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Boles talks about Fredi


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Herald

MARLINS

Former Marlins manager John Boles saw Fredi Gonzalez's potential years agoFormer Marlins manager John Boles discovered Fredi Gonzalez managing a co-op team in 1991 and saw his managerial potential.

BY CLARK SPENCER

cspencer@MiamiHerald.com

It was 1991 when John Boles first stumbled upon Fredi Gonzalez, the Marlins' new manager. Gonzalez was the 27-year-old manager for the Miami Miracle, a member of the Single A Florida State League but one not affiliated with a major-league club.

 

''Nothing is harder than managing a co-op team,'' Boles said. ``You've got guys from a bunch of organizations, or guys who are released, or guys who are bitter about something. They all have their own sob stories to tell. Managing a co-op team is like being a substitute teacher in the summer. It's a tough, tough business.''

 

But Boles was struck with Gonzalez and the Miracle. The team didn't act like a rag-tag collection of ballplayers. The players listened to their manager. They followed instructions. They played with discipline.

 

'I thought, `Oh man, this guy [Gonzalez] is going to be good,' '' Boles said.

 

One year later, Gonzalez became the first uniformed member of the Florida Marlins -- baseball's newest franchise -- to be hired. And it was Boles who hired him, putting Gonzalez in charge of the Erie (Pa.) Sailors, which played the first game in the history of the organization in 1992.

 

''He's going home, it's a great story,'' said Boles, who now holds the title of special assistant to the general manager of the Seattle Mariners. ``It doesn't surprise me at all. He's paid his dues.''

 

Gonzalez was hired Tuesday to replace fired manager Joe Girardi.

 

Boles rose to become manager of the Marlins, first in 1996 when he replaced Rene Lachemann and again from 1999 to 2001. Gonzalez, after spending seven seasons managing in the Marlins' minor-league system, served as Boles' third base coach.

 

PERFECTIONIST

 

Boles said Gonzalez was always concerned when he made a mistake, such as getting a runner thrown out at the plate or holding one that would have scored easily.

 

'He would come back to the dugout and say, `I saw you looking at me,' '' Boles recalled. 'I said, `Fredi, I wasn't looking at you. It's not your fault.' And he'd say, 'If I ever become a manager, you're going to be my third base coach, and I'm going to look at you the way you look at me.' I told him: 'No. 1, you are going to become a big-league manager and, No. 2, I'm never going to be your third base coach.' ''

 

Boles said he believes Gonzalez developed into one of the top two or three third base coaches in the majors while with the Atlanta Braves. But he said it's time for Gonzalez to take the next step by becoming a manager, and one just as successful as the one who earned manager of the year awards in the minors.

 

And to think Gonzalez is beginning that stage of his career with the Marlins, the first major-league organization to give him a job.

 

''Fredi was the first guy out of the box,'' Boles said. ``He's ready, there's no question about that.''

 

THIS AND THAT

 

Gonzalez said he would consider Cookie Rojas, a Spanish-language broadcaster for the Marlins, to be on his coaching staff. Rojas said he had not been contacted about a coaching position, but would consider one. . . . The Marlins would like to bring back pitching coach Rick Kranitz. But if Girardi gets a new managing job with another club, there's a chance Kranitz could join him. Girardi, who is a candidate for the Chicago Cubs' vacancy, could also be considered for openings on the Washington Nationals and Texas Rangers. If Kranitz joins him in any of those places, the Marlins could look to bring back Mark Wiley, who served as the team's pitching coach in 2005 under manager Jack McKeon. . . . General manager Admin Beinfest said an MRI on pitcher Dontrelle Willis' injured left triceps did not reveal any structural damage. Willis left Sunday's start in the second inning because of the injury.

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Gonzalez said he would consider Cookie Rojas, a Spanish-language broadcaster for the Marlins, to be on his coaching staff. Rojas said he had not been contacted about a coaching position, but would consider one. . . . The Marlins would like to bring back pitching coach Rick Kranitz. But if Girardi gets a new managing job with another club, there's a chance Kranitz could join him.

 

I remember a couple of years ago Cookie was a candidate but he wasn't interested because he said the Marlins didn't pay enough. I read somewhere that our coaches are the lowest paid in MLB so unless something changes I doubt Cookie wil be coaching for the Marlins.

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