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Jim Tracy

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James Edwin Tracy

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[edit] Biographical Information

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Jim Tracy played briefly for the Chicago Cubs and was the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He was most recently the manager of the Colorado Rockies.

Tracy had originally planned a career in football and was going to go to Xavier University on a football scholarship, but Xavier dropped their football program that year. Kent Tekulve's father was a friend of the family and encouraged Tracy to go to Marietta College, where Kent had gone. In 1975, Jim hit .325 and Marietta finished second in the small College World Series. he batted .411 as a sophomore in 1976.

His first big season in the minor leagues was 1979 when he hit .355 for the Midland Cubs, giving him the top batting average in the Texas League, edging Jesus Alfaro and Player of the Year Mark Brouhard. The next season, 1980, Tracy was with the Wichita Aeros and hit .320/~.418/.510 as an OF/1B; he got his first big-league action that season as well, posting a 97 OPS+ for the Chicago Cubs. Tracy barely played in 1981, spending a lot of time on the Chicago bench in a season that was shortened by the 1981 strike.

In 1982 Jim had a bounce-back season with the Tucson Toros in which he batted .318 with 12 homers and 100 RBI. By Pacific Coast League standards of the era, it wasn't worthy of a return to the majors, though Tracy did finish fourth in the PCL in RBI. The next season, 1983 he signed with the Taiyo Whales of Nippon Pro Baseball and hit .303/.348/.495 with 19 homers as the Taiyo RF. A year later, in 1984 he ran into conflict with manager Junzo Sekine after he was moved from third to sixth in the lineup due to his lack of power. Tracy quit the team, making him one of three gaijin to abandon their clubs that season, drawing a lot of irate responses from Japanese fans who couldn't stand the players walking out on their contracts.

Tracy played with the Iowa Cubs and Toros that year but did not make it back to the majors. In 1987 he was hired as the manager of the Peoria Chiefs and went 141-139 in two seasons in the Midwest League. He then joined the Cincinnati Reds as the head of the Chattanooga Lookouts and did even worse, going just 196-231. In 1992, Tracy was the Reds' Minor League Field Coordinator.

In 1993 Jim moved to the Harrisburg Senators and led the club to a dazzling 94-44 record, a 19-game lead over the #2 team in the Eastern League. Tracy was named Manager of the Year by the EL. Among the players Tracy had at his disposal were Rondell White, Cliff Floyd, Glenn Murray, Shane Andrews, Tyrone Woods, Kirk Rueter, Gabe White, Ugueth Urbina, Yorkis Perez, Joey Eischen and Miguel Batista.

Promoted to AAA the next season, Tracy's Ottawa Lynx were just 70-72 despite having many of the same players. He then was a bench coach for the Montreal Expos for four years (1995 to 1998) and two years with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1999 and 2000).

In 2001, Tracy replaced Davey Johnson as the Dodger manager and the club posted the exact same record as the year before. Given a talented group of players (Shawn Green, Hideo Nomo, Kevin Brown and Adrian Beltre) to work with, LA generally did well under Tracy, winning the division in 2004. When the talent level dropped a bit in 2005 (though the team still had Jeff Kent, Derek Lowe, Milton Bradley and J.D. Drew) Tracy's club finished a miserable 71-91 and he was promptly fired.

A week later he was named skipper of the Pittsburgh Pirates to replace Lloyd McClendon. He immediately began to demand fewer strikeouts and "veteran" players, so GM Dave Littlefield replaced prospects like Brad Eldred and the team's second-best hitter Craig Wilson with Sean Casey and Jeromy Burnitz; many Pirates fans criticized the moves. Tracy led the 2006 Pirates to a 67-95 finish, the exact same as they had done a year earlier. His son Chad S. Tracy debuted in the minors that year and his son Brian Tracy debuted the next year. A third son, Mark Tracy, was drafted in 2009. In the 2007 off-season, his father, Jim Tracy Sr. passed away.

