Gabe Kapler

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Gabriel Stefan Kapler

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Biographical Information[edit]

An impressive player in the minors, Gabe Kapler topped 40 doubles a year from 1996-1998, hitting between 19 and 28 homers each season; unusual power for a 20-22 year old. In 1996, he led the Hawaii Winter League with 7 homers. He hit .247 and slugged .462 for the West Oahu CaneFires. In 1998 he was named Minor League Player of the Year by the The Sporting News after batting .322 with a .583 slugging in the Southern League. He scored 113 times, hit 47 doubles, drove in 146 and homered 28 times that year. That year he set the SL record for RBI, breaking the 1986 record of 132 set by Terry Steinbach. He also set league records with 81 extra-base hits and 319 total bases and broke the old double record of 44 - he shared the new two-bagger record with Robert Fick, who also hit 47 that season.

In 2000 Kapler hit .302/.360/.473 and appeared on the verge of becoming a star center fielder. His production slipped the next year then continued to drop off at the ages when many players peak.

After being a backup OF for the World Series champion 2004 Boston Red Sox, Kapler signed with the Yomiuri Giants. He was a total bust, hitting just .153/.261/.217 and was sent down to the minors, then released. He returned to the Red Sox and hit .247/.282/.351 but suffered a ruptured left Achilles tendon on September 14, 2005 and missed the remainder of the season.

Returning to the Red Sox in 2006, Gabe bounced back with a .254/.340/.354 line in 72 games, primarily off the bench, and also played 7 games in the minors on rehab stints.

Gabe's career batting line was .270/.331/.418 and he stole 68 in 94 tries. His career OPS+ was 90, a disappointment given his minor league dominance.

Kapler retired after the 2006 season and was hired as the manager of the Greenville Drive. After one year as a manager, Kapler voiced his intention of making a comeback as a player; he fulfilled this intention by signing a one-year contract for 2008 with the Milwaukee Brewers and making the team in spring training. He later played for the Tampa Bay Rays and retired for good after the 2010 season.

In November of 2014, he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as Director of player development. On October 30, 2017 he was named manager of the Philadelphia Phillies for the 2018 season, succeeding Pete Mackanin. His only managerial experience at the time he was hired was the one-year interlude he had taken back in 2007 before returning to the playing field.

In his first game as a major league manager on March 29th, he was heavily criticized for his decision to pull his starting pitcher Aaron Nola after 5 1/3 innings and just 68 pitches, with a 5-0 lead over the Atlanta Braves. The move blew up in his face as the Phils ended up losing the game, 8-5. Two days later, on March 31st, he attempted to make a pitching change in the 3rd inning against the Braves, even though the reliever he wanted to bring in, Hoby Milner, had barely begin warming up in the Phils' bullpen. He attempted to stall to give his pitcher more time, but umpire Jerry Layne simply reduced the number of warm-up pitches Milner was allowed to take from 8 to 5. Even that was not enough for Braves manager Brian Snitker, who argued Milner should have been docked all of his warm-up tosses; Layne disagreed and ejected him. The Phillies lost that game, 15-2. He was criticized for his penchant to overwork his bullpen, as he used 21 relievers - including back-up infielder Pedro Florimon - over his first three games, asking them to log 28 innings, a pace that was clearly unsustainable. He quickly got to appreciate that Philly's reputation for having unforgiving fans was not exaggerated, as he was booed before the team's home opener on April 5th. But things soon got better after that rough start and the Phils finished April with a winning record, something not seen for a number of years.

The two seasons during which Kapler was the Phillies' manager were similar. Things started off well and the team was in contention, as had been expected, but then they stalled at some point and let others like the Atlanta Braves and the Washington Nationals pull out ahead of thenm, finishing around .500 and well out of the postseason picture. This was particularly painful in 2019 given the team had splurged in the off-season, signing Bryce Harper and trading for J.T. Realmuto among other moves that indicated a willingness by top-level management to pull out all the stops to be competitive. Kapler paid the price after the season, being dismissed on October 10th. Barely one month later he was hired to replace the retiring Bruce Bochy as manager of the San Francisco Giants in 2020.

