Saturday, September 21, 2013

Senators Saturday - Mickey Vernon, 1963.

1963 was Mickey Vernon's third season of managing the Washington Senators. Vernon, shown here on card 402 of the 1963 Topps set, had been a popular player with the old Senators. It was hoped his popularity would help the new franchise at the gate. It didn't seem to.

Mickey had a more serious problem though. In spite of a dizzying array of trades and other roster moves, the team had not finished over .400 for the first two seasons of their existence. That was probably due mostly to the players on the roster but everyone knows it's easier to fire a manger than the players. Vernon needed to guide the team to some significant improvement in 1963 in order to keep his job.

That didn't happen. 40 games into the season, the Senators' record stood at 14-26. Clearly they were on course for another dismal season. That was it. Vernon was fired on May 22, 1963 and replaced by coach Eddie Yost.

Yost managed the team to one loss in his only game at the helm. On May 23, 1963 Washington traded Jim Piersall to the New York Mets for Gil Hodges. Hodges immediately took over as manager. That's got to be one of the most unusual ways of finding a replacement manager that I can recall.

For Mickey Vernon, his Major League managing career was over. In two plus seasons with Washington he compiled a 135-227 record. He would coach again in the Majors but not manage. Perhaps that was a relief for him.

1 comment:

Jim from Downingtown said...

After 1967, the Senators traded Hodges back to the Mets for pitcher Bill Denehy (who shares Tom Seaver's 1967 rookie card).