Terry Jon Francona (born April 22, 1959 in Aberdeen, South Dakota), nicknamed "Little Tito," is a Major League Baseball manager. Tito has been the manager of the Boston Red Sox, of the American League since 2004.
Francona grew up outside of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and got his start in baseball at New Brighton, Pennsylvania High School, where he excelled under the coaching of Greg "Faz" Fazio. His father is Tito Francona, who played in the majors from 1956 to 1970.
Francona was drafted out of the University of Arizona in the first round of the 1980 amateur draft by the Montreal Expos, using the 22nd overall selection. That season, his team won the College World Series and Francona was named the tournament's Most Outstanding Player. The left-hander wasted no time rising through the minor leagues, first appearing in a Montreal uniform August 19, 1981, a week after the end of that summer's player strike. He appeared mainly as an outfielder that first year (with Tim Raines playing mostly at 2nd base, and he went 4-for-12 in the National League Division Series against the Philadelphia Phillies, an extra playoff round utilized that year because the season was conducted in two halves as the result of the strike. The Expos won that series, three games to two.
As the seasons went on, Francona shifted to first base, where he ultimately played one hundred games more than he had in the outfield. He also developed a reputation as a contact hitter, with very few home runs, walks, or strikeouts.
The Expos released Francona after the 1985 season, during which his batting average had slipped to .267 after posting a .346 average in limited action in 1984. He went on to sign one-year contracts with the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, and Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers re-signed Francona for 1990, but he only played in three games for the Brewers that year, the last on April 19. In ten seasons and 708 games, he posted a .274 career average, with 16 homers and 143 RBI. He also made an appearance as a pitcher with Milwaukee on May 15, 1989, throwing 12 pitches and striking out one batter (Stan Javier) on three pitches.
Minor League coaching careerEdit
Francona then entered coaching, spending several years in the Chicago White Sox organization. In 1991, he managed the rookie league Sarasota White Sox of the Gulf Coast League. In 1992, he ran the South Bend White Sox of the mid-level Class A Midwest League. As manager of the AA franchise Birmingham Barons from 1993-1995, he posted a 223-203 record and won two distinctions: Southern League Manager of the Year in 1993, Baseball America's Minor League Manager of the Year in 1993, and top managerial candidate by Baseball America in 1994, the same year Michael Jordan played for Birmingham. Birmingham won the Southern League championship in 1993.
Major League coaching careerEdit
Francona became third-base coach for the Detroit Tigers in 1996, working under their new skipper, Buddy Bell, a former teammate of Francona on the Reds. After the season ended, he was hired as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies (with Michael Jordan's endorsement), who had won the NL pennant in 1993 but then experienced three consecutive losing seasons. In Francona's four seasons (1997 through 2000) as the Phils' skipper, the club never rose above third place in the National League East Division. His best finish with the Phillies was 77-85 in 1999. He was fired following the 2000 campaign, and spent the following season as a special assistant to the general manager with the Cleveland Indians (2001), which was followed by two one-year terms as a bench coach for the Texas Rangers (2002) and Oakland Athletics (2003).
Red Sox managerEdit
The Red Sox hired Francona to manage their club in 2004, after Grady Little's contract was not renewed as a result of the Red Sox loss of the 2003 American League Championship Series. His hiring was influenced by the Red Sox signing of Curt Schilling, who wanted to play for Terry Francona after they had been together with the Phillies.
Francona led the Red Sox to a 98-64 record in 2004, the second-best record in the American League behind the division-rival Yankees. Under Francona's leadership, the club gelled in the second half and was the hottest team in baseball after the All-Star break.
As the American League wild card, the Red Sox dispatched the AL West champion Anaheim Angels, three games to none, in the Division Series. In the 2004 American League Championship Series, the Red Sox fell behind the Yankees, three games to none, including a 19-8 loss in Game 3 at home in Fenway Park. However, under Francona's guidance, the club regained its composure and won the last four games of the series, the first time in Major League Baseball history that a team rallied from an 0-3 deficit to win a playoff series (and only the third team to even make it as far as Game 6). Francona's management of his bullpen staff in the four victories was generally regarded as outstanding. The Red Sox then swept the St. Louis Cardinals, four games to none, in the 2004 World Series, winning their first World Championship in 86 years (1918 under Ed Barrow).
