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1988 Cleveland Indians: Cradle of managers?

By May 5, 2013

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The NFL has what it dubs coaching trees, meaning coaches who learned under other coaches then became successful themselves. Paul Brown, Bill Parcells and Bill Walsh are among the most notable. Translating that to baseball in recent years, Tony La Russa, Joe Torre and Bobby Cox are among those whose disciples have gone on to big things.

But perhaps we're overlooking somebody. Scott Miller of CBS Sports.com presented the Doc Edwards tree, which sprouted on a very forgettable team: the 1988 Cleveland Indians, who went 78-84 and finished in sixth place in the American League East.

Five from that team, managed by Edwards, are big-league managers today, representing 17 percent of the big-league manager talent pool. Two of them have won World Series and one other won back-to-back pennants. They are:

  • Charlie Manuel, hitting coach, now manager of Philadelphia Phillies
  • Bud Black, pitcher (2-3, 5.03 ERA in 16 games), now manager of San Diego Padres
  • John Farrell, pitcher (14-10, 4.24 ERA in 31 games), now manager of the Boston Red Sox
  • Terry Francona, designated hitter (.311, 1 HR, 12 RBI in 62 games), now manager of the Indians
  • Ron Washington, shortstop (.256, 2 HR, 21 RBI), now manager of the Texas Rangers

"If you'd have told me that a bunch of managers would have come from that team, all of us would have told you you're crazy," Francona told Miller. "... We were on a bad team, and we were all just trying to hang on. Me, Blackie and John Farrell used to hang out a lot and talk baseball. I just think it's a coincidence. It just happened."

Also, three other players from that team are big-league coaches: Brook Jacoby (hitting coach, Reds), Jay Bell (hitting coach, Pirates) and Dave Clark (first base coach, Astros).

And where is Edwards today? He's managing an Independent League team in San Angelo, Texas, at age 76.

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