The Philadelphia Phillies have an opportunity to get it right, finally.
Of the city’s sports franchises in the NFL, NBA and MLB, the Phillies are the only one to have never been led by an African American. Look it up.
Ray Rhodes coached the Eagles for four seasons, two of which included postseason appearances.
The 76ers have had Fred Carter, John Lucas, Johnny Davis, Randy Ayers, Maurice Cheeks and Eddie Jordan running the team at some point during their illustrious history. None of those six won a title but in all fairness, they didn’t have an abundance of talent to work with.
The Phillies’ history with African-American players isn’t great but that appears to be changing. There is plenty of hope that youngsters such as outfielders Nick Williams and Aaron Altherr and infielder J.P. Crawford will become stars. To see them mature as players with an African American as manager would do wonders for dispelling the club’s country club image.
While several names are being bounced around as potential candidates to replace Pete Mackanin, who was not retained a manager after guiding the club to another last-place finish in the National League East — the third in four years — here are a few African Americans who deserve some consideration.
The Chicago Cubs third base and infield coach has paid his dues and is well respected. The 56-year-old has managed teams in the International League, Pacific Coast League, Southern League, Midwest League and Arizona Fall League. He’s won back-to-back titles in the Pacific Coast League and won a championship in the Southern League. He’s been Manager of the Year in the Midwest League, the Southern League and twice in the Pacific Coast League.
A former All-Star Major League player, Lopes managed the Milwaukee Brewers from 2000 to 2002. Currently a coach with the Washington Nationals, Lopes should be very familiar to the Phillies. He served as a Phillies coach from 2007 to 2010.
The 1992 American League Rookie of the Year with the Milwaukee Brewers is the manager of the Tacoma Rainers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners in the Pacific Coast League. A former Triple-A player with the Phillies’ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons affiliate, Listach was the PCL Manager of the year in 2008 when he was with the Iowa Cubs. He’s been a third base coach for the Nationals, a first base coach for the Astros, and a bench coach for both the Cubs and Arizona Diamondbacks.
A former All-Star third baseman, Pendleton went to the World Series five times but never won as a player.
Pendleton got his first coaching job in 2001 as the Atlanta Braves hitting coach. Many thought he’d replace Hall of Famer Frank Robinson as the manager of the Nationals in 2006. Pendleton withdrew from consideration for the job. Many thought he’d next become the manager of the Cardinals but that never materialized. When Bobby Cox retired as the Braves manager in 2010, Pendleton was a leading candidate, only to lose the gig to Fredi Gonzalez. He’s now the Braves’ bench coach under Brian Snitker.
The bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays got an opportunity to manage the team on Sept. 2 when manager John Gibbons had to tend to personal business. The Blue Jays defeated the Baltimore Orioles 7-2. In 1999, he guided the Trenton Thunder to a 92-50 finish. He was named Minor League Manager of the Year by three publications: Baseball America, The Sporting News and USA Today Baseball Weekly. He was also the Eastern League Manager of the Year.
He’s been a first base coach with the Texas Rangers, third base and bench coach with the Boston Red Sox and a third base coach for the Orioles. He was rumored to be a finalist for the Blue Jays job in 2010.
The Hall of Fame shortstop has served as a special assistant to Washington Nationals General Manager Jim Bowden. He became a highly regarded baseball analyst. The Detroit Tigers thought enough of him to consider him a managerial candidate in 2013. Three years ago, the Tampa Bay Rays eyed him for their managerial job. He’s helped out his hometown Cincinnati Reds during spring training.
A native of Newark, N.J., Marquis Donnell “Bo” Porter managed the Houston Astros for two seasons. He’s currently the special assistant to Braves GM John Coppolella. He is also a former third base/outfield and base-running coach for the Braves.
Porter, who played both baseball and football at the University of Iowa, has been in the hunt for managerial jobs with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Florida Marlins. He is regarded as a good teacher.
A former player, Washington managed the Texas Rangers to back-to-back American League championships. He compiled a 664-611 record with the Rangers. He was forced to resign in 2014 after seven seasons when it was revealed he tested positive for cocaine and had an extramarital affair.
Known as a player’s manager, Washington has worked hard to redeem himself. He’s currently the third base coach for the Braves. He’s also coached in the New York Mets and Oakland Athletic organizations.
A former New York Yankee star second baseman, Randolph finally got an opportunity to manage the New York Mets after being passed over for several managerial jobs with other teams.
In 2007, with Randolph as manager, the Mets had one of the worst collapses in major league history. Holding a seven-game, first-place lead in the National League East with 17 games to play, the Mets finished 5–12 and lost the division to the Phillies. He was fired in June 2008 but still highly regarded. He was interviewed for the Brewers managerial position. He finished second to Ken Macha but did accept a job as a bench coach. Now a television analyst, Randolph would later be a bench coach for the Orioles.
Another former player, Manuel has managed the Chicago White Sox and the Mets. He’s been a highly regarded coach for the Montreal Expos, Florida Marlins and the Mets. However, he’s made a tremendous contribution with his Jerry Manuel Foundation. Operating in Loomis, Calif.,The Jerry Manuel Foundation targets urban youngsters. The goal is educating them with charter school like standards and then training them on baseball fundamentals. The JMF wants to improve the number of African-American players in Major League Baseball.
A former player who has managed the Pirates and Mariners, McClendon longs for another opportunity to run a team. He didn’t have the best personnel in his stints with the Bucs and the Mariners but he did show some promise working with the players he had. McClendon, currently the Tigers hitting coach, was born and raised in Gary, Ind. In fact in 1971, McClendon played in the Little League World Series, homering in five consecutive at-bats. Those were his only official at-bats as he was intentionally walked by the opposition. McClendon’s team was the first all-Black team to reach the Little League World Series.