John McNamara (baseball)


John McNamara (baseball)

John Francis McNamara (born June 4, 1932 in Sacramento, California) is a former manager and coach in Major League Baseball. He managed six major league teams, directing the 1986 Boston Red Sox to the American League pennant, only to experience an excruciating defeat in that season's World Series at the hands of the New York Mets.

Playing, coaching and managing career

McNamara attended Christian Brothers High School and Sacramento City College, where he led the team to the 1951 California state championship (and later was inducted to the SCC Athletic Hall of Fame). A righthanded batter and thrower, he was a peripatetic minor league catcher during his playing career, originally signing with the St. Louis Cardinals organization. He began his managing career with the unaffiliated Lewiston Broncos of the Northwest League in 1959, and when the club became an affiliate of the Kansas City Athletics, McNamara joined the A's system. He won Southern League pennants in 1966 and 1967 and groomed many future members of the Oakland dynasty during his tenure at the Class AA level.

McNamara managed the Oakland Athletics (1969-70), San Diego Padres (1974 through the midseason of 1977), Cincinnati Reds (1979 through the midseason of 1982), California Angels (1983-84 and part of 1996), Red Sox (1985 through the midseason of 1988), and Cleveland Indians (1990 through the midseason of 1991).

Over all or parts of 19 seasons, he had a managing record of 1,167 — 1,242 (.484). His 1979 Cincinnati team, defeated by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the NLCS, was his only other postseason entry. Although McNamara's 1981 Reds compiled the best overall record in the National League West Division, the split-season format adopted for that season because of the 1981 baseball strike denied Cincinnati a place in the playoffs because the Reds finished second in each half-season.

McNamara served as a major league coach for Oakland (1968-69), the San Francisco Giants (1971-73), and the Angels (1978). He also has worked as a catching instructor with the Angels.

1986 World Series

McNamara's managerial tactics during the 1986 World Series (especially in the last two games) received much criticism and scrutiny. In the pivotal sixth game, McNamara removed Red Sox ace Roger Clemens in the eighth inning despite the fact that Clemens was still pitching well. Both parties have different stories regarding Clemens's departure. According to Clemens, he did not want to leave the game, but McNamara insisted that Clemens asked to be taken out because he had a blister on his pitching hand. McNamara was also criticized for pinch-hitting Clemens with rookie Mike Greenwell, who struck out on three pitches, when veteran slugger Don Baylor was also available. McNamara's move was further questioned in light of the relatively poor performances of closer Calvin Schiraldi and longtime reliever Bob Stanley.

Yet, perhaps the decision that McNamara will be most remembered for is his leaving first baseman Bill Buckner in the game in the 10th inning rather than removing him for a defensive substitute. McNamara was ridiculed for years afterward for leaving Buckner on the field instead of replacing him with Dave Stapleton, who had previously been used to replace Buckner in late innings for defensive purposes. With Game 7 delayed a day due to rain in New York, McNamara bumped originally-scheduled starting pitcher Oil Can Boyd in favor of Bruce Hurst. Hurst was asked to pitch on three days' rest and, despite pitching well for five innings, he visibly tired in the sixth, allowing the Mets to score three runs to tie the game. McNamara once again sent Calvin Schiraldi to relieve Hurst, despite Schiraldi's poor performance in Game 6, and despite the fact that Boyd was well-rested and ready to pitch. Schiraldi gave up a tie-breaking home run to Ray Knight, the first batter he faced, and ended up surrendering three runs while recording only a single out. The Red Sox would lose the game (8-5) and the series (4-3).

External links

* [http://www.baseball-reference.com/managers/mcnamjo99.shtml Baseball-Reference.com] - career managerial record
* [http://www.votemcnamara.com Website for Maj. Mike McNamara, son of John McNamara]


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