Terry Francona could have waited to manage somewhere else. At some point, a more talented team in a major market with a massive payroll would make him an offer.
But if he was going back, there was only one team for him.
And when the Cleveland Indians called, Francona was on his way.
“I knew it was right for me,” he said.
Francona, who led the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles, was introduced Monday as the new manager of the Indians, who crashed in the second half this season after contending for four months.
It’s a family reunion of sorts for Francona, who has ties with the Indians stretching back over 50 years.
His father, Tito, played six seasons in Cleveland, and Francona spent a year working as an assistant in the Indians’ front office after he was fired by Philadelphia.
Francona signed a four-year contract. He hopes to stay even longer.
“I don’t want to be a rental manager,” he said. “I didn’t want to come in worried. I want to be part of the solution. I want to stick around. I didn’t come here to go to pasture.”
Don Larsen, the 82-year-old former Yankees pitcher, will auction off the pinstriped uniform he wore 56 years ago Monday when he threw the only perfect game in the World Series.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a bit,” Larsen said. “I’m not getting any younger and I don’t know how much longer I’ll be around. I want to make sure (my grandchildren) go to college, which isn’t cheap these days.
“So, I figured it was the right time.”
One of Larsen’s grandkids is in college and the other is a freshman in high school.
On the anniversary of Larsen’s greatest day as a pitcher, Steiner Sports Memorabilia announced it will auction off the famed uniform. Larsen was joined at the news conference by his catcher, Yogi Berra, at the Hall of Famer’s museum and learning center at Montclair State University.
On Oct. 8, 1956, Larsen was slated to start Game 5 of the seven-game series against the Brooklyn Dodgers, and ended up throwing the only perfect game in World Series history to help the Yankees capture the 1956 title.
“(Larsen) didn’t shake me off once,” Berra said. “He was throwing pretty hard and had a good breaking ball that day. Everything was working for him.”
Both pitcher and catcher remember the unforgettable moment vividly.
“Yogi and I are the only ones left from that game,” Larsen said. “I’ll never forget the day when I came to the Yankees. One of the things I knew was that I was going to pitch to one of the greatest catchers ever. Yogi means as much to me today as he did then. As time goes on, it hasn’t been forgotten, and it will never be forgotten even after we’re gone.”
Dodgers catcher A.J. Ellis had arthroscopic left knee surgery last Friday and should be ready for the start of spring training. … Cardinals RHP Jake Westbrook, rehabbing from a pulled oblique, will leave the team for a few days to be with his wife, due to deliver the couple’s fourth child. … Rockies players reiterated their support for Jim Tracy on Monday following the manager’s resignation over the weekend. Colorado is now conducting its first managerial search since 1999.