The Florida Marlins were taken aback on June 19th when manger Edwin Rodriguez suddenly resigned from the club. But what’s old is new again as Jack McKeon was quickly named as the team’s interim manager. The 80-year-old McKeon led the franchise to the World Series title back in 2003 and was in charge of the squad between 2003 and 05. He said it’s great to be back at the helm again.
McKeon also becomes the Major League’s second oldest skipper ever. Connie Mack holds down the number one spot on that list as he was a spry 87 when he managed the Philadelphia Athletics back in 1950. Mack also owned the club at the time.
Actually, McKeon was no spring chicken when he took over the Marlins the first time around since he was already 72 when back in 2003 when he replaced the fired Jeff Torborg. Florida’s record was 16-22 when McKeon stepped in and the season resulted in a World Series championship.
By 2005 McKeon had enough of the manager’s role even though he was still successful and racked up 241 wins while in charge. He also had a winning record in each of his three seasons in charge. He switched jobs however and became a special advisor Jeffrey Loria, the team’s owner.
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McKeon said he didn’t have the heart to turn the club down when they turned to him for help after Rodriguez quit because they’ve been so loyal and good to him over the years. Things might be a little tougher this time around though as the Marlins had lost 10 in a row when Rodriguez packed it in. That streak was quickly extended to 11 games when the Marlins were beaten 2-1 by the Los Angeles Angels in McKeon’s first game back on June 20.
The wheels quickly fell off for Florida as they were 30-20 at the end of May and right behind the Philadelphia Phillies who lead the NL East. They went 2-20 after that and found themselves in the basement when Rodriguez resigned.
McKeon said the team has the talent to be doing a lot better than its record and believes they’ll still be able to play ball in October if they can turn things around quickly. He feels the players are pressing too much instead of having fun at the ball park and that has to change if they’re going to get back in the playoff race.
The Marlins are scheduled to move into a new stadium next season and it’s believed McKeon won’t be joining them as he only took the job on an interim basis. He definitely brings a winning touch to the club though. He led Florida to a record of 75-49 in 2003 which was good enough for a wild card playoff spot and they beat the mighty New York Yankees in the World Series.
McKeon was rewarded by being named the NL’s manager of the year. He also won the honor in 1999 when he was managing the Cincinnati Reds. He led Florida to 83-79 in each of the two following seasons and his record was 241-207 when he changed jobs in the organization. When taking over from Rodriguez on June 20, his career record stood at 1,011-940. He has also managed the Reds, Kansas City, San Diego, and Oakland in the past.
The new manager said he can’t perform miracles, but hopes that some of the magic from 2003 can return to Florida along with him.