Ferguson: Moore and the tenuous position of MLB manager

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10/4/2013 11:54:51 AM
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It was just a small note in the transaction column in the paper this week: Jackie Moore would not be back at bench coach with Texas next season under Ron Washington.
Why did this catch my attention? Well, back in 1967, Jackie Moore was a catcher with the Red Sox AAA farm club, the old Toronto Maple Leafs of the International League. It was his final year of pro ball, but it's where Jackie Moore went from there that is really significant.
He went on to spend over 40 years managing and coaching in the Majors and through various minor league outposts. In 1977, he became a coach on Roy Hartsfield's staff with the original Blue Jays. Just the other day, he was the final member of that staff to leave a Major League job.
Moore got his first Major League coaching job in 1969 with the Seattle Pilots and went with them when they moved to Milwaukee one season later and became the Brewers. He also worked for six other organizations over the years, including the Rangers (four stints,) Expos, Rockies and Astros.
In 1990, he was on the staff of Lou Piniella's World Series Champion Cincinnati Reds. He also spent one full season and parts of two others as manager of the Oakland A's (1984-86.) He was a bench coach at Houston in 2007 and finished off with Texas this season as a bench coach.
Jackie Moore is 74 years old. To my recollection, he is one of the oldest to ever stick around this long in the game. I know Connie Mack managed the Philadelphia A's until he was 88, but he owned the team. The late Jimmie Reese, also coached with the Angels hitting Fungoes into his 80s. There may be others, but Jackie Moore is in an exclusive group.
There are still four of the Blue Jays original coaches with us. In addition to Moore, Harry Warner is now 85 years old and Don Leppert is 82.
But the truly amazing story is that of the Jays original batting coach, Bobby Doerr.
The Red Sox legendary second baseman was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986 and is still alive and living in Oregon at age 95. He is the oldest living Hall of Famer. The Blue Jays first pitching coach, Bob Miller, died in a car accident in 1993 at age 54. while Hartsfield passed away in 2011 due to complications from liver cancer at age 85.
Another odd coincidence about Jackie Moore: In his lone season in the Majors with the 1965 Tigers, he was third string catcher behind Bill Freehan and John Sullivan. Yes, that is the same John Sullivan who coached with the Blue Jays from 1982 through 1993 and under three managers - Bobby Cox, who brought him to Toronto, Jimy Williams and Cito Gaston.
"Sully" retired after the 1993 World Series title and I can still see him on stage at the, then, SkyDome with Cito Gaston, as Sullivan pulled the string to unfurl the 1993 World Series championship banner. It's a moment I will never forget.
It hasn't been a great year for managers in terms of job security: Five skippers were either ousted or left on their own accord, so far, and at least two more are question marks.
Charlie Manuel left the Phillies by mutual agreement after a great run with the club. Hall of Famer Ryne Sandberg replaced him. Washington's Davey Johnson is retiring, while the Reds' Dusty Baker and the Dale Sveum of the Cubs got fired. Sveum has already landed a coaching job with the Royals.
In the American League, Eric Wedge of the Mariners resigned and there are still questions as to whether Joe Girardi will re-up with the Yankees and whether Jim Leyland will be back with the Tigers.
If Detroit were to make it to the World Series and be defeated, Leyland would become one of just a handful of managers to lose three "Fall Classics" with the same organization.
The Tigers lost in 2006 to St. Louis and last year to the Giants.
Jackie Moore (Photo: Robert Binder/Getty Images)


(Photo: Robert Binder/Getty Images)
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