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NL to Manage Half-Baked All-Star
2002-11-13 21:55
by Mike Carminati

NL to Manage Half-Baked All-Star Game in 2003?

My esteemed friend Mike queries, "So who manages the NL All-Star team next year? I'm assuming it's the manager of the pennant-winning club, even if Dusty signs with Chicago, right?"

Good question. Well, the only precedent that I am aware of is Dick Williams. Williams managed the A's to two world championships in 1972 and '73, but resigned after the 1973 World Series. In game 2 of the Series leading 10-7 in the 12th, A's second baseman Mike Andrews made two errors following the last hit in Willie Mays' career to allow the Mets to even the series. Owner and well known ass Charlie O. Finley placed Andrews on the "disabled list" citing a sore shoulder, effectively deactivating him, after the game without consulting Williams. The incident drew a good deal of scorn from players, fans, and commissioner Bowie Kuhn, who ordered Andrews' reinstatement. Williams then privately informed his players prior to game 3 that he was retiring after the season. The A's won in seven games, and Williams stepped down. Incensed, Finley refused to release Williams from the last two years of his contract unless he got compensation from the team that signed him. The Yankees attempted to sign Williams, but Joe Cronin, the AL president, nixed the deal. Williams took over the Angels on June 30 from Bobby Winkles (after Whitey Herzog served as interim manger for four days) apparently without any compensation to the A's.

The All-Star game rolled around, and Williams was entitled to manage even though he no longer managed the AL champs. Cronin assigned Earl Weaver to the task, but he demured in favor of Williams. Williams did indeed manage the AL squad at the game, apparently in an Angels' uniform. So Mike Scioscia will not be the first Angel to manage an All-Star team, and Baker will manage the NL next year ostensibly as a Cub.

My one question is what would have happened if Baker had signed with the Mariners as many people theorized? Would the NL allow him to manage their team as an AL rep? Would it be a conflict of interest to manage against his players? These questions may seem a little silly now given that the game is largely viewed as an exhibition. Back in 1974, it was anything but: It was a knock-down, drag-out affair. The AL president at the time, fearing a continuation of the AL's losing streak (they had lost 10 out of the previous 11), ordered Williams to use his best players throughout the game. Nine of the 29 players on the AL squad did not participate in the game, but the AL lost anyway 7-2 and would not win again until 1983. However, this demonstrates how imprtant the game was to each league back then.

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