His first season at the helm of the Giants was shortened to 60 games by the Coronavirus pandemic, but the team played better than expected, barely missing the expanded playoffs, although not too many persons took notice due to the fact they were still below .500. But in 2021, everything clicked. The Giants got off to a very strong start and kept it going all summer, always staying barely ahead of the heavily favored Los Angeles Dodgers and blowing away the consensus pick to finish second, the San Diego Padres. In the end, the Giants won a franchise record 107 games and finished one game ahead of the Dodgers. Of course, as the postseason format would have it, the two teams met in the Division Series, and it was an aptly close five-game affair which went down to the final inning of the final game, but the Dodgers came out on top. Still, Kapler was rewarded for his excellent work by winning the National League Manager of the Year Award.

On May 27, 2022, he announced that he would no longer be coming out and standing at attention for the playing of the National Anthem before games, because he was distressed about the state of the country in the wake of the tragic shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, TX two days earlier that had cost 21 victimes their lives, including 19 schoolchildren. He added that he would not resume participating in the pre-game ceremonies "until I feel better about the direction of our country," he explained.

Miscellany[edit]

  • During the final game at Tiger Stadium, Kapler wore no uniform number; this was in tribute to the first teams who played in the ballpark, before the introduction of numbers.
  • While not religious, Kapler has spoken of his intention to be a positive role model for Jewish youth.

Notable Achievements[edit]


Preceded by
Pete Mackanin
Philadelphia Phillies Manager
2018-2019
Succeeded by
Joe Girardi
Preceded by
Bruce Bochy
San Francisco Giants Manager
2020-
Succeeded by
current

Year-By-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2007 Greenville Drive South Atlantic League 58-81 14th Boston Red Sox
2018 Philadelphia Phillies National League 80-82 3rd Philadelphia Phillies
2019 Philadelphia Phillies National League 81-81 4th Philadelphia Phillies
2020 San Francisco Giants National League 29-31 3rd San Francisco Giants
2021 San Francisco Giants National League 107-55 1st San Francisco Giants Lost NLDS
2022 San Francisco Giants National League San Francisco Giants

Further Reading[edit]

  • Sarah Al-Arshani (Insider): "San Francisco Giants Manager says he won't stand on the field for the national anthem until he 'feels better about the direction of the country' after Texas school shooting", Yahoo! News, May 28, 2022. [1]
  • Anthony Castrovince: "SF's Kapler, Rays' Cash named top managers", mlb.com, November 16, 2021. [2]
  • Steve Gardner: "San Francisco Giants name ex-Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler as new skipper", USA Today, November 12, 2019. [3]
  • Maria Guardado: "Kapler lays out grand plans as new SF skipper", mlb.com, November 13, 2019. [4]
  • Paul Hagen: "Kapler's personality one of authenticity, intensity", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [5]
  • Will Leitch: "Let's give Gabe Kapler a chance, please", mlb.com April 2, 2018. [6]
  • Mike Lupica: "Kapler tunes out early noise, has Phils in hunt", mlb.com, July 9, 2018. [7]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Gabe Kapler was nearly run out of Philly before managing a game there. Here's how he survived.", USA Today Sports, May 2, 2018. [8]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Will the Phillies fire manager Gabe Kapler if they don't make the playoffs?", USA Today, August 7, 2019. [9]
  • Bob Nightengale: "With Gabe Kapler out, who's up next for Phillies?", USA Today, October 10, 2019. [With Gabe Kapler out, who's up next for Phillies?]
  • Heather Tucker: "Phillies hire ex-major-leaguer Gabe Kapler as manager", USA Today Sports, October 30, 2017. [10]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Kapler to bring unmatched preparation to Phils: Klentak, Phillies introduce former Dodgers director of player development as new skipper", mlb.com, November 2, 2017. [11]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Phils emboldened by Kapler's spring message: New manager presiding over unique camp with mantras of 'Be Bold,' 'Value at the Margins'", mlb.com, February 19, 2018. [12]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Kapler: Phillies fans have a right to be upset: After losses in Atlanta, steps are being taken to manage 'pen effectively", mlb.com, April 2, 2018. [13]
  • Todd Zolecki: "Phillies part ways with manager Gabe Kapler: Showalter presumed front-runner for job; familiar names may interview", mlb.com, October 10, 2019. [14]

Related Sites[edit]