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Managing in the Bigs

By Lance Tominaga, ESPN Honolulu Web Editor.

The Hawaii Islanders were a fixture in the local baseball community for 27 years – from 1961 through 1987. As a Triple-A farm team in the Pacific Coast League, the franchise helped launch the major league careers of several big-time players, including Barry Bonds and Tony Gwynn. The history of the Islanders, however, extends beyond the players. Six former Islanders went on to lead major league teams, and two earned World Series rings.

♦ BILL ADAIR. A former minor league second baseman, Adair spent 21 years as a manager in the minors. He got just a taste of “The Show” In September of 1970, when he was named interim manager for the Chicago White Sox. Adair managed the struggling team for 10 games – he went 4-10 – before being replaced by Chuck Tanner. [Managed the Islanders In 1968, leading them to a third-place finish in their division.]

♦ ROY HARTSFIELD. In 1977, Hartsfield was hired as the first manager of the expansion Toronto Blue Jays. He would lead the team for three seasons. The Blue Jays finished last in their division for all three years, and Hartsfield was let go. His 166-318 (.343) overall record is the worst managerial record in the post World War II era for managers with 200 or more games. [Managed the Islanders from 1973 to ’76, leading them to the only two PCL championships in team history.]

♦ TOM TREBELHORN. Trebelhorn was handed the managerial reins of the Milwaukee Brewers with just nine games remaining in the 1986 season. In 1987, in his first full season as a major league manager, he led the Brewers to an impressive third-place finish – a notable improvement over previous seasons – and earned “Manager of the Year” honors by both Baