Gene Mauch, "the little general" who managed the California Angels, Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos and Minnesota Twins to 1,901 wins, died yesterday. He was 79.
Mauch died at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., the Los Angeles Angels said, after a long battle with cancer. He had lived in the desert resort area since retiring.
A big league skipper for 26 years, Mauch was named National League manager of the year three times. He ranks sixth in baseball history with 3,938 games managed, and is 11th on the career victories list.
But Mauch was perhaps most famous for his teams' legendary collapses. He led the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964 when they collapsed down the stretch and were edged out by the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL pennant.
The Phillies were 61/2 ahead with 12 games to play before losing 10 in a row -- and the pennant. St. Louis won it instead.
He was manager of the Angels in 1986 when they were within one out of advancing to the World Series before blowing a three-run lead to Boston in Game 5 of the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox won that game, and two more, to win the series.
He also managed the 1982 Angels, who won the first two games in the best-of-five ALCS against Milwaukee before losing the final three. "I don't think history will be as fair to him as it should be," said Tim Mead, the Angels' vice president of communications.
Mauch also was the manager for the first seven years for the Expos organization.
Mauch was considered a master strategist with a deep understanding of the rules; he was constantly trying to find new ways to gain an advantage.
"He knew the game, he was half a step ahead of everyone else during a game," Hall of Famer Rod Carew said. "He was always prepared."
* MORE OF THE SAME: Colorado RHPs Sun Woo Kim and Byung Hyun Kim helped make a unique doubleheader a successful one for the Colorado Rockies.
Each pitcher started one game in the doubleheader; Byung Hyun Kim won for the first time in seven starts in the second game.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Sun Woo Kim and Byung Hyun Kim became the first players with the same last name to start each end of a doubleheader since brothers Gaylord and Jim Perry did it for Cleveland on June 22, 1974, at Boston.
"Everybody thought it was a stab at something unique," Colorado Manager Clint Hurdle said. "Sunny showed us a little something today, and in a game we needed some length, BK gave it to us."
* YANKEES' PITCHING WOES: The Yankees sent ailing RHP Carl Pavano and LHP Randy Johnson for tests before determining the next step in trying to patch up their depleted rotation.
Pavano was scheduled for two days of tests with James Andrews in Birmingham. Johnson's next start is in doubt because of back pain, though Manager Joe Torre said Johnson was feeling better.
-- From News Services