Mike Hargrove, who managed the Cleveland Indians to two World Series appearances but failed to win a title, was fired today following his team's latest collapse, a team source said.
The Indians were to announce the dismissal at an afternoon news conference, said the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
The firing comes three days after the Indians lost their third straight game to the Boston Red Sox after winning the first two games of the opening round of the AL playoffs.
Hargrove had just completed his eighth season with the Indians, and his 723 wins make him the second-winningest manager in club history behind Lou Boudreau with 728.
A former player with the Indians, Hargrove became their manager on July 6, 1991. He led the club to five straight AL central titles and two league pennants after the Indians moved to Jacobs Field.
But Hargrove's inability to get Cleveland its first World Series title since 1948 cost him his job.
After the Indians won the first two games against Boston, Cleveland appeared in control of the series. But Game 3 starter Dave Burba had to leave after four innings with a strained forearm, leading to some harshly criticized pitching moves by Hargrove.
With the score 3-3, Hargrove allowed Jaret Wright to start the seventh inning, even though he had already allowed three runs and was having control problems.
Wright walked the leadoff hitter and hit another before Hargrove brought in left-hander Ricardo Rincon, who got two quick outs but walked a batter to load the bases.
Instead of using one of his experienced right-handers, Hargrove let Rincon face right-hander John Valentin, who drove in the go-ahead runs with a double.
Hargrove explained that he was saving his right-handers for a possible Game 4.
Although Cleveland easily won its division year after year, Hargrove was constantly second-guessed and many wondered why a team with so much talent couldn't win a World Series.
Once this season, Hargrove incorrectly filled out his team's lineup card, adding to the grumblings.
Still, Hargrove had a good relationship with his players and was a fixture on local television and radio, not only as the manager but a commercial pitchman.
His tenure as manager was third in the major leagues behind Minnesota's Tom Kelly and Atlanta's Bobby Cox.
With the addition of All-Star second baseman Roberto Alomar, Cleveland looked set this year for another World Series run. But injuries, another year of suspect pitching and some questionable moes left the Indians short yet again.
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