While other managers were in danger of losing their jobs, most people thought the Boston Red Sox's Joe Morgan was safe. Now he's out, too.
In a surprising move, the Red Sox fired Morgan yesterday and replaced him with former Boston third baseman Butch Hobson.
"Butch is highly thought of throughout baseball and we just felt that he's the man for us," Red Sox general manager Lou Gorman said. "Everyone looks for scapegoats, but we're not blaming Joe Morgan for not winning."
Morgan led Boston to the American League East titles in 1988 and 1990, but failed to come through this year. The Red Sox were 11 1/2 games out of first place on Aug. 7, then closed within a half-game of division-leading Toronto on Sept. 21. But Boston lost 11 of its last 14 and finished seven games back, in a second-place tie with Detroit at 84-78.
"Joe took the news like the pro he is," Gorman said. "He understands. He just said, 'That's your decision to make.' Joe did an excellent job, but if we didn't make the move, we would have risked losing Butch."
Morgan, who will be 61 on Nov.16, replaced John McNamara on July 14, 1988, with the team 9 1/2 games out of first. Boston rallied to win the division, but were swept by Oakland in the AL playoffs. The Red Sox slipped to third with an 83-79 record in 1989, then won the division in 1990 at 88-74 only to be swept by Oakland again.
Boston was 301-262 under Morgan, the eighth Red Sox manager to win 300 games. He has one year remaining on his contract at approximately $375,000 and was offered a job as special assistant for major-league scouting.
Morgan left the ballpark without talking to reporters yesterday and did not return messages left on his telephone answering machine.
Hobson, who signed a two-year contract, was chosen Class AAA Manager of the Year after leading Pawtucket to a 79-64 record and the International League East Division title.
METS: Philadelphia police are investigating allegations by a New Jersey woman who claims New York Mets pitcher David Cone raped her in a hotel last weekend.
Police would not identify the woman's alleged assailant, but Mets spokesman Jay Horwitz confirmed that club officials were aware the allegations concern Cone, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. Horwitz would not comment further.
The 24-year-old woman said the alleged incident occurred Saturday evening at the Hilton Towers downtown. She reported it to police early Sunday and police took her to Thomas Jefferson University Hospital shortly after 9 a.m.
* CUBS: The uncertainty surrounding the managerial position continued, amid indications nothing would be done immediately concerning the future of Jim Essian.
General manager Jim Frey said he held meetings involving budgets and the minor leagues but didn't get around to the big league club, the manager or the coaches.
Frey told The Associated Press there definitely would be no meetings today, and maybe not even this weekend, on Essian's future.
* WHITE SOX: CBS Sports reported that doctors will recommend that Bo Jackson not play football again, but Jackson's agent called the report a lie and said the two-sport star is due to report to the Los Angeles Raiders.
Pat O'Brien read the report on CBS' pregame show before Game 1 of the American League playoffs.
Richard Woods, Jackson's agent, denied the report from his home in Birmingham, Ala.