McKeon (left) shaking hands with President George W. Bush (right) on January 24, 2004
November 23, 1930 |
South Amboy, New Jersey
|1973, for the Kansas City Royals|
|Last MLB appearance|
|2011, for the Florida Marlins|
|Career highlights and awards|
In 2003, he won a National League East Division. McKeon, described upon his hiring by Marlins' general manager Larry Beinfest as a "resurrection specialist," led the Marlins to a 75–49 win-loss record, a wild card berth, victories over the San Francisco Giants and Chicago Cubs in the National League divisional and championship series playoffs, and then a six-game World Series triumph over the New York Yankees.
He remained at the helm of the Marlins through 2005, then seemingly retired at age 74. In 2011, he took over the Marlins on June 20 for a second time as interim manager following the resignation of Edwin Rodríguez and served out the season. In so doing he became, at age 80, the second oldest manager in big league history, behind only Connie Mack. He retired again at the end of the season with a career managerial record of 1,051–990 (.515).
McKeon previously managed the Kansas City Royals (1973 to 1975), Oakland Athletics (parts of both 1977 and 1978), San Diego Padres (1988 to 1990), and the Cincinnati Reds (1997 to 2000). From July 7, 1980, through September 22, 1990, he served as the general manager of the Padres, putting together the team which won the 1984 National League pennant, the first in San Diego history.
- Minor league player and manager 1.1
- Manager of Royals and Athletics 1.2
- General manager of Padres 1.3
- Manager of Padres and Reds 1.4
- Two-time NL Manager of the Year 1.5
- Personal life 2
- Major League managerial records 3
- References 4
- External links 5
Minor league player and manager
Born in South Amboy, New Jersey, McKeon was a 5 ft 8 in (1.73 m), 195 lb (88 kg) catcher who threw and batted right-handed. He played baseball for the College of the Holy Cross, and also attended Seton Hall University and Elon College, earning a bachelor of science degree in physical education. He spent his entire early professional career (1949–64) in the minor leagues. He became a playing manager in 1955 and then worked in the farm system of the original Washington Senators franchise, and its successor, the Minnesota Twins, handling Triple-A assignments for the Vancouver Mounties (1962), Dallas-Fort Worth Rangers (1963) and Atlanta Crackers (through June 21, 1964). He scouted for the Twins starting in mid-1964 before joining the Royals in 1968, one year before their Major League debut, as skipper of their Class A High Point-Thomasville farm team and won the Carolina League playoff championship. He led their Triple-A affiliate, the Omaha Royals of the American Association, from its founding in 1969 through 1972, and won two league titles.
Manager of Royals and Athletics
McKeon, then 42, was promoted to manager of the Kansas City Royals for Hall of Famer.
But the 1974 Royals could not sustain the momentum and were 77–85 (.475), next-to-last in the West division. The following year, the 1975 Royals improved to 50–46 by July 23, but it was not enough to save McKeon's job. He was replaced by Whitey Herzog, then a coach for the California Angels. Herzog led Kansas City to three successive AL West titles (1976–78), and, in the 1980s, he would become one of McKeon's trading partners when both were general managers in the National League.
McKeon spent 1976 back in the minor leagues as skipper of the Denver Bears, Triple-A affiliate of the Montreal Expos, in 1979.
General manager of Padres
He began the 1979–80 offseason as top assistant to Bob Fontaine, the general manager of the San Diego Padres. During the 1980 All-Star break, with the Padres in last place in the National League West Division, owner Ray Kroc and club president Ballard F. Smith fired Fontaine and replaced him with McKeon, making him a first-time general manager at the age of 49. During his first off-season, he set about rebuilding the Padres through a flurry of trades—earning his "Trader Jack" nickname.
