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Two-Time World Series Manager Could Manage Again Soon

After ending a 23-year managerial career that began in Philadelphia, Terry Francona might end his hiatus after all. According to ESPN’s Tim Kurkijan, he speculated a possible comeback for Francona when he appeared on The Ken Carman Show with Anthony Lima.

“Was told Tito is going to get healthy and then he’ll be back [managing] in a year and a half, Kurkijan said. “He loves the game, part of his five in every way, would not be shocked to see him back.”

It comes as a surprise, considering Francona was battling issues. But now it seems he’s getting healthier as the 65-year-old achieved multiple milestones during his tenure. Francona announced in early October that he was stepping down as manager of the Cleveland Guardians.

Terry Francona Eyes Return to Managing in a Year

Over the final month of the 2023 season, Francona hinted at retirement. When he stepped down as Guardians manager, he didn’t use “retired.”

“I never was real concerned about the word ‘retire’ because I guess when you say ‘retire’, it’s like you’re going home and not doing anything,” Francona said. “I know I need to go home and get healthy and see what I miss about our game. And then maybe after some time, see the best way to maybe quench the appetite, whatever it is.

Francona’s dealt with medical issues over the last few years. He was sidelined for 46 of the 60 games in the shortened 2020 season due to stomach and blood clot issues. In 2021, he missed 63 games for hip replacement surgery and a procedure on his staph-infected toe.

Fracona’s Managerial Career

Francona began managing in 1997 with the Philadelphia Phillies. At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest manager in MLB at 37. He went 285-373 in four seasons with the Phillies before taking on a special assistant to baseball operations role in Cleveland with Mark Shapiro in 2001. Then he served as a bench coach for the Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics in 2002 and 2003 respectively. In 2004, Francona was hired as the manager of the Boston Red Sox.

When he moved to Boston, he ended the Curse of the Bambino, leading the Red Sox to their first World Series championship since 1918. Three years later, he added another World Series title with the Red Sox and made five playoff appearances with the club. When Francona moved on to manage Cleveland in 2013, leading the club to 92 wins, 24 more than it had the year prior. It marked the largest year-to-year improvement Cleveland had ever seen as Francona won his first of three Manager of the Year Awards .

His second came in 2016 when the Guardians fell short in Game 7 of the World Series. In 2022, he earned his third honor when baseball’s youngest roster made the postseason. Francona served as the longest-tenured manager in Cleveland history and his 921 wins are the most of any manager in franchise history.

Could He Manager Cleveland Again?

At his presser last fall, Francona hinted that Cleveland would be his destination if he returned to baseball.

“I don’t foresee managing again. If I was going to manage, I like doing it here. But I also don’t want to just turn away from the game,” said Francona to the Associated Press.

That right there indicates Kurkijan’s rumor that might be on to something.

Main Photo: © Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports


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