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Jack McKeon

For other people named John McKeon, see John McKeon (disambiguation).
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Jack McKeon
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McKeon (left) shaking hands with President George W. Bush (right) on January 24, 2004
Manager
Born: (1930-11-23) November 23, 1930 (age 85)
South Amboy, New Jersey
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
1973 for the Kansas City Royals
Last MLB appearance
2011 for the Florida Marlins
Career statistics
Games 1,972
Win–loss record 1,051–990
Winning % .515
Teams
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Career highlights and awards

John Aloysius McKeon (/məˈkən/; born November 23, 1930),[1][2] nicknamed "Trader Jack", is an American former Major League Baseball manager[3] and front-office executive. In 2003, he won a World Series as manager of the Florida Marlins. When he took over as manager of the Marlins on June 20, 2011, at age 80, he became the second oldest manager in big league history, behind only Connie Mack.

McKeon previously managed the Kansas City Royals from 1973 to 1975, the Oakland Athletics for parts of both 1977 and 1978, the San Diego Padres from 1988 to 1990, and the Cincinnati Reds from 1997 to 2000. From July 7, 1980, through September 22, 1990, he served as the general manager of the Padres, putting together the team which won the 1984 National League pennant, the first in San Diego history.

Career

Minor league player and manager

McKeon was born in South Amboy, New Jersey. As a player, he was a Script error: No such module "convert"., Script error: No such module "convert". catcher who threw and batted right-handed. McKeon played baseball for the College of the Holy Cross, then spent his entire early uniformed career (1949–64) in the minor leagues. He became a playing manager in 1955 and worked in the farm system of the original Washington Senators franchise, and its successor, the Minnesota Twins, handling Triple-A assignments for the Vancouver Mounties (1962), Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers (1963), and Atlanta Crackers (part of 1964). He then scouted for the Twins before joining the Royals in 1968, one year before their Major League debut, as skipper of their Class A High Point-Thomasville farm team.[4] He led their Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Royals of the American Association, from 1969 through 1972, and won two league championships.

Manager of Royals and Athletics

McKeon, then 42, was promoted to manager of the Kansas City Royals for

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, succeeding Bob Lemon. The 1972 Royals had gone a disappointing 76–78 during the strike-shortened season, and were moving into brand-new Royals Stadium in 1973. Paced by the slugging of first baseman John Mayberry, an All-Star performance from centerfielder Amos Otis and the 20-win season of left-hander Paul Splittorff, McKeon's 1973 club won 88 of 162 games (the high-water mark for the five-year-old franchise), six games behind eventual world champion Oakland in the American League West and the third-best mark in the entire American League. The 1973 Royals also saw the late-season debut of rookie George Brett, the eventual Hall of Famer. But the
  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year Royals could not sustain the momentum. They dropped below .500 (77–85) and finished next-to-last in their division. The following year, the
  3. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year Royals improved to 50–46 by July 23, but it was not enough to save McKeon's job. He was replaced by Whitey Herzog, then a coach for the California Angels, and Herzog would lead Kansas City to three successive AL West titles (1976–78), and, in the 1980s, become one of McKeon's trading partners when he and McKeon were general managers in the National League.

McKeon spent 1976 back in the minor leagues as skipper of the Richmond Braves of the International League. He then was named manager of the

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year Oakland Athletics during a time when team owner Charlie Finley was trading away veteran talent in anticipation of free agency. Nevertheless, McKeon had led the stripped-down A's to a respectable 26–27 mark by June 8, only six games out of first place in the AL West, when Finley shocked baseball by replacing him with Bobby Winkles.[5] McKeon remained in the Oakland organization as an assistant to Finley, while the A's struggled under Winkles for the rest of 1977 at 37–71. In
  2. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year, however, history repeated itself. The undermanned A's roared off to a 19–5 start and were still in first place at 24–15 on May 21 when Winkles resigned because of Finley's micromanaging.[6] McKeon returned to the dugout and finished the season, with Oakland winning only 45 of 123 games and falling into sixth place in the seven-team division. McKeon then departed the Oakland organization, managing the Denver Bears, Triple-A affiliate of the Montreal Expos, in 1979.

General manager of Padres

He began the

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year80 offseason as top assistant to Bob Fontaine, the general manager of the San Diego Padres. In July of 1980, owner Ray Kroc and club president Ballard F. Smith fired Fontaine and replaced him with McKeon, a first-time general manager at the age of 49. During his first off-season, he set about rebuilding the Padres through a flurry of trades—earning his "Trader Jack" nickname. He told the New York Times in 1988: "Why do I trade? I'm aggressive. I'm confident. I'm a gambler. I'm willing to make a trade and not be afraid I'll get nailed."[7] He began by acquiring young catcher Terry Kennedy from Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals in an eleven-player deal. Over the next four off seasons, he would also trade for Dave Dravecky, Garry Templeton and Carmelo Martínez, draft young stars Tony Gwynn and Kevin McReynolds, and sign free agents Steve Garvey and Graig Nettles, the core of San Diego
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McKeon stayed in the front office through the terms of four different managers. When the fourth skipper, Larry Bowa, started

  1. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year at 16–30, McKeon took over the managerial reins himself on May 28. He led them to a 67–48 mark for the rest of 1988, and an 89–73 record in
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  3. REDIRECT Template:Baseball year team stalled at 37–43 at the All-Star break, McKeon turned the team over to coach Greg Riddoch. Slightly more than two months later, he was ousted from the general manager's job when the Padres' new owner, Tom Werner, hired Joe McIlvaine away from the New York Mets as the team's new GM.

