Cleveland Indians fans are looking forward to next season, feeling confident that Terry Francona will be their ultimate guide to multiple World Series wins.
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona may be the most applauded face in Cleveland—next to LeBron James. Indians fans are filled with excitement for the next few years ahead, feeling confident that Terry Francona will be their ultimate guide.
Francona was recently recognized for his second AL Manager of the Year Award last week. As expected, Francona stayed humble with a splash of humor when being congratulated and talked to.
Francona is a great manager. He built the Indians up year after year by making carefully plotted decisions about his lineups and rotations, preparing extensively for every single game. But Cleveland fans only celebrate his success starting in 2013.
It’s what happened before his joining the Indians that shaped him to be the best manager in baseball.
Yes, he holds two World Series wins from the Boston Red Sox. He is the only active manager in the AL Central with two AL Manager of the Year Awards, along with being one of only nine other AL managers to ever receive the award twice.
Those achievements helped, but they weren’t what made him the perfect fit for the Tribe. Francona’s struggles are what make him a true Indian.
First off, he has fought his share of uphill battles—something Cleveland knows a lot about. Francona’s first managerial experience was with the Philadelphia Phillies. It didn’t fare well—he stayed there from 1997 to 2000 only to gather a 285-363 record. In an interview published in the Telegram & Gazette of Worcester following the award ceremony, Francona opened up about his managerial past.
"“I didn’t know if I wanted to manage again,” Francona said Thursday of the Philly experience. “I knew why I was there. I knew we weren’t gonna be very good, but I think I learned a lot there, things that were important."
Second, he failed multiple times. Also something Cleveland knows about. He was fired twice as a team manager, once in 2000 and once in 2011. On top of that, the Indians were out to win in 2016. They missed the World Series title by one game, which Francona took to heart.
"“It’s hard to know what to think. You spend all your energy trying to win, and when you don’t, it hurts.”“It’s hard to know what to think. You spend all your energy trying to win, and when you don’t, it hurts.”"
Third, he stuck to his guns through everything, and continues to do so. He was a solid player, but not the best of the best in the ‘80’s. His career slash landed at .274/.300/.351, hitting 16 home runs in his ten seasons. Throughout his playing career, he stayed humble, he stayed positive, and he stayed realistic. When launching into his managerial career, it paid off immensely.
Francona has, and will move his team in the right directions because he himself has the Indians’ spirit.
"“I landed right where I wanted to,” Francona spoke of Cleveland. “It’s a healthy environment for me to work, so it has helped me in becoming a better person, and still the baseball is every bit as fun.”"
Here’s to continuing that fun for the next several years.