Indians Wedge 34-Year-Old Into Managerial Opening, None Injured
When I heard the Indians had tabbed Eric Wedge to manage next season, my first reaction was, "Oh good. A backup catcher turned manager, there aren't many of those in the majors." Some may remember Wedge collecting 5 home runs and slugging .500 in a backup role to 2002 Royals manager Tony Pena on the 1992 Red Sox. No news as yet as to when John Marzano, the other 1992 Red Sox catcher, plans to manage a major-league team. We'll keep you posted.
That would have been the end of, as they say, that until I heard that Wedge was only 34, and I thought the move a bit more interesting. Prior to the signing the youngest manager was former backup catcher (surprise!) Lloyd McClendon of Pittsburgh, 43. It made me wonder have often a terciagenarian (?) was hired to manage a major-league club. I looked it up, and it was far more than I expected. The last was Terry Francona who allegedly managed the Phils in 1997 at the age of 38. The last 34-year-old to manage in the majors was Frank Quilici of the Twins who in 1972-73 managed Minnesota to a 122-124 record at the ripe old age of 33-34.
The youngest recorded manager of all time, was Hall-of-Famer Monte Ward who guided the Providence Grays to an 18-13 record in 1880 at the age of 20. By 30, he had organized the players into their own league to compete with the majors. Ward would also lose the presidency of the National League by one vote due to this action. He also owned the Braves for a short time and worked with the 1914-15 Federal League that competed with the majors. Oh, and he was a lawyer with a thriving practice. Kinda makes you feel like a slacker, huh?