SAN DIEGO -- Bud Black waited years for his chance to manage
a team, and he's ready to start at the highest level.
The San Diego Padres introduced their new manager Thursday night
at a news conference before the club's annual awards banquet, and
Black was asked if his lack of managerial experience at any level
was a concern.
"I don't think so," he said. "When you talk about managing,
obviously you hope to have the qualities to lead a team, to lead
men. Hopefully my career as a player and as coach has given me
those opportunities to get those skills in order to manage. You
have to start somewhere. Fortunately, I'm starting at the top."
The 49-year-old Black, the Los Angeles Angels' pitching coach
for the past seven seasons, agreed to a two-year contract with a
club option for a third year. He replaces Bruce Bochy, who left to
take over the San Francisco Giants last month.
"Needless to say it's a great opportunity for me," Black said.
"I'm extremely excited to be here. The process was obviously
hectic the last 10 days. I was fortunate to interview with a couple
of other clubs. When the Padres called, I was ecstatic."
Black was one of six candidates interviewed by the Padres. A
former player at San Diego State, Black lives in nearby Rancho
Santa Fe with his wife, Nanette, and children, Jamie and Jessie.
"Everyone in baseball, coaches, managers and players, realize
what a place San Diego is to play," Black said. "And for me
living here now, going to San Diego State, working here, managing
the Padres is wonderful.
"I think back to the days when I was at Jack Murphy [Stadium]
watching Gwynnee [Tony Gwynn] play, watching Gaylord Perry, Randy
Jones and all the Padres who were there in the late '70s when I was
at State, now 27-28 years later I'm here full circle."
A left-hander, Black pitched for 15 seasons in the major leagues
with Seattle, Kansas City, Cleveland, Toronto and San Francisco. In
398 games, including 296 starts, he went 121-116 with a 3.84 ERA,
32 complete games, 12 shutouts and 11 saves.
Before joining the Angels, Black spent a few years in the
Cleveland Indians organization, serving as a special assistant to
general manager John Hart.
"Good dude," Gwynn said Wednesday about his former teammate at San Diego State. "He's been in the game a long time and really warrants this opportunity. I think he'll do well."
Padres right-hander Jake Peavy said he's never met Black but has heard nothing but praise for him.
"I'm excited. I obviously didn't want a new manager and I'm not excited about Boch's departure, but I like the guy we've got," Peavy said. "I think it's only going to make our pitching that much better. I think he's going to understand all aspects of the game. When he sees the kind of ball we need to play in this ballpark, he'll know that we need to work around pitching and defense.
"To get a local guy and a well-qualified individual is a good move," Peavy said.
Gwynn said Black is a lot like Bochy.
"He knows the players and he knows what the players have gone through, being a former player," said Gwynn, the former Padres batting star who coaches his alma mater. "He's got the wit, he's got the whole package. He's really a funny guy."
Bochy managed the Padres to consecutive NL West titles for the first time in club history but wasn't offered a contract extension beyond 2007. He accepted a three-year contract with San Francisco late last month.
Bochy was with the Padres organization for 24 seasons, the last 12 as manager.
Gwynn said Black drops by campus before going to spring training every year, and the two have talked about his chances of getting a job as manager.
"You knew sooner or later he was going to get a shot," Gwynn said.
"As a player you knew he was going to get to the big leagues, and then after playing against him you realize if he wanted to coach or be a pitching coach or one day be a manager, he'd do it," Gwynn said. "He's very shrewd, very observant. You can't slip things by him."