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Manuel, Hargrove Just Fired


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Monday, September 29, 2003



Associated Press

CHICAGO -- Jerry Manuel was fired Monday as manager of the Chicago White Sox.


Manuel was a casualty of unmet expectations after the team missed the playoffs for a third straight year. The talent-laden White Sox led the AL Central by two games on Sept. 9, but slumped and finished four games back.


Manuel was 500-471 in six seasons, the fourth-most wins for a White Sox manager. Chicago was .500 or better in each of the last four seasons, and finished below second place only once under Manuel, in 2001.


The White Sox won the AL Central in 2000, earning Manuel the AL Manager of the Year award. But Chicago was swept by Seattle in the playoffs and hasn't been back to the postseason since.


"I understand the industry. I understand the business," Manuel said after Chicago's home finale Wednesday. "I'm not in this thing blindfolded."


Manuel had one season left on the four-year extension he signed in 2001.


The White Sox were considered heavy favorites to win the AL Central this year after adding Bartolo Colon and Billy Koch in the offseason. They had a formidable pitching staff, and the most high-powered offense in the division with Frank Thomas, Magglio Ordonez, Carlos Lee and Paul Konerko



Monday, September 29, 2003



Associated Press

BALTIMORE -- Mike Hargrove was fired Monday as manager of the Baltimore Orioles, one day after the team finished its fourth consecutive losing season under his direction and sixth straight overall.


Hargrove told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that he met Monday with team officials and was told of his dismissal.


"They said they weren't going to offer me another contract," Hargrove said. "I guess they wanted a different personality."


Hargrove, 53, went 275-372 with the Orioles, including 71-91 this year. His departure did not come as a complete surprise, given that his contract ran through this season and the team never talked about an extension.


Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan, the vice presidents who oversee the team's baseball operations, are expected to quickly start the search for a new manager.


"On behalf of the Orioles organization, we want to thank Mike for his contributions to the ballclub and for the professional manner in which he handled the team," Beattie said in a statement.


Before learning his fate, Hargrove wondered aloud if the duo would find someone with better credentials.


"I understand if they want to bring their own people in," Hargrove said. "And if they want to go in another direction, I understand that. But I'm not sure they can bring anyone in that can do a better job than what we do, or do a better job than we did this year."


The Orioles were 57-59 on Aug. 10, but faded after Sidney Ponson was traded and the injuries began to mount. Opening day starters David Segui, Marty Cordova, B.J. Surhoff and Jerry Hairston all played in fewer than 100 games, as did Melvin Mora, Baltimore's lone representative in the All-Star game.


It all added up to a sixth straight fourth-place finish in the AL East.


Before being hired by Baltimore in November 1999, Hargrove won five division titles with the Cleveland Indians and twice took the long-suffering franchise to the World Series.


He was signed by the Orioles to guide an aging team with designs of making a run at the playoffs. But by July 2000, the team was deemed too old, and management embarked on a youth movement that remains an ongoing project.


Despite the losing, several players under 30 had good years, such as Jay Gibbons, Admin Bigbie and Luis Matos, and the team has stockpiled pitching at the minor league level.


Hargrove's managerial record stands at 996-963. It appears much of his staff will remain with the team.


"We will recommend to the person selected as manager that all of the members of the current coaching staff return, subject to input from the person selected as manager," Beattie said.

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