That’s Jack McKeon in the picture above. Despite the appearance of agony on his face and the wild flailing of his arms, he is not suffering a massive coronary. He’s merely looking a little aged. Well, that was in 1989. Twenty two years later, all indications are that the 80 year old man will be named the new manager of the Florida Marlins.
Personally, I wouldn’t trust an 80 year old to properly scratch a lottery ticket, let alone take charge of 25 young men.
And yet, McKeon is exactly the man that Marlins manager, and baseball super villain, Jeffrey Loria, wanted after Edwin Rodriguez announced his resignation on Sunday morning after leading the Marlins through a recent 1-17 streak. Then, later last night, ESPN’s Buster Olney announced that Loria got his man.
McKeon will be Major League Baseball’s oldest manager since 1950, when Connie Mack at the age of 87, managed the Philadelphia Athletics. To put things in perspective for a current manager to have had as long of a career as Connie Mack, he would’ve had to have started managing in 1958.
All jokes aside, Jon Paul Morosi brings up an excellent point about McKeon’s track record for turning around a season:
In fact, McKeon’s past four managerial jobs began in the middle of a season. In the past three instances – ’88 Padres, ’97 Reds, and ’03 Marlins – he had a combined winning percentage of .579 as a “relief” manager. He’s the baseball version of a turnaround expert. That matters here, even if the Marlins need more of a shaman.
Now that we’ve put the jokes aside, we can bring them back guilt free and suggest that McKeon’s hire is merely a ploy to appeal to Florida’s key demographic. Or, we can look at the following list of facts:
- My nana is nine years younger than McKeon.
- McKeon is older than Whitey Herzog and Sparky Anderson, and only five months younger than Earl Weaver.
- Not a single member of the Marlins active roster was alive when McKeon began his managerial career with the Kansas City Royals in 1973.
But perhaps most impressive is that a 12 year old MC Hammer had something to do with McKeon getting fired from the Oakland A’s in 1978. No, for realious.