He’s the first manager to get the axe since MLB’s regular season ended.
PITTSBURGH – Jim Tracy was fired as manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates on Friday after two seasons filled with long losing streaks and little discernible progress.
The team scheduled an afternoon news conference to announce the dismissal.
Tracy’s patience and back-patting weren’t enough to turn around the Pirates. He produced records of 67-95 in 2006 and 68-94 this season, the shortest run of any non-interim Pirates manager since Bill Virdon was fired late into his second season in 1973.
Tracy’s departure means the Pirates will have new front office and on-field leadership in 2008, headed by new team president Frank Coonelly, general manager Neal Huntington and a still-to-be-hired manager. Coonelly and Huntington took over last month, and spent the five days since the season ended weighing a decision on Tracy.
Tracy’s departure has appeared imminent since former general manager Dave Littlefield, who chose Tracy two years ago, was fired Sept. 7. Tracy was due to make $1 million in the final year of his contract.
This season, they dropped 14 of 16 after the All-Stark break and nine more in a row during a stretch of 13 losses in 15 games to end the season. That poor finish came as the Pirates were weighing whether to bring Tracy back for the final season of his contract.
Tracy, a 51-year-old former outfielder for the Cubs, becomes the fourth manager to be fired or to leave the Pirates during their ongoing 15-year run of losing seasons, one short of the 1933-48 Phillies’ major league record.
Gene Lamont, Lloyd McClendon and Tracy were let go and Jim Leyland was allowed out of his contract following the 1996 season to manage the Marlins.
Tracy’s hiring by Littlefield in October 2005 generated minimal enthusiasm among Pirates fans after he and the Dodgers mutually parted ways following a 71-91 season in Los Angeles. Many fans were excited about the possible return of Leyland, who still lived in Pittsburgh and wanted to manage again following a six-year layoff.
The present state of the Pirates is harldly encouraging with little sign of team improving anytime soon. Only a masochist would be interested in replacing Tracy. No I am not volunteering, for I’d have to change the name of my blog.(and other reasons)
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