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Gene Mauch

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Gene William Mauch
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[edit] Biographical Information

Gene Mauch played nine years in the majors, mostly as a second baseman, and then managed in the majors for 26 years.

Gene made his major league debut in the World War II year of 1944, as an 18-year old middle infielder, playing five games for the Brooklyn Dodgers. He then entered the military service in May, missing the rest of 1944 and all of 1945. After nine seasons as a journeyman middle infielder and three seasons as a player-manager in the minor leagues, Gene Mauch went on to manage four major league clubs. His record in his short time in the minors was outstanding, as he won the American Association playoffs at the helm of the Minneapolis Millers in both 1958 and 1959.

1961toppsmauch.gif

In 1961, in his second year as a major-league skipper, he managed the Philadelphia Phillies to only 47 wins while losing, at one point, 23 games in a row. Yet, by the next season, 1962, they had a winning record - thanks in part to the addition of two expansion teams in the National League. In 1964, he led the Phillies to a second place finish, after leading the National League for most of the year only to see his team collapse in the last week of the season and be overtaken by the St. Louis Cardinals. He was widely criticized for shortening his pitching rotation during the last two weeks of that season, pitching Jim Bunning and Chris Short repeatedly on short rest as the Phillies lost ten consecutive games to fall out of first place. He also clashed with slugger Dick Allen during the following years as the Phillies sank into mediocrity, but he wouldn't be the only manager to have difficulty with the moody superstar. For all that, the Phillies had a winning record every season from 1962 to 1967 and were 28-27 when he was fired on June 16, 1968. They would rapidly tumble into the National League cellar after his departure.

Mauch was the first manager of the Montreal Expos, who lost 110 games in their inaugural season, 1969. Once again, he built from that very poor start, and in 1973, he had the team in the middle of a tight pennant race in the NL East until the last days of the season, a performance which won him the Manager of the Year Award. He was fired after the 1975 season, when the team's plans to build on pitching, speed and defense led the Expos back to a last-place tie with the Chicago Cubs. He was immediately hired by the Minnesota Twins, whom he got into another unlikely pennant race in 1977 until the Kansas City Royals managed to pull away with the Division title in September. In both Montreal and Minnesota, a lot of his success was based on his use of ace relief pitcher Mike Marshall who had some tremendous years for him. He was also known as an enthusiastic proponent of small-ball tactics, particularly the sacrifice bunt and the hit-and-run, and starting in the mid 1970s, the stolen base, in addition to his aggressive use of substitutions and relief pitchers. He was often accused of "over-managing", although one must admit that he also over-achieved with some teams that were not obviously destined for greatness.

Gene Mauch achieved his greatest success with the California Angels, however, winning division titles in 1982 and 1986. Team owner Gene Autry fired Mauch after the Angels lost the 1982 Championship Series to the Milwaukee Brewers after taking a 2-0 lead. Autry soon regretted his decision and hired Mauch back in time for the start of the 1985 season. In both 1982 and 1986, the team came within one win of the World Series. In the 1986 ALCS, he took some heat for the Angels' failure to put down the Boston Red Sox with a lead in the ninth inning of Game 6, although he did not make any obvious managerial blunders during that fateful game: he took out his starter Mike Witt when he showed signs of fatigue, and had his closer Donnie Moore on the mound for Dave Henderson's memorable two-strike, two-out, two-run game-tying home run. He then managed an aging Angels team to a sixth-place finish in 1987 and was slated to lead the Angels again in 1988 but retired in spring training because of health concerns, leaving the team scrambling to replace him with coach Cookie Rojas. He did continue to work in the Angels' front office for a number of years thereafter. He died of cancer on August 8th, 2005.

In 2004 he was elected to the Pacific Coast League Hall of Fame. He was the brother in-law of Roy Smalley Jr. and the uncle of Roy Smalley III, who played for him in Minnesota, and of Harry Mauch, a minor league outfielder in 1978 and 1980.

[edit] Notable Achievements


Preceded by
Eddie Sawyer
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
1960-1968
Succeeded by
Bob Skinner
Preceded by
First Manager
Montreal Expos Manager
1969-1975
Succeeded by
Karl Kuehl
Preceded by
Frank Quilici
Minnesota Twins Manager
1976-1980
Succeeded by
Johnny Goryl
Preceded by
Jim Fregosi
California Angels Manager
1981-1982
Succeeded by
John McNamara
Preceded by
John McNamara
California Angels Manager
1985-1987
Succeeded by
Cookie Rojas

[edit] Quotations

  • "Most one run games are lost, not won."

[edit] Year-by-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1953 Atlanta Crackers Southern Association 84-70 3rd Milwaukee Braves Lost in first round
1958 Minneapolis Millers American Association 82-71 3rd Boston Red Sox League Champs
1959 Minneapolis Millers American Association 95-65 2nd Boston Red Sox League Champs
1960 Philadelphia Phillies National League 58-94 8th Philadelphia Phillies replaced Eddie Sawyer (0-1) and Andy Cohen (1-0) on April 16
1961 Philadelphia Phillies National League 47-107 8th Philadelphia Phillies
1962 Philadelphia Phillies National League 81-80 7th Philadelphia Phillies
1963 Philadelphia Phillies National League 87-75 4th Philadelphia Phillies
1964 Philadelphia Phillies National League 92-70 2nd Philadelphia Phillies
1965 Philadelphia Phillies National League 85-76 6th Philadelphia Phillies
1966 Philadelphia Phillies National League 87-75 4th Philadelphia Phillies
1967 Philadelphia Phillies National League 82-80 5th Philadelphia Phillies
1968 Philadelphia Phillies National League 27-27 -- Philadelphia Phillies replaced by George Myatt on June 15
1969 Montreal Expos National League 52-110 6th Montreal Expos
1970 Montreal Expos National League 73-89 6th Montreal Expos
1971 Montreal Expos National League 71-90 5th Montreal Expos
1972 Montreal Expos National League 70-86 5th Montreal Expos
1973 Montreal Expos National League 79-83 4th Montreal Expos
1974 Montreal Expos National League 79-82 4th Montreal Expos
1975 Montreal Expos National League 75-87 5th (t) Montreal Expos
1976 Minnesota Twins American League 85-77 3rd Minnesota Twins
1977 Minnesota Twins American League 84-77 4th Minnesota Twins
1978 Minnesota Twins American League 73-89 4th Minnesota Twins
1979 Minnesota Twins American League 82-80 4th Minnesota Twins
1980 Minnesota Twins American League 54-71 -- Minnesota Twins replaced by Johnny Goryl
1981 California Angels American League 29-34 5th California Angels replaced Jim Fregosi (22-25) on May 28
1982 California Angels American League 93-69 1st California Angels Lost ALCS
1985 California Angels American League 90-72 2nd California Angels
1986 California Angels American League 92-70 1st California Angels Lost ALCS
1987 California Angels American League 75-87 7th California Angels

[edit] Further Reading

  • Gene Mauch (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, October 1971, pp. 58-60.
  • Bryan Soderholm-Difatte: "Beyond Bunning and Short Rest: An Analysis of Managerial Decisions That Led to the Phillies' Epic Collapse of 1964", The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Vol. 39, Number 2 (Fall 2010), pp. 25-36.

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