It is no secret that the Mariners were going to look at the current A’s bench coach to fill their open managerial position this winter. Hale interviewed for the position back in 2008 when it was eventually given to Don Wakamatsu.
As Greg Johns of MLB.com writes:
Zduriencik will be having initial talks with a number of people in Phoenix this week, some serious candidates and some just for background purposes as the hiring process heats up. Zduriencik is expected to talk to some internal candidates in the Mariners organization as well.
Hale has spent the past two seasons as former M’s manager and current A’s manager Bob Melvin‘s bench coach. Before that, Hale spent six seasons as a minor league manager in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization.
Most notably, as the manager of the Triple-A Tuscon Sidewinders in 2006, Hale led the team to a franchise-record 91 wins, won Pacific Coast League manager of the year and was promoted to the Diamondbacks as their new 3rd-base coach.
As I am from the Pacific Northwest, my fondest memory of Hale has to be in his playing days. Hale was a 17-th round pick of the Minnesota Twins in 1987. He spent the majority of five seasons (1989-1993) as a member of the Portland Beavers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Twins at the time.
But one specific day, May 27, 1991, put Hale’s name in our hearts and minds here forever. It was his shot to deep right field at Portland’s Civic Stadium (now Jeld-Wen Field, home of the MLS Portland Timbers) where Rodney McCray ran right through the wall trying to catch the ball. If you have never seen the video, check it out below.
Fifteen years later, in 2006, the Beavers brought McCray to back to PGE Park (the name at the time) when Hale’s Sidewinders came to town to remember the moment. Fans that night got a bobblehead/bobblefence of McCray (mine seen at right).
I hope Hale gets the job. He’s a good guy, a good baseball strategist (from his sample size in the minors) and I think he may be the right fit for this team.
He is only the first to interview. So maybe we shouldn’t get ahead of ourselves.