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Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Two Managers, Two Different Directions

Texas Rangers manager and 1990 Oklahoma City 89er Ron Washington is set to manage in his first post season game Wednesday, attempting to get his Rangers their first post season series win in team history.

John Russell, Pirates manager and fellow 1990 Oklahoma City 89er, had less-lofty goals this year for a team that hadn't had a winning season in nearly 20 years. A 57-105 season met none of those goals, prompting Russell's termination Monday.

Washington and Russell were, by my count, among four major league managers at the start of the year that appeared in the 1990 CMC set. Now, there is only one: Washington. Trey Hillman was let go earlier this year and the Mariners fired the other one in August, Don Wakamatsu.

Washington was the first one of the four to be featured here. The randomizer selected him in March, amid the revelations about cocaine use in 2009. But he survived those revelations and has now taken the Rangers to the playoffs for the first time since 1999. columnist Chuck Johnson examined Washington's quest for redemption.

"It couldn't have been easy for Washington to admit his wrong, face public scorn and to have his fate determined at the mercy of his employers," Johnson wrote. "But many of his players have come out to say they respect him even more for being upfront and not running from his mistake."

The randomizer, which sometimes has good timing, selected Russell as the Mariners let Wakamatsu go. Now Russell's been let go, unable to do much with a Pirates team that hadn't done much since long before Russell came.

"I wish them the best of luck, and hopefully I'm in the opposing dugout someday, and we can go to battle that way," Russell told Sirius/XM after being let go. "It's time for me to move on, and I look forward to the next step."

But Washington might not remain the only CMC set member in the current major league managing ranks for long. Set member and former Indians manager Eric Wedge has been mentioned prominently for the Cubs' opening and for Russell's old job.

161 - John Russell, Big Enough Thrill, 8/9/10
165 - Ron Washington, Different Adversity, 3/21/10

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