's going to be a challenge. There are Cubs fans all over the world. . . . I want to be a part of that."
Baylor said as Cubs manager he will stress pitching, defense and positive thoughts, beginning in spring training.
Baylor replaces Jim Riggleman, who was fired last month, and becomes the Cubs' 46th manager. He is the first black manager in the team's 123-year history. Baylor, who was hitting coach of the Atlanta Braves last season after spending six years managing the Colorado Rockies, also had been sought by the Anaheim Angels and Milwaukee Brewers.
Baylor preferred to stay in the National League, where he managed the Rockies to the playoffs in 1995. Baylor, however, played his entire 19-year major league career in the AL. He spent six years with the Angels, winning the AL MVP award in 1979.