The Anaheim Angels, who went through a chaotic season that led to the resignations of their manager and general manager, hired former Dodgers catcher Mike Scioscia as their new field boss.
Scioscia, who turns 41 later this month, succeeds Terry Collins, who resigned Sept. 3 four weeks before Bill Bavasi stepped aside as GM.
"I've been working hard to get here, it's a big step in my life to get this opportunity," Scioscia said today. "We will do everything we can to make Anaheim a fun place this summer."
The Angels were the final big league team without a manager before hiring Scioscia to his first major league managerial job. He managed the Albuquerque Dukes of the Pacific Coast League, a Dodgers farm team, to a 65-74 record last season.
"It was clear to me that down here was the best path for me to take," Scioscia said. "I don't anticipate any problems at all with the players on our ballclub. There won't be many rules, there won't be many policies. I don't think any player is going to have a problem with a manager that asks them to practice hard, prepare to play and play hard."
Bill Stoneman, hired Oct. 31 to succeed Bavasi, interviewed seven candidates. Scioscia and Joe Maddon, who served as interim manager after Collins resigned, were interviewed Nov. 9 during the general managers meetings in Dana Point, Calif.
Others interviewed were former Kansas City Royals managers Bob Boone and Hal McRae, New York Yankees coach Chris Chambliss, Cleveland Indians minor league manager Joel Skinner and Oakland Athletics coach Ken Macha.
"There were all very qualified people," Stoneman said. "I sought someone I thought would have the ability to bring the club together. That was primary, someone who knew what it was like to be a team player, someone who would have a presence with the players, with the fans, with the organization."
After retiring as a player following the 1994 season, Scioscia was the Dodgers' minor league catching coordinator for two years and the team's bench coach for another two.
He resigned as manager of the Dukes on Sept. 20 after the PCL season was over "to pursue options with other major league organizations."
He found one with the Angels certainly a team in turmoil.
Preseason favorites to win the AL West last season after signing first baseman Mo Vaughn to a six-year, $80 million contract, the Angels wound up last with a 70-92 record.
They were 51-82 when Collins resigned, and 19-10 under Maddon.
The Angels haven't appeared in the postseason since 1986, when they won the AL West before losing the AL Championship Series to the Boston Red Sox in seven games.
The Angels have won two other division championships, in 1979 and 1982, and have never played in a World Series.
Scioscia, who played in 1,441 games with Los Angeles and is the team's career leader with 1,395 games caught, played with the Dodgers from 1980-92. He was on the San Diego roster in 1993 and the Texas roster in 1994, but didn't play in a major league game after 1992, when he hit .221 in 117 games with Los Angeles.
Scioscia hit .257 with three homers and 35 RBIs in 130 games in 1988, when the Dodgers won their most recent World Series championship.
One of the biggest hits of his career was a two-run homer in the ninth inning off Dwight Gooden of the New York Mets in Game 4 of the NL Championship Series that fall.
The home run tied the game 4-4, and the Dodgers went on to win 5-4 in 12 innings to tie the series 2-2.
The Dodgers wound up beating the Mets in seven games, then beat the Oakland A's in five games in the World Series. They haven't won a postseason game since.
Scioscia only had 68 homers in his career, along with two in the postseason. He also played on the Dodgers' 1981 World Series championship team. That was his first full season with the team.
His best season statistically was in 1985 when he hit a career-high .296 with a career-high 127 hits, seven homers and 53 RBIs. He had career highs of 12 homers and 66 RBIs along with a .264 average in 1990.
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