Wade: Candidate gives 'perfect answers'

Updated: October 29, 2004, 12:39 AM ET
Associated Press

PHILADELPHIA -- When Terry Pendleton got a call from Braves general manager John Schuerholz a day after Atlanta's season ended, he wondered if he was getting fired.

Instead, Schuerholz told Pendleton, the team's hitting coach the last three seasons, that the Philadelphia Phillies wanted to interview him for their vacant managerial position.

"I was very, very surprised," Pendleton said after meeting with the Phillies on Thursday. "In all honesty, it blew me away. I haven't been able to relax since. It's a great honor that they've even considered me."

Pendleton was the seventh candidate interviewed for the manager's job since Larry Bowa was fired two days before the Phillies finished a disappointing season in second place behind Atlanta.

Jim Leyland, who managed Pittsburgh and Colorado and led Florida to its first World Series championship in 1997, will interview on Monday, with no other candidates scheduled.

Former managers Don Baylor, Charlie Manuel, Grady Little, Buddy Bell and Jim Fregosi, and former Phillies first-round pick John Russell already have interviewed. Only Pendleton and Russell, a third-base coach for Pittsburgh, have no managerial experience in the majors.

"He's very upbeat, very sincere and he showed great instincts," Phillies general manager Ed Wade said of Pendleton. "He gave perfect answers."

Is he ready to manage an underachieving team desperate for leadership and direction?

"I never thought of myself as a manager," Pendleton said. "There are born leaders. A lot of people saw leadership qualities in me before I knew I could lead."

A stocky, switch-hitting third baseman, Pendleton spent his first seven seasons playing for the Cardinals, before signing with the Braves after the 1990 season.

He hit .319 with 22 homers and 86 RBI in 1991, winning the NL MVP award and helping the Braves go from last place to first place, beginning their unprecedented run of 13 consecutive division titles.

"He's so down to earth and common sense-oriented," Wade said. "I didn't sense he's a disciplinarian, but he has a way of getting across to people."

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press