Organizational friends Davey Johnson and Kevin Kennedy are the final two candidates for the Los Angeles Dodgers' managing vacancy, general manager Kevin Malone said Wednesday.
Malone, who has been spurned by Jim Leyland and Felipe Alou as he searches for a replacement for Glenn Hoffman, has narrowed the field to two candidates and will make his selection after the World Series.
"Right now we're focusing on these two men. They are the prime candidates," said Malone, who has worked with both men in the past. "Both are proven winners. Both have been successful at every level. We're operating from a position of strength."
On the day Johnson won the 1997 American League Manager of the Year award, he resigned as manager of the Baltimore Orioles following a power struggle with owner Peter Angelos. He also has managed the New York Mets and Cincinnati Reds and has a career record of 985-727, with a title of some sort at every stop.
Johnson managed the Mets from 1984-90, winning no fewer than 87 games in any full season. He guided the club to a World Series title in 1986 and the National League East crown in 1988. In three seasons with the Reds, he piloted the club to the 1995 NL Central title.
The 55-year-old Johnson guided the Orioles to playoff showings in 1996 and 1997, reaching the American League Championship Series both years. Baltimore won the AL East last year, but Johnson feuded with Angelos over his treatment of players, most notably All-Stars Cal Ripken and Roberto Alomar.
Kennedy got his managerial start in the minor-league system of the Dodgers, working from 1984-91 and progressing from the Rookie League to Triple-A. He spent the next three years with the Montreal Expos, serving as director of minor-league field operations and dugout coach.
The 44-year-old Kennedy was 138-138 in two years with the Texas Rangers, although he had the club atop the AL West when a strike canceled the 1994 season. The following year, he joined the Boston Red Sox and guided them to the AL East crown, posting a 171-135 mark in two years with the team.
Malone served as general manager of the Expos before moving on to the Orioles in 1995. He has been looking for a manager since Sept. 30, when he fired interim manager Glenn Hoffman, who was reassigned within the organization.
The Dodgers initially were interested in Jim Leyland, who led the Florida Marlins to the 1997 World Series title. The team was dismantled in cost-cutting by ownership and Leyland quit after this season, but he took over the Colorado Rockies.
Malone then pursued Expos manager Felipe Alou, who decided to remain in Montreal despite the lure of guiding a big-market team with a high profile.
Hoffman started the season managing the Dodgers' Triple-A club in Albuquerque and went 47-41 after replacing Bill Russell on June 22. He will be given a position on the major-league coaching staff for the 1999 season.
Johnson or Kennedy will become just the fifth Dodgers manager since the club moved from Brooklyn in 1958 but the fourth in three years.
Malone replaced long-time GM Fred Claire, who was fired along with Russell just months after Fox bought the team.
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