It has been a tough June for the Florida Marlins. At the end of May, things were looking good in for them. They were 31-22, just behind the Phillies in the National League East and battling for the NL Wild Card. When the calendar turned to June, however, everything went to hell. They opened the month with eight straight losses. After squeaking past Arizona 6-4 on June 10th, The Marlins proceeded to lose 9 straight games. Then, on Sunday morning, they got the biggest shock of all. Their manager, Edwin Rodriguez, up and quit on them.
Rumor has it that he was going to get fired anyway (owner Jeffrey Loria is known for having a quick hook), but Rodriguez felt like he was not reaching his team. Players weren’t hustling, they weren’t putting in the extra work off the field, and Edwin simply had enough of it all. This fiasco left the Marlins without a manager for Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Rays. They ended up having Bench Coach Brandon Hyde manage Sunday’s game (another loss, the team’s 10th in a row), and set their sites to hiring an interim replacement this week.
In the end, the Marlins chose to bring back a familiar (and very popular) face: “Trader Jack” McKeon. Yes, that Jack McKeon… Not one of his grandsons or something. The Marlins have hired 80 year old Jack McKeon to manage their major league baseball team. Any time you hire someone who was alive (and old enough to remember it) during the Great Depression, it’s going to raise some eyebrows. I, for one, think it’s a great move for the Marlins. McKeon is beloved by Marlins fans (and really, all over baseball) because he led them to a World Series Championship in 2003. He’s an old school disciplinarian type manager and, it seems to me, that this is what the reeling franchise needs to get back on track.
John Aloysius McKeon was born On November 23, 1930 (1930!) in South Amboy, New Jersey. You know you’re old if you were alive when the name Aloysius was still being handed out. Jack spent his entire playing career in the minor leagues (in the 1940s), and quickly got into coaching once it became apparent that he was not going to make it as a catcher. He finally made it to the big leagues as a manager with the 1973 Kansas City Royals and managed the Oakland A’s in 1977 and 1978. He soon became the General Manager of the San Diego Padres (where he eventually managed in the late 80s) and started earning the nickname “Trader Jack” because of the complicated nature of the many trades he made. One trade even included three players to be named later!
McKeon next managed the reds from 1997-2000 before taking over for the Florida Marlins in 2003. The Marlins immediately bought into McKeon’s plan and went on to win the NL Wild Card, which they carried to a World Series victory against the New York Yankees. McKeon retired 2 years later, at age 74, as the third oldest manager in league history. Now, he comes back to the Marlins six years later as the second oldest manager in league history. The Great Connie Mack managed for 53 years, calling it quits in 1950 at the age of 87. Absurd.
Anyway, here at Jobu’s Rum, we like to have a little fun at other people’s expenses. We do it in good fun. And we’re gonna do it with Jack. In response to this momentous hiring, our crack research team has put together the following list of things that have happened in McKeon’s lifetime.
- There have been 14 Presidents of the United States
- The United States have gained two more states (Hawaii and Alaska)
- Well over 100 wars have taken place around the globe, including American conflicts like World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, the Gulf War, and Operation Iraqi Freedom.
- There have been 18 Summer Olympics and 19 Winter Olympics
- There have been 19 World Cups (two of them won by Uruguay)
- People went from having to listen to the Olympics and World Cups on the radio, to watching in black and white, to watching in color, to watching in HD, to possibly watching the next one in 3D! We went from No-D to 3D!
- Other fun things were invented too: scotch tape, Polaroid cameras, FM radio, Jet engines, canned beer, the atomic bomb, the microwave oven, the Frisbee, Velcro, credit cards, super glue, diet soda, the birth control pill (one of the all-time greatest inventions), hovercrafts, liquid paper, the hula hoop, barbie, G.I. Joe, the microchip, AstroTurf, the ATM, soft contact lenses, home video game consoles, and personal computers like the one I blog on!
OK I think you guys get it. Jack’s an old man. I’ll stop beating this dead horse. I’ll also resist making any jokes about Jack related to a dead horse (I’m classy). I really do wish the Marlins well. Hopefully McKeon can right the ship and get the Marlins back to competing. How can you not root for this guy? It’s as if your grandfather got hired to manage a major league team. Don’t you want to root for Grandpa? I really hope this season is a big success for Jack and the Marlins, and I’m not just blowing smoke (see what I did there?)
image courtesy of: http://nyc.barstoolsports.com
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