In 2007, Tracy and the Pirates went 68-94, only a one-game improvement over 2006. On October 5, 2007, he was fired by new general manager Neal Huntington, along with his entire coaching staff, and three senior members of the front office. This came four weeks after the Pirates had dismissed General Manager Dave Littlefield. The Pittsburgh media criticized Tracy for a seeming refusal to take responsibility when things went wrong with the team, while taking credit whenever they went well. He was also criticized for his loose clubhouse environment and his tendency to try to remake the players to be more like those of his 2004 Dodgers, such as asking Chris Duffy to hit more grounders like Dave Roberts or asking Jack Wilson to hit like Cesar Izturis.

In 2009, Tracy started the season as the bench coach for the Colorado Rockies. On May 29th, he was named manager, replacing Clint Hurdle who was fired after a 18-28 start. The team made a spectacular turn-around after Tracy took over, going 74-42 the rest of the way to earn a berth in the 2009 Postseason as the National League wild card. Although the Rockies lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in four games in the NLDS, Tracy received the National League Manager of the Year Award for his work. He stayed on to manage the Rockies through the 2012 season, although his teams were increasingly less successful, staying in the race for most of 2010 before finishing in third place, but then dropping back ever further in the standings the next two years. His last season was particularly difficult, as the Rockies lost 97 games to finish last in the NL West in a season marked by a slew of injuries and a dramatic change to the team's philosophy for managing the pitching staff. Tracy was told to limit his starting pitchers to 75 pitches, before a group of middle relievers took over. The move did not seem to pay much dividends, but upper management was resolved to have it continue the following season. Tracy thus handed in his resignation on October 7th, stating it was better for the Rockies to hire a manager who was more on board with the top brass's program.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • NL Manager of the Year Award (2009)
  • Division Titles: 1 (2004)
  • Other Postseason Appearances: 1 (2009 Wild Card)


Preceded by
Davey Johnson
Los Angeles Dodgers Manager
2001-2005
Succeeded by
Grady Little
Preceded by
Pete Mackanin
Pittsburgh Pirates Manager
2006-2007
Succeeded by
John Russell
Preceded by
Clint Hurdle
Colorado Rockies Manager
2009-2012
Succeeded by
Walt Weiss

[edit] Year-By-Year Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
1987 Peoria Chiefs Midwest League 71-69 2nd Chicago Cubs
1988 Peoria Chiefs Midwest League 70-70 6th/3rd Chicago Cubs
1989 Chattanooga Lookouts Southern League 58-81 4th/5th Cincinnati Reds
1990 Chattanooga Lookouts Southern League 66-78 8th Cincinnati Reds
1991 Chattanooga Lookouts Southern League 73-71 6th Cincinnati Reds
1993 Harrisburg Senators Eastern League 94-44 1st Montreal Expos League Champs Sporting News Minor League Manager of the Year
1994 Ottawa Lynx International League 70-72 3rd Montreal Expos
2001 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 86-76 3rd Los Angeles Dodgers
2002 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 92-70 3rd Los Angeles Dodgers
2003 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 85-77 2nd Los Angeles Dodgers
2004 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 93-69 1st Los Angeles Dodgers Lost NLDS
2005 Los Angeles Dodgers National League 71-91 4th Los Angeles Dodgers
2006 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 67-95 5th Pittsburgh Pirates
2007 Pittsburgh Pirates National League 68-94 6th Pittsburgh Pirates
2009 Colorado Rockies National League 74-42 2nd Colorado Rockies Lost NLDS replaced Clint Hurdle (18-28) on May 29
2010 Colorado Rockies National League 83-79 3rd Colorado Rockies
2011 Colorado Rockies National League 73-89 4th Colorado Rockies
2012 Colorado Rockies National League 64-98 5th Colorado Rockies

[edit] Sources

Sources: www.MWLGuide.com, "You Gotta Have Wa" by Robert Whiting, www.japanbaseballdaily.com, Baseball Almanacs, Pat Doyle's Professional Baseball Player Database, "Pirates' Tracy had fond memories of Marietta College" by Ron Johnston in the Parkersburg (WV) News and Sentinel.

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