Marty Lurie Talks San Francisco Giants Baseball

It's Only a Matter of Time by Jerry Feitelberg

I guess the most precarious job in sports is being a
manager of a baseball team or a head coach of a football,basketball or hockey team. In professional sports the job of the head guy is to win. Some teams that are near the bottom may be willing to let a guy go a year or 2 in order to develop young players but the general rule is that you have to win.

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Yesterday, I saw the news report that former A’s manager,Art Howe, was out at the end of the season.
Art is a terrific person and , in my opinion, a pretty
damn good manager. Leo Durocher said that nice guys finish last. Not so in the case of Art Howe. A decent man who treated players and fans with respect. A few years ago, I was down in Arizona at
spring training and, thanks to Marty, had the opportunity to talk with Art. It was just Marty, Art and me. We talked as if we were all old friends.
We must have talked for about 45 minutes.
I am asked questions about pitchers, hitters or
whatever else . Art was gracious and explained
why he made certain moves and why he could tell
whether a relief pitcher had it when he called him into the game.

When Art came here to Oakland in 1996, he was given a team that was not very good. He had
one genuine superstar in Mark McGwire and a few
good players but the pitching staff was not very good
at that time. Tony Larussa had left for St.Louis saying that he didn’t want to rebuild the team.
He took his entire coaching staff with him and Art
came in with Denny Walling, Ron Washington,
Duffy Dyer and Bob Cluck.They had the unenviable task of rebuilding the club. Sandy Alderson was
still GM at the time.For 3 years the team scuffled along just trying to get to .500. In 1998, Billy Beane
took over as GM and fired Bob Cluck, the pitching coach at the end of spring training and brought in
Rick Peterson as pitching coach. Walling and Dyer
had departed also by this time. The team started
to improve as Tim Hudson ,Mark Mullder and,
Barry Zito arrived. The bullpen got better as Beane
got player like Jim Mecir, Bradford,Isringhausen,
Foulke and the A’s made the playoffs in the year 2000 for the 1st time since 1992. And the following 3 years as well.The A’s did
well and Art’s contract was up somewhere in that period of time. He got his contract but many felt that his days were numbered here in Oakland. The A’s new bench coach was Ken Macha
and the A’s did not want to lose him to another team.
It became clear that Howe would be out here to make room for Macha. The Mets had an opening
and the door was open and Art left at the end of the
2002 season.

New York is a totally differnt town than Oakland. The fans are passionate about the game and while fans
want to win here they better win in New York or else. See Kenny Rogers and Jeff Weaver about that.
So the Mets gave Art a team of underachievers and old players. The old players broke down and they
never got it going. This year they looked like they were making progress but fell apart after the all-star
game. Art was toast in New York.Managers know when they take a job it’s not going to last forever.
Even winning doesn’t always protect a manager.Ask
Grady Little.

I wish Art good luck in his future endeavors. It was
my pleasure to meet him and talk with him that day
in Phoenix. he is a baseball “lifer” and I am sure
that one day I will be listening to the radio and
hearing Mart doing an interview with Art about his “memories of the game.”

Jerry Feitelberg


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