Wednesday, May 11, 2005
May 11th, 2003
Jeff Torberg Fired by Marlins
I once said in this space that changing a manager "less than thirty (at least) games into the season is a purely aesthetic exercise." I do believe that, but I would concede that once in a great, great while the change can make a big difference. When the Marlins fired Jeff Torberg, they were 16-22 (that's thirty-eight total games), on pace for a sixty-eight win season. The Marlins replaced Torberg with Jack McKeon and the team responded, finishing the season at a blistering 74-49 pace, good for a .602 winning percentage, or ninety-seven wins across a full season. They also, as you probably know, went on to win the World Series.
The difference obviously was not all replacing Torberg with McKeon, Dontrelle Willis made his first start on May 9th, and Josh Beckett was a world-beater in the playoffs, but the influence McKeon had shouldn't be overlooked. Happily, it wasn't as he was voted Manager of the Year in 2003, the second time he had won the award.
So I suppose I should modify my comment, in nearly every case changing a manager less than thirty (at least) games into a season is a purely aesthetic exercise, but in those cases when you make the change at the right time and bring in the right man, it can be great for a club.