The Detroit Tigers have named former big league catcher Brad Ausmus as their new manager. Ausmus succeeds Jim Leyland who stepped down last month as the team's skipper after losing to the Red Sox in the ALCS.
The 44-year old Connecticut native played 18 seasons in the majors. Ausmus made his big league debut with the San Diego Padres in 1993 and played the bulk of his career with the Houston Astros. But Ausmus had two stints with the Tigers - one during the second half of the 1996 season and then returned for two seasons beginning in 1999. In fact, Ausmus would make his only All-Star Game appearance as a Tiger during the '99 season. Ausmus would win three Gold Gloves for his defensive work behind the plate. He spent the final two seasons of his career with the Dodgers and retired following the 2010 season.
Ausmus has spent his post-playing career working in the front office of the Padres. His only previous managerial experience came during the World Baseball Classic when he was the skipper of Team Israel. However, like Mike Matheny of the St. Louis Cardinals, Ausmus was considered one of the most cerebral players in the game and often cited as a future manager. Well, the future is now.
Nevertheless, I am disappointed the Tigers didn't interview Tom Brookens. The Tigers third base coach has paid his dues and deserves a shot to manage the organization he has served nearly his entire baseball life. Aside from Ausmus, the Tigers interviewed hitting coach Lloyd McClendon (who previously managed the Pirates) and Dodgers third base coach Tim Wallach. Perhapss Wallach will get a shot with Seattle although it appears that former Mariner infielder Joey Cora is the favorite at the moment.
Still, given Matheny's success in St. Louis, I don't fault the Tigers for giving Ausmus the nod. Ausmus has also played against most of the Tigers current roster so that could help as well. Obviously, the Tigers respected Leyland, but I think they respect Ausmus in a more contemporary, on-the-field fashion.
Share this Article
Like this Article
Print this ArticlePrint Article