Francona follows Hoffman as candidate
BOSTON -- Former Philadelphia Phillies manager Terry Francona interviewed for the Boston Red Sox job on Wednesday.
Hoffman was the first candidate to interview for the position, left vacant when Grady Little was let go after the season ended. Little averaged 94 wins in his two seasons but didn't fit the organization's style of relying on statistics to determine game strategy.
The Red Sox also have received permission to talk to Anaheim Angels pitching coach Bud Black, but he told the Los Angeles Times he expected to turn down the chance for an interview. Epstein said through a team spokesman only that no other interviews have been set up.
Francona spoke with general manager Theo Epstein and his assistant, Josh Byrnes, for about six hours. Francona came away from the meeting enthusiastic about the chance to manage the Red Sox.
Francona, 44, managed the Philadelphia Phillies through four losing seasons from 1997 to 2000. In his four years, they went 285-363 and never won more than 77 games.
Of his losing seasons with the Phillies, Francona said Wednesday that he has learned some lessons.
"I was very young. I was learning kind of on the run," he said after interviewing for the job as Boston Red Sox manager. "I had a goal back then to be a major league manager. Now I have a goal to be a successful major league manager. I think it can be done."
If he gets the job in Boston, Francona knows, he will be expected to win right away.
"The one thing you just die for is a chance to win," Francona said. "To have a chance to win and to be expected to win is what you play for, what you coach for."
Francona spent the 2001 season as special assistant to baseball operations for the Cleveland Indians and was bench coach for the Texas Rangers in 2002. He was a bench coach for Oakland this season when the A's blew a 2-0 lead in the first round of the playoffs, losing three straight to the Red Sox.
"I had a great view" of the Boston team, Francona said. "They seemed to really care for each other on the field. They give you no let-up in the lineup."
Francona, son of former major-league outfielder Tito Francona, was an outfielder and first baseman in the majors for 10 seasons with Montreal, the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati. Cleveland and Milwaukee. He hit .274 with 16 homers in 708 games.
Francona, unlike Hoffman, enthusiastically campaigned for the job. Hoffman said Monday that he was still sounding out the team as it checked him out.
"I was excited to come up here, and now I'm still excited," Francona said. "Just to be considered for an interview is a real honor. They're going to have a lot of terrific candidates for this job."
The Red Sox were five outs from reaching the World Series before ace Pedro Martinez blew a 5-2 lead in Game 7 of the AL championship series against the New York Yankees. Little was widely criticized for leaving Martinez in too long.
Copyright 2003 by The Associated Press
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