During the 2005 season, Francona was hospitalized after complaining of severe chest pains. Tests revealed significantly clogged arteries, but it was concluded that Francona did not suffer a heart attack.
Three years later, the Sox won the American League East Division, finishing two games ahead of the New York Yankees. Under Francona's leadership, the Sox swept the Angels in the Division Series before dropping three of the first four games to the Cleveland Indians in the ALCS. The Sox, facing elimination, went on to win their next three games, defeating Cleveland to advance to the 2007 World Series, where they swept the Colorado Rockies in four games. Terry Francona is the only manager in Major League history to win his first eight consecutive World Series games and just the second manager to guide two Red Sox clubs to World Series titles, the other being Bill "Rough" Carrigan who led Boston to back-to-back championships in 1915 and 1916.
As of October 28, 2007, Francona's career regular-season managerial record is 660-636 (.509), while his post-season record is 22-9 (.710). Among managers who have managed at least 20 post-season games, he has the highest winning percentage. Francona is the first manager in MLB history to win his first 8 games in the World Series.
On February 24, 2007, the Red Sox announced that they had extended Francona's contract. Instead of expiring at the end of the 2008 season, it will expire after the 2011 season. The team also holds club options for 2012 and 2013. Francona is guaranteed a total of $12 million over the first three years of the contract between his salary and the $750,000 buyout he will receive if his 2012 and 2013 options are not exercised. The package, if the options are exercised, is worth about $20 million.
(updated on May 3, 2008)
|Won||Lost||Win %||Finish||Won||Lost||Win %||Result|
|Philadelphia Phillies||1997||68||94||.420||5th in NL East||-||-||-|
|1998||75||87||.463||3rd in NL East||-||-||-|
|1999||77||85||.475||3rd in NL East||-||-||-|
|2000||65||97||.401||5th in NL East||-||-||-|
|Boston Red Sox||2004||98||64||.605||2nd in AL East||11||3||.785||Won World Series|
|2005||95||67||.586||2nd in AL East||0||3||.000||Loss in ALDS|
|2006||86||76||.531||3rd in AL East||-||-||-|
|2007||96||66||.593||1st in AL East||11||3||.785||Won World Series|
|Philadelphia Philles Total||285||363||.440||-||-||-||0 Playoff Appearances|
|Boston Red Sox Total||394||286||.579||1 Division Championship|
1 Wild Card
|22||9||.710||2 World Series Championship|
|Total||679||649||.511||1 Division Championship||22||9||.710||2 World Series Championship|
Terry married Jacque Lang on January 9, 1982, and they have four children: son Nicholas, and daughters Alyssa, Leah, and Jamie. They now live in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts. The oldest of the four, Nick, currently attends and plays baseball for the University of Pennsylvania, while Alyssa currently attends and plays softball for the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
- ↑ Tito Francona Statistics - Baseball-Reference.com
- ↑ College World Series History (through 2007 CWS) :: <blank>
- ↑ Athletics Facts - Arizona Wildcats Official Site
- ↑ May 15, 1989 Milwaukee Brewers at Oakland Athletics Box Score and Play by Play - Baseball-Reference.com
- ↑ The Joy of Sox: Francona: Greatest Post-season Manager?
- ↑ The Official Site of The Boston Red Sox: News: Red Sox extend Francona's contract
- ↑ Updated info on Tito's deal - Extra Bases - Red Sox blog
- ↑ Boston.com / Sports / Baseball / Red Sox
- List of second generation MLB players
- Montreal Expos all-time roster
- List of Major League Baseball managers in 2006
- List of Major League Baseball managers in 2007
- List of Major League Baseball managers in 2008
- Baseball-Reference.com - career playing statistics
- Baseball-Reference.com - career managerial record
- Francona's tenure in Birmingham
- photos - at external site
|Philadelphia Phillies manager|
|Boston Red Sox manager|