White Sox, Orioles quick to pull trigger on manager change

Tuesday, September 30, 2003

CHIGAGO -- Frustrated that yet another talent-laden team fell short of the postseason, the Chicago White Sox decided it was time to change directions.

And manager Jerry Manuel was the first to be left behind.

Manuel was fired Monday, a day the White Sox originally hoped to spend getting ready for the playoffs. But after taking a two-game lead in the AL Central on Sept. 9, the White Sox collapsed in stunning fashion, losing 10 of their next 15 to finish four games behind Minnesota at 86-76.

"This wasn't a case of not having enough talent," general manager Kenny Williams said Monday.

"It's very difficult at this time to sit here, knowing the type of talent we had and what possibly could have happened if we would have just gotten into the dance," he said. "To sit here and have to go through this is very difficult. But you have to start looking at yourself in the mirror."

While he refused to criticize Manuel, Williams said the team needed to change its "voice and direction."

There will be changes on the field, too, though Williams said he hopes to keep his pitching staff intact and has made re-signing Bartolo Colon a priority.

The search for a new manager begins immediately, and Williams hopes to choose someone after the World Series ends in late October. All of Manuel's coaching staff will be retained except for Bruce Kimm, the third-base coach.

Manuel's dismissal was hardly a surprise. Though he never confirmed it, he said his goodbyes over the last week and spoke openly about his desire to manage again.

"It was a tough summer for me personally, but I wouldn't trade it," he said after Sunday's season finale in Kansas City. "I came here to be a servant, not a celebrity. Obviously, that changed, but I don't have any regrets."

Orioles fire Hargvove

BALTIMORE -- Mike Hargrove was a winner in Cleveland, taking a perennial loser to the World Series -- twice.

He couldn't pull off a sufficient encore in Baltimore, and now he's going to have to go somewhere else in search of his 1,000th victory as a major league manager.

Hargrove was fired by the Orioles one day after Baltimore completed its fourth consecutive losing season under his direction and sixth straight overall.

The move was made during a 15-minute meeting with Jim Beattie and Mike Flanagan, the vice presidents who oversee the team's baseball operations.

Hargrove, 53, went 275-372 with the Orioles, including 71-91 this year. His departure did not come as a complete surprise, given that his contract expires on Nov. 1 and the team never discussed an extension.

-- From wire reports

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