For some reason, Astros fans appear to be more concerned about the transfer of Jose Cruz from one useless job to another useless job than they care about whether the team actually gets a decent manager. Believe it or not, the manager of a team is far more important to the team's success than Jose Cruz.
And with the list of potential managers being interviewed by the Astros, it looks like a successful team really isn't that important to Drayton McLane either.
Everybody really seems to be real high on Phil Garner for some reason. This is really strange because the record shows that Garner is a crappy manager when his team has no pitching or talent. Yet people say that Garner is the greatest manager in Astros history -- which goes to prove that most people who now call themselves Astros fans know absolutely nothing about the history of this team past the year 2000.
Give Garner a pitching staff of Roger Clemens, Andy Pettitte, and Roy Oswalt with a then-lights-out Brad Lidge and supported by a healthy Jeff Bagwell, a still-relevant Craig Biggio and Lance Berkman and the team wins. Give Garner a pitching staff with Woody Williams, Brandon Backe, and Wandy Rodriguez with a very hittable Lidge and an over-the-hill Biggio and the non-entity of Carlos Lee, and his team loses. Badly. Just like the teams he managed in Milwaukee and Detroit.
Speaking of Milwaukee, there's Ned Yost. Yost was such a good manager that, only weeks away from the Brewers reaching the playoffs for the first time since the early `80s, he was fired because the team was choking and he had lost the clubhouse. Speaking of choking, there's candidate Bob Melvin who managed the Arizona Diamondbacks before being fired in 2009. And why was he fired? Well, among other reasons was the fact that the Diamondbacks, a playoff club in 2007, choked away a huge lead in 2008 and didn't make the playoffs, then came out this year and, despite having one of the more talented clubs in the NL West, sucked badly.
Then there's poor Manny Acta. The guy appears to have the makings of a good manager, given talent, but he just escaped the Washington Nationals. The Nationals have some talented players -- Nick Johnson, Ryan Zimmerman, and Adam Dunn. They have no real defense. And they had no pitching. So they were the Astros except the pitching was even worse. So what has he done to earn a job here? And Dave Clark didn't exactly distinguish himself while managing the Astros -- his signature decision was to sacrifice the possible future of the franchise for the sake of Miguel Tejada's quest for 200 hits.
Then there's Eric Wedge, who took an extremely talented squad in Cleveland and did absolutely nothing with the team except lose. And let's not forget Randy Ready who just happens to be the hitting coach for one of the worst hitting teams in baseball -- what, was Sean Berry not available? And the first base and bench coaches of the Boston Red Sox. And a few other non-entities.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
But nowhere in this list is a guy with a history of taking an awful club and building a competitive franchise. There's no Buck Showalter. No Frank Robinson. One would think that Drayton might slow down a bit and find out what happens with Tony La Russa in St. Louis. Or maybe he might consider putting in a phone call to Rudy Jaramillo or Dave Duncan. Damn, Bobby Valentine has even mentioned an interest in this club.
But that won't happen because Showalter and Robinson and La Russa and Valentine and the like are strong personalities who know what they're doing. They won't put up with crap from the ballplayers, and more importantly, they won't put up with crap from owners and their flunkies.
If there's anything that can be derived from the history of managers under Drayton McLane, it's that no person who would challenge the authority of Drayton McLane and Tal Smith will be hired. Only three people have ever worked for Drayton and dared to challenge his knowledge of the game and his general greatness. Bill Wood. Gerry Hunsicker. Larry Dierker. But despite excelling at their jobs, they were all fired because they wouldn't bow down to the greatness that is Drayton McLane.
So bitch and moan about Jose Cruz. But what you should be bitching and moaning about is that Drayton McLane is once again refusing to hire, much less talk to, competent candidates to be his team's manager.