Mariners want manager who communicates

October 20, 1991|By Bob Sherwin | Bob Sherwin,Seattle Times

SEATTLE -- Wanted: Good communicator to manage Seattle Mariner baseball team. Experience helpful, but not necessary.

That describes what Woody Woodward says he seeks, as the Seattle Mariners general manager continues to interview managerial candidates.

Woodward said Tuesday that the ability to communicate with players, management and media may be a bigger factor than experience and reputation. That could be good news for Don Baylor and Bob Boone, former players without experience as managers. Woodward was scheduled to interview both Wednesday.

"If you can work with players, staff, front office and with the media, I would even put it [communication] way ahead of controlling the game," Woodward said. "If you can communicate, your entire team effort will be stronger in the game. If you can't, you can run into trouble in the games.

"I wouldn't rule out a guy without major-league experience, coach and/or manager," he added. "You might not get as high marks in that area, but strength in other areas can overcome it."

Woodward, seeking a successor to fired manager Jim Lefebvre, was expected to conduct many of his interviews of candidates at the World Series, which began last night. By Friday, however, he was scheduled to have talked to more than half the potential candidates in Seattle.

On Monday, Woodward interviewed Buck Showalter, who recently was let go as the New York Yankees' third-base coach. Tuesday he talked to two more candidates -- Bill Plummer, Mariners third-base coach, and Jim Riggleman, manager of the Class AAA Stars in Las Vegas, Nev.

Woodward said he expects to interview "maybe three or four" candidates during the Series. He said he will talk with Ron Clark, Mariners bench coach, and Bucky Dent, former Yankees manager and now St. Louis Cardinals third-base coach.

Other possible candidates are Gene Lamont, Pittsburgh third-base coach, who was a candidate three years ago when Lefebvre was hired, and Lou Piniella, Cincinnati manager.

However, the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times reported that Piniella .. told the Mariners he would be interested in the job only if he can be assured that the team will move to Tampa, his hometown.

Woodward said the three candidates interviewed so far "have been impressive, very impressive."

Showalter, 35, released when Stump Merrill was fired as manager, was a minor-league manager in the Yankees system for five seasons before he was elevated with Merrill in 1990. He had a 360-207 record and finished first four times and third once.

"Showalter is young, but he's got a good feeling what he'd like to do and how to get there," Woodward said. "Of course, working in the New York market has a way of maturing someone."

Riggleman, 39, guided the Stars to a 65-75 record this season, his first as manager in the San Diego system. He also worked nine years in the Cardinals system.

"Riggleman is one of those guys who comes from good baseball stock," Woodward said. "He was trained by George Kissell, the Cardinals' director of minor-league operations and a man

everyone considers a master of player development over the years."

Woodward said he took "a different approach with Plummer. We could talk many more specifics because he knows the personnel."

Plummer, 44, has been with the Mariners since 1978, when he came from the Reds as a player. He had a 480-452 record in seven seasons as a minor-league manager.

Baylor and Boone have vast knowledge from their combined 34 seasons in the major leagues.

Baylor, 41, was interviewed for the Cardinals job last season before it went to Joe Torre. The Milwaukee batting coach was also to have been interviewed Thursday by the Brewers as a

candidate to replace the fired Tom Trebelhorn.

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