McKeon, 73, signs one-year extension
PHILADELPHIA -- Jack McKeon will return to manage the Florida Marlins in 2005.
The team announced Saturday that McKeon, 73, signed a one-year contract extension for next season. He led Florida's dramatic turnaround from last-place team to World Series champions after being hired 38 games into the 2003 season, winning National League Manager of the Year honors.
He became well-known for his crusty quips and fondness for cigars.
"The only thing I have to figure out is how I'm going to survive all the smoke again next year," Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria said. "Second-hand smoke may kill me, but Jack's energy is life-giving."
This year, McKeon managed the team to its second straight winning record -- the first time that's happened in franchise history. He also became the oldest manager in All-Star Game history.
"Our goal is to set a tradition here and be consistent in (having) a winning ballclub," McKeon said. "I've never been as happy with an organization as I have been with this organization."
McKeon joined the Marlins on May 11, 2003, replacing the fired Jeff Torborg. Florida was 16-22 when McKeon arrived; with him, they went 75-49 to end the season and claim the NL's wild-card spot.
In the 2003 playoffs, Florida defeated San Francisco and Chicago on the way to the NL pennant, then defeated the New York Yankees in six games for the franchise's second world championship -- capping McKeon's first-ever managerial playoff run.
"Two straight winning seasons, a world championship -- it all speaks for itself," Marlins general manager Larry Beinfest said. "We've done nothing but win since Jack came on board."
The extension gives McKeon a chance to reach 1,000 wins next season. He has 928 wins, seventh among active managers and 55th all-time. He turns 74 on Nov. 23.
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press
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