Russell has managed in Triple-A
PHILADELPHIA -- John Russell might be perceived as a long shot among Philadelphia Phillies managerial candidates.
Jim Fregosi and Jim Leyland managed in the World Series. Charlie Manuel and Grady Little took teams to the AL Championship Series.
He once was voted the top managerial prospect in the Pacific Coast League.
There's a pretty large experience gap between Russell and some of the others. Still, the former Phillies catcher thinks he can handle the job as well as he handled a pitching staff.
"There's history. I played here," said Russell, who interviewed Wednesday. "There were days I couldn't stand to read the paper. There were days you kind of enjoyed it depending on what kind of story you might get. I think it's very important you kind of know what the city is like."
Russell was a first-round pick (13th overall) by the Phillies in the 1982 draft and played for them from 1984-88. He also played for Atlanta and Texas in a 10-year career, hitting 34 homers with 129 RBI and a .225 average.
His best season was 1986, when Russell had 13 homers and 60 RBI. He also homered for Texas when he caught Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan's sixth no- hitter in 1990.
The Phillies, who fired Larry Bowa with two games left in the season, already have interviewed former managers Don Baylor, Buddy Bell, Manuel, Little, and Fregosi. They will interview Braves batting coach Terry Pendleton on Thursday and former Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado manager Jim Leyland on Monday.
Pendleton and Russell are the only candidates without major league managerial experience.
Russell said that shouldn't matter. He had success in the Twins' organization, leading Triple-A Edmonton to the Pacific Coast League title in 2002.
"I think they're looking for the right person for the job; somebody that could add stability to the club now," Russell said. "That's my goal, to get back to the '70s, early '80s, where the Philadelphia Phillies were somebody that were going to be in the hunt every year."
Phillies general manager Ed Wade said Russell had a strong interview.
"He talked about the Phillies' way from when he was here," Wade said. "We feel he's a very solid managerial candidate."
Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press