Sunday, October 02, 2005

October 2nd, 2000

Jack McKeon Fired

I have done, in the past, something about the wisdom of having hired "Trader" Jack McKeon. Seeing as how McKeon appears a sure thing to be fired in this off-season, it seems worthy of observing what happened to the last team that canned McKeon. Jack took over the Cincinnati Reds in the midst of the 1997 season, taking over for Ray Knight. Manning the helm of a team that had posted a .434 winning percentage under Knight in the season's first ninety-nine games, McKeon took over and led them to a .524 record over the last sixty-three.

The next season McKeon was unable to maintain his success as the team dropped down to 77-85, but in 1999, boosted by the acquisition of Greg Vaughn McKeon managed the team to a 96-67 record. The especially mathematical among you might have noticed that adds up to 163 games. No typo, the reason is that the Mets and Reds finished with identical 96-66 records and required a one-game playoff for the Wild Card. Despite being played at
Cincinnati's Cinergy Field, Al Leiter shut out the Reds and they fell one game short of the playoffs.

Vaughn left for the Devil Rays after the '99 season but boosted by the addition of Ken Griffey, Jr. the Reds won eighty-five games and finished second in their division for their second straight season. Despite this, the Reds fired McKeon, replaced him with Bob Boone.

Since then, the Reds have never won more than seventy-eight games, and have gone through four managers: Boone, Ray Knight (again), Dave Miley and current skipper Jerry Narron. In that time, McKeon has let the Marlins to a World Series and three straight seasons of .500 or better. This is not so say the Marlins are making the wrong choice in firing McKeon--he seems to have lost the clubhouse--but the Marlins should do all they can to make sure they don't go down the same path as the last time to rid themselves of Trader Jack.

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