Philadelphia did not consider minority candidates for manager

April 27, 1991|By Glen Macnow | Glen Macnow,Knight-Ridder News Service

PHILADELPHIA -- Despite baseball's much-publicized affirmative action campaign, no minority candidates were considered when the Philadelphia Phillies switched managers this week.

Why not?

"Because we felt when you do something like this in the middle of the season, it's best to have someone familiar with the big club and the organization," Phillies president Bill Giles said.

Giles, on the recommendation of general manager Lee Thomas, fired manager Nick Leyva on Tuesday and replaced him with Jim Fregosi.

Fregosi had been a minor-league instructor with the Phillies since May 1989 and an analyst with SportsChannel since the start of this season.

"We certainly will consider a minority if we change managers again," Giles said, "but, hopefully, we won't be changing any time soon."

Others mentioned as possible candidates for Leyva's job included current Phillies coaches John Vukovich, Hal Lanier and Larry Bowa. They, like the club's other coaches, Dennis Menke, Johnny Podres and Mike Ryan, are white.

Giles said he and Fregosi talked Wednesday about adding a black or Hispanic coach to the staff. "Jim has in mind that if we change a coach next year, that we should definitely bring in a minority," Giles said.

After being stung by criticism, baseball initiated an affirmative action program in 1987. Since then, the proportion of minorities among managers, trainers, scouts and coaches has increased from 15 percent to 20 percent. Still, the sport can claim just two black managers among the 26 and a relative handful of black, Asian or Hispanic coaches. In fact, Leyva, who is of Mexican descent, was considered a minority manager.

"It hurts to lose one of the few minority people serving in that position," said Janet Hill of Alexander & Associates, baseball's consultant on minority hiring. "There aren't enough such people serving as major- and minor-league managers and coaches."

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