He began by acquiring young catcher Terry Kennedy from Herzog's St. Louis Cardinals in an eleven-player deal. Over the next four off seasons, he would also trade for Dave Dravecky, Garry Templeton and Carmelo Martínez, draft young stars Tony Gwynn and Kevin McReynolds, and sign free agents Steve Garvey and Graig Nettles, the core of San Diego's 1984 National League champions. In June 1989, he traded his own son-in-law, pitcher Greg Booker.
He told the New York Times in 1988: "Why do I trade? I'm aggressive. I'm confident. I'm a gambler. I'm willing to make a trade and not be afraid I'll get nailed."
Manager of Padres and Reds
McKeon stayed in the front office through the terms of four different managers. When the fourth skipper, Larry Bowa, started 1988 at 16–30, McKeon took over the managerial reins himself on May 28. He led the Padres to a 67–48 mark for the rest of 1988, and an 89–73 record in 1989. But when his 1990 Padres stalled at 37–43 at the All-Star break, McKeon turned the team over to coach Greg Riddoch. Slightly more than two months later, he was ousted from the general manager's job when the Padres' new owner, Tom Werner, hired Joe McIlvaine away from the New York Mets.
McKeon was out of baseball in 1991–92 before joining the Cincinnati Reds in 1993 as a Major League scout and then senior adviser for player personnel, working under GM Jim Bowden. He was in his fourth season in the latter job on July 25, 1997, when at age 66 he was asked to return to the field as the replacement for Ray Knight as the club's manager. The Reds were 43–56 and nine games out in the National League Central Division, but McKeon coaxed them to a 33–30 mark for the rest of the season. He then survived a poor 1998 campaign, with Cincinnati falling to a sub-.500 (77–85) record and finishing 25 games out of first place in its division. But McKeon turned the Reds around in 1999, leading them to 96 victories and a tie for the National League wild card through the full 162-game season. However, the Reds were defeated 5–0 by the Mets in a one-game playoff held in their home ballpark, Cinergy Field, and were eliminated from the postseason. Nevertheless, McKeon was named 1999 NL Manager of the Year for his achievement.
On the eve of 2000 spring training, the Reds electrified their fans by acquiring superstar center fielder Ken Griffey, Jr. — a Cincinnati native and son of the Reds' coach and former star — in a trade with the Seattle Mariners. Young Griffey hit 40 home runs, but the Reds posted a disappointing 85–77 record and finished ten games behind the Cardinals. After the season ended, McKeon was relieved of his managerial duties.
Two-time NL Manager of the Year
McKeon was again named National League Manager of the Year in 2003 — the result of leading the Marlins, who had a record below .500 when he took the job as their manager on May 11 to a World Series victory. With that victory, he became, at 72, the oldest manager to win the World Series, winning against the New York Yankees, against whom he wanted to play his first World Series, having lived in South Amboy, New Jersey and attending Yankee games while a child.
On October 2, 2005, just after the Marlins won the last game of the 2005 season, McKeon announced that he would not be returning the following season. McKeon led the Marlins to three of the six winning seasons in franchise history, but there was a consensus within the organization that a managerial change was in order.
On June 20, 2011, after manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned, the Florida Marlins held a press conference to announce that McKeon had been named interim manager. "I don't need this job but I love it," McKeon said, in taking over a team that had lost 10 straight and 18 of its last 19. He retired after the conclusion of the 2011 season.
McKeon is a devout Catholic and attends daily Mass, even doing so while his team was traveling during his managerial career. He attributes much of his success, especially the Marlins' win in the 2003 National League Championship Series, to the intercession of Saint Thérèse of Lisieux.
McKeon is the author of two books, Jack of All Trades and I'm Just Getting Started.
On May 5, 2012, McKeon was inducted into the Fulton County Baseball & Sports Hall of Fame for his achievements with the Gloversville-Johnstown Glovers, in which he played for in 1950 and 1951 in Gloversville, New York.
McKeon's Grandson, Kellan, is a two-time state champion wrestler for Chapel Hill High School and was the captain of the wrestling team at Duke University.