Two-time NL Manager of the Year

McKeon was named National League Manager of the Year in 1999 and 2003. The latter award was a result of leading the Marlins, who had a record below .500 when he took the job as their manager during the season, to a World Series victory. With that victory, he became, at 72, the oldest manager to win the World Series, winning against the New York Yankees, against whom he wanted to play his first World Series, having lived in South Amboy, New Jersey and attending Yankee games while a child.[1]

On October 2, 2005, just after the Marlins won the last game of the 2005 season, McKeon announced that he would not be returning the following season. McKeon led the Marlins to three of the six winning seasons in franchise history, but there was a consensus within the organization that a managerial change was in order.

On June 20, 2011, after manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned, the Florida Marlins held a press conference to announce that McKeon had been named interim manager. "I don't need this job but I love it," McKeon said, in taking over a team that had lost 10 straight and 18 of its last 19. He retired after the conclusion of the 2011 season.[8]

Personal life

McKeon currently lives in Elon, North Carolina. Prior to his latest managerial stint, he was serving as a special assistant to Florida Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria.[9]

McKeon is a devout Catholic and attends daily Mass, even doing so while his team was traveling during his managerial career.[10] He attributes much of his success, especially the Marlins' win in the 2003 National League Championship Series, to the intercession of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.[10][11]

McKeon is the author of two books, Jack of All Trades and I'm Just Getting Started.

On May 5, 2012, McKeon was inducted into the Fulton County Baseball & Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements with the Gloversville-Johnstown Glovers, in which he played for in 1950 and 1951 in Gloversville, New York.[12]

McKeon's Grandson, Kellan, is a two-time state champion wrestler for Chapel Hill High School and was the captain of the wrestling team at Duke University.

On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, McKeon was inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former Royals slugger Mike Sweeney, broadcaster Dave O'Brien, NY Mets p.r. executive Shannon Forde, and Bill Murray, the comedic actor and owner of several minor league baseball teams.

Major League managerial records

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
KC 1973 88 74 .543 2nd in AL West
KC 1974 77 85 .475 5th in AL West
KC 1975 50 46 .521 2nd in AL West (Fired)
OAK 1977 26 27 .491 7th in AL West
OAK 1978 45 78 .366 6th in AL West (Fired)
SD 1988 67 48 .583 3rd in NL West
SD 1989 89 73 .549 2nd in NL West
SD 1990 37 43 .463 5th in NL West (Fired)
CIN 1997 33 30 .524 3rd in NL Central
CIN 1998 77 85 .475 4th in NL Central
CIN 1999 96 67 .589 2nd in NL Central
CIN 2000 85 77 .525 2nd in NL Central (Fired)
FLA 2003 75 49 .605 2nd in NL East 11 6 .647 Won World Series
FLA 2004 83 79 .512 3rd in NL East
FLA 2005 83 79 .512 3rd in NL East (Retired)
FLA 2011 40 50 .444 5th in NL East (Retired)
Total 1051 990 .515

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 Bodley, Hal (October 27, 2003). "Reality of title beats McKeon's wildest dreams". USA Today. p. 4C. McKeon grew up in Perth Amboy, N.J. As a youngster he made repeated trips to Yankee Stadium. 'I wanted to have my first World Series in Yankee Stadium,' he said. 'Win or lose, I wanted to play it in Yankee Stadium. What finer presence could I have than getting the opportunity to manage my first World Series team in Yankee Stadium.' 
  2. Reusse, Patrick (October 18, 2003). "McKeon, young Marlins work magic". Minneapolis Star Tribune. Tom Kelly and Jack McKeon share the hometown of South Amboy, N.J. 
  3. "Jack McKeon". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-05-10. 
  4. "1964 Atlanta Crackers Statistics - Minor Leagues". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  5. "Winkles takes over as Oakland skipper; McKeon gets axe". The Gadsden Times. June 11, 1977. Retrieved 2015-05-31.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  6. Schoenfield, David (May 6, 2014). "The strange sage of the 1978 Oakland A's". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-05-31. 
  7. Durso, Joseph (Dec. 7, 1988). "BASEBALL'S LEADING MATCHMAKER: For Jack KcKeon, Engineering Trades is Hardly a Big Deal". The New York Times. Retrieved 2015-05-31.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. Nicholson, Ben (2011-09-26). "Jack McKeon To Retire : MLB Rumors". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  9. "The Real McCoy". www.daytondailynews.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  10. 10.0 10.1 "A Career Sustained by Unwavering Faith". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-10-13.  (login required)
  11. Beattie, Trent (2012-10-02). "Oldest Manager to Win World Series Still Enjoys Kid's Game | Daily News". NCRegister.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 
  12. "Fulton County Baseball and Sports Hall of Fame". Emerydesigns.net. 1930-11-23. Retrieved 2012-10-13. 

External links

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