Long time MLB manager John McNamara passed away yesterday at his home in TN. He was 88. He coached and managed several teams from 1969-1996.
He was the Red Sox’ manager in the 1986 Bill Buckner World Series, and was the AL Manager of the Year that year. I knew him best as the Cincinnati Reds manager after Sparky Anderson left. He led the Reds to the NL West Division title in 1979. He should have had another in 1981. (For those who don’t remember, there was a strike in the middle of the season. The commissioner decided to turn the playoffs into a gimmick with “first half” and “second half” division champs who then had a playoff for the official division title. The Reds had the best overall record in baseball but were in second both “halves“ and thus did not go to the playoffs, had to watch lesser Giants and Dodgers teams instead…and the Dodgers go on to win the WS. The Dodgers were good; it was the year of “Fernandomania,” but the Reds were better and got royally hosed.)
As a teenager, I went to Reds spring training games in Tampa every year. Mr McNamara was very kind and patient with us young fans. Deepest condolences to his family and friends.
3 thoughts on “RIP John McNamara”
His widow had a lot to say on Tuesday about the decision to remove Clemens from Game 6 in the 86 Series:
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Choosing who to believe between John McNamara and Roger Clemens is really easy…Ellen McNamara is very right about that.
She also gets her wish from my perspective about his career and life not being defined by one game. I will continue to remember him fondly as manager of the Reds.
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Speaking as a reformed Dodgers fan, the execrable Reds only got what was coming to them for breaking the hearts of young LAD fans all through the ’70s.
As manager of the California Angels in ’83 he finished fifth. In ’84 the team rose to 81-81 and second place. One of his coaches that year was Marcel Lachemann. In 1996 Lachemann, then the Angels manager, was fired. He was replaced by – John McNamara. McNamara’s return was short – his record was 10-18 and he was replaced himself by a bench coach named Joe Madden. Madden returned to the coaching staff, was a bench coach in the Angels champion team in 2002. I’m not sure where Madden went after that, but he is now managing the Angels in Anaheim Stadium (of Los Angeles).
You see, the Angels are just like the mob as portrayed in the Godfather. People try to get out, but they get pulled back in.
RIP Mac, those ’80s Angel teams underperformed for you and all the other managers that tried to get them to be consistent. Bobby Grich was always working hard, but a lot of those early free agents did not.