On Tuesday, May 26, 2015, McKeon was inducted into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame, along with former Royals slugger Mike Sweeney, broadcaster Dave O'Brien, NY Mets p.r. executive Shannon Forde, and Bill Murray, the comedic actor and owner of several minor league baseball teams.
Major League managerial records
|Team||Year||Regular Season||Post Season|
|Won||Lost||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|KC||1973||88||74||.543||2nd in AL West||–||–||–||–|
|KC||1974||77||85||.475||5th in AL West||–||–||–||–|
|KC||1975||50||46||.521||2nd in AL West||–||–||–||(Fired)|
|OAK||1977||26||27||.491||7th in AL West||–||–||–||–|
|OAK||1978||45||78||.366||6th in AL West||–||–||–||(Fired)|
|SD||1988||67||48||.583||3rd in NL West||–||–||–||–|
|SD||1989||89||73||.549||2nd in NL West||–||–||–||–|
|SD||1990||37||43||.463||5th in NL West||–||–||–||(Fired)|
|CIN||1997||33||30||.524||3rd in NL Central||–||–||–||–|
|CIN||1998||77||85||.475||4th in NL Central||–||–||–||–|
|CIN||1999||96||67||.589||2nd in NL Central||–||–||–||–|
|CIN||2000||85||77||.525||2nd in NL Central||–||–||–||(Fired)|
|FLA||2003||75||49||.605||2nd in NL East||11||6||.647||Won World Series|
|FLA||2004||83||79||.512||3rd in NL East||–||–||–||–|
|FLA||2005||83||79||.512||3rd in NL East||–||–||–||(Retired)|
|FLA||2011||40||50||.444||5th in NL East||–||–||–||(Retired)|
Bodley, Hal (October 27, 2003). "Reality of title beats McKeon's wildest dreams". USA Today. p. 4C.
McKeon grew up in Perth Amboy, N.J. As a youngster he made repeated trips to Yankee Stadium. 'I wanted to have my first World Series in Yankee Stadium,' he said. 'Win or lose, I wanted to play it in Yankee Stadium. What finer presence could I have than getting the opportunity to manage my first World Series team in Yankee Stadium.'
- Reusse, Patrick (October 18, 2003). "McKeon, young Marlins work magic".
- "Jack McKeon". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2015-05-10.
- Nobles, Charlie (May 12, 2003). "BASEBALL: McKeon Replaces Torborg".
- Marcin, Joe; Byers, Dick, eds. (1977). Official 1977 Baseball Register. St. Louis, Missouri: The Sporting News.
- "1964 Atlanta Crackers Statistics - Minor Leagues". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- Johnson, Lloyd; Wolff, Miles, eds. (1997). The Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball (2nd ed.). Durham, N.C.: Baseball America.
- "Royals fire McKeon, hire Herzog". Spartanburg Herald (South Carolina). Associated Press. July 25, 1975. p. D1.
- "Royals fire McKeon, hire Angles' Herzog". Milwaukee Sentinel. UPI. July 25, 1975. p. 1, part 2.
- "Winkles takes over as Oakland skipper; McKeon gets axe". The Gadsden Times. June 11, 1977. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- Schoenfield, David (May 6, 2014). "The strange saga of the 1978 Oakland A's". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2015-05-31.
- Durso, Joseph (December 7, 1988). "BASEBALL'S LEADING MATCHMAKER: For Jack McKeon, Engineering Trades is Hardly a Big Deal".
- Nicholson, Ben (2011-09-26). "Jack McKeon To Retire : MLB Rumors". MLBTradeRumors.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "The Real McCoy". www.daytondailynews.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "A Career Sustained by Unwavering Faith".
- Beattie, Trent (2012-10-02). "Oldest Manager to Win World Series Still Enjoys Kid's Game | Daily News". NCRegister.com. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- "Fulton County Baseball and Sports Hall of Fame". Emerydesigns.net. 1930-11-23. Retrieved 2012-10-13.
- Jack McKeon managerial career statistics at Baseball-Reference.com