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Terry Francona

Terry Francona

Keith Allison, Wikipedia

Terry Francona, 29 June 2009

Position(s):
1B, LF, OF, RF, CF, 3B, DH, P
Nicknames:
Tito
Born:
April 22, 1959
Bats:
Left
Throws:
Left
Height:
6' 1"
Weight:
190 lbs
Major League Debut:
8-19-1981 with MON

'''Terry Jon Francona''' (born April 22, 1959 in Aberdeen, South Dakota), nicknamed "'''Tito'''," won the College Golden Spikes Award, but is best known as the manage of the Boston Red Sox when they finially broke a 86 year World Series drought in 2004.

As a player

Youth

Francona grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and got his start in baseball at New Brighton, Pennsylvania High School, where he excelled under the coaching of Greg "Faz" Fazio. His father is Tito Francona, who played in the majors from 1956 to 1970.

Early career

Terry was the winner of the 1980 Golden Spikes Award. Francona was drafted out of the University of Arizona in the first round of the 1980 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos, using the 22nd overall selection. That season, his Arizona Wildcats baseball team won the 1980 College World Series and Francona was named the tournament's College World Series Most Outstanding Player.The left-hander wasted no time rising through the minor leagues, first appearing in a Montreal uniform August 19, 1981, a week after the end of that summer's 1981 player strike. He appeared mainly as an outfielder that first year, and he went 4-for-12 in the National League Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, an extra playoff round utilized that year because the season was conducted in two halves as the result of the strike. The Expos won that series, three games to two.

First base

As the seasons went on, Francona shifted to first base, where he ultimately played one hundred games more than he had in the outfield. He also developed a reputation as a contact hitter, with very few home runs, walks, or strikeouts.

Journeyman years

The Expos released Francona after the 1985 season, during which his batting average had slipped to .267 after posting a .346 average in limited action in 1984. He went on to sign one-year contracts with the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, and Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers re-signed Francona for 1990, but he only played in three games for the Brewers that year, the last on April 19. In ten seasons and 708 games, he posted a .274 career average, with 16 homers and 143 RBI. He also made an appearance as a pitcher with Milwaukee on May 15, 1989, throwing 12 pitches and striking out one batter (Stan Javier) on three pitches.

As a coach and manager

Minor League coaching career

Francona then entered coaching, spending several years in the Chicago White Sox organization. In 1991, he managed the rookie league Sarasota White Sox of the Gulf Coast League. In 1992, he ran the South Bend White Sox of the mid-level Class A Midwest League. As manager of the AA franchise Birmingham Barons from 1993–1995, he posted a 223-203 record and won two distinctions: Southern League Manager of the Year in 1993, Baseball America's Minor League Manager of the Year in 1993, and top managerial candidate by Baseball America in 1994, the same year Michael Jordan played for Birmingham. Birmingham won the Southern League championship in 1993.

He managed in the Dominincan Winter League with Las Aguilas Cibaenas and he also won the championship and the Serie del Caribe en 1994-95. That team included Miguel Tejada, Manny Ramirez, Tony Batista and many more.

Major League coaching career

Francona became third-base coach for the Detroit Tigers in 1996 , working under their new skipper, Buddy Bell, a former teammate of Francona on the Reds. After the season ended, he was hired as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, who had won the NL pennant in 1993 but then experienced three consecutive losing seasons. In Francona's four seasons (1997 through 2000) as the Phils' skipper, the club never rose above third place in the National League East. His best finish with the Phillies was 77–85 in 1999. In 1998 and 1999, the Phillies finished in third place, behind the Atlanta Braves and their division-rival New York Mets.

He was fired following the 2000 campaign, and spent the following season as a special assistant to the general manager with the Cleveland Indians, which was followed by two one-year terms as a bench coach for the Texas Rangers  and Oakland Athletics.

Red Sox manager

The Red Sox hired Francona to manage their club in 2004, after Grady Little's contract was not renewed following the Red Sox loss in the 2003 American League Championship Series.

Francona led the Red Sox to a 98–64 record in 2004, the second-best record in the American League behind the division-rival Yankees. The club jelled in the second half and was the hottest team in baseball after the All-Star break.

As the American League wild card, the Red Sox dispatched the AL West champion Anaheim Angels, three games to none, in the Division Series. In the 2004 American League Championship Series, the Red Sox fell behind the Yankees, three games to none, including a 19–8 loss in Game 3 at home in Fenway Park. However, the club regained its composure and won the last four games of the series, the first time in Major League Baseball history that a team rallied from an 0–3 deficit to win a playoff series (only the third team to even make it as far as Game 6, and the only team to even force a game 7 after trailing a series three games to zero). The Red Sox swept the St. Louis Cardinals, 4-0, in the 2004 World Series, ending the so-called Curse of the Bambino, believed by many to be the reason behind the franchise's 86-year championship drought.

During the 2005 season, Francona was hospitalized after complaining of severe chest pains. Tests revealed significantly clogged arteries, but it was concluded that Francona had not suffered a heart attack. This incident, as well as a life-threatening pulmonary embolism suffered in 2002, ongoing treatment for blood clots, and painful knees, have led to circulation issues which necessitate wearing extra clothes, including two pairs of tights. This is also why his regular uniform top is usually hidden by a pullover.

Two years later, the Sox won the American League East Division, finishing two games ahead of the New York Yankees. Under Francona's leadership, the Sox swept the Angels in the Division Series before dropping three of the first four games to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. The Sox, facing elimination, went on to win their next three games, defeating Cleveland to advance to the 2007 World Series, where they swept the Colorado Rockies in four games. Terry Francona is the only manager in Major League history to win his first eight consecutive World Series games and just the second manager to guide two Red Sox clubs to World Series titles, the other being Bill "Rough" Carrigan who led Boston to back-to-back championships in 1915 and 1916.

As of October 1, , Francona's career regular-season managerial record is 755–703 (.518), while his post-season record is 22–9 (.710). Among managers who have managed at least 20 post-season games, he has the highest winning percentage. Francona is the first manager in MLB history to win his first 8 games in the World Series. In addition to his already great resume, Terry was 6–0 in playoff elimination games until Game 5 of the 2005 ALDS, against the Chicago White Sox, when he became 6–1 and 9–0 in ALCS elimination games until Game 7 of the 2008 ALCS, against the Tampa Bay Rays, when he became 9–1.

On February 24, 2008, the Red Sox announced that they had extended Francona's contract. Instead of expiring at the end of the 2008 season, it will expire after the 2011 season. The team also holds club options for 2012 and 2013. Francona is guaranteed a total of $12 million over the first three years of the contract between his salary and the $750,000 buyout he will receive if his 2012 and 2013 options are not exercised. The package, if the options are exercised, is worth about $20 million.

On June 2, 2009, Francona recorded his 500th win as manager of the Red Sox, making him the third Red Sox manager in club history to have 500 wins. The only other two to win at least 500 games as manager of the Red Sox are Joe Cronin(1,071), and Mike Higgins (560). Francona has since passed Higgins and now trails only Cronin in total wins as Red Sox manager.http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/BOS/managers.shtml#manager_register::6 On May 6, 2010, Francona became the fourth person to manage 1,000 games for the Red Sox.

Personal

Francona married Jacque Lang on January 9, 1982, and they have four children: son Nicholas, and daughters Alyssa, Leah, and Jamie. They now live in Brookline, Massachusetts. Nick played collegiate baseball for the University of Pennsylvania and for a time in the Cape Cod Baseball League. He is now a lieutenant in the United States Marine Corps. His daughters Alyssa and Leah played on the University of North Carolina softball team. In 2009, Alyssa was a senior and Leah was a freshman on the team. Jamie also plays club volleyball with the Massachusetts Patriots.


As retrieved from Wikipedia

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Tagged:
2004 World Series, 2007 World Series, Arizona State University, Boston Red Sox, Golden Spikes Award, Montreal Expos, Philadelphia Phillies, Terry Francona, Texas Rangers

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