(not the Steve Fisher of baseball, but the Brewers skipper for at least 12 games)
Famously cited (incorrectly) by John Kerry as the Massachusetts pol’s favorite Red Sox player, Ned Yost was relieved of his duties as Milwaukee manager today, despite the Brewers being tied for the NL Wild Card. A once imposing 5 1/2 game advantage over the Phillies has disappeared, with the Brew Crue dropping 11 of their last 14 games, and ESPN.com’s Rob Neyer has trouble finding any precedent for this sort of late move, and though Phil Esposito firing Tom Webster comes to mind.
In 1981, the Royals fired manager Jim Frey on Aug. 31. Frey had led the Royals to the World Series in 1980, but in ’81 they were 20-30 when the strike began in June. The season resumed in early August, with the season now split into halves. Little more than a week later, general manager Joe Burke went looking for a new manager. He found Dick Howser, who took over from Frey with the Royals 10-10 in the second half and a half-game out of first place in the second-half standings. Under Howser, the Royals went 20-13 the rest of the way to qualify for the divisional playoffs (and were swept by the A’s).
If you’re looking for a similar situation, I suppose Frey’s is the closest. Like Yost’s Brewers, Frey’s Royals were in the running for a playoff spot. Like the Brewers, the Royals were regarded as under-performers. And like Yost, Frey was fired late in the season.
Not this late, though. The Brewers are trying something that’s never been tried before.