Phil Garner became the newest member of baseball's growing army of young managers yesterday. He was hired by the Milwaukee Brewers, despite no previous managerial experience in the big leagues.
"Today it's no different than signing a player out of high school or college. You're looking at the potential of what he's going to be. And I see the same correlation with Phil and all the managers, betting on his abilities in the future," said Brewers general manager Sal Bando, a former Oakland Athletics teammate of Garner.
Garner became the fourth former player in a month to be hired without major-league managerial experience, joining the Boston Red Sox's Butch Hobson, the New York Yankees' Buck Showalter and the Seattle Mariners' Bill Plummer.
"We put criteria together in what we were looking for, and managerial experience wasn't one of them," said Bando, who chose Garner over six other candidates.
Garner, 42, said he'd always aspired to be a manager, but not this quickly.
"I had not put out any feelers. I had not been seeking a job," he said.
Not only has Garner not managed in the majors, but he also has never managed in the minors. He's been a coach for only three years with the Houston Astros since retiring as a player in 1988.
* PIRATES: Mark Sauer was named president and chief executive officer of the club in a front-office restructuring that will give him more autonomy than predecessor Carl Barger.
Sauer, 44, former chief operating officer of the Cardinals, will run Pittsburgh's day-to-day baseball operations and won't have to clear major decisions with chairman Douglas Danforth or the board of directors.
* BRAVES: An American Indian activist from Minnesota has filed a discrimination complaint with the U.S. attorney in Atlanta, asking the Braves to change their name because it demeans Indians.
Fred Veilleux, an Ojibwe from Minneapolis who has been active in efforts to get Minnesota high schools to abandon Indian mascot names, said he took the unusual step of traveling to Atlanta to file his complaint because he wanted to attend a Braves game first.
Veilleux said he was spat upon and called "chief" and "Cochise" by headdress-wearing and tomahawk-chopping Atlanta fans who took offense at his protest sign.
* EXPOS: Although a club spokesman says the Expos will have a home next season, an engineer has said it could take a year to fix the retractable roof at Olympic Stadium.
On Sept. 13, a 55-ton concrete beam fell off the side of the stadium and crashed onto a walkway below. The facility has been shut since, forcing the Expos to finish their 1991 season on the road. Engineers are still studying the structural integrity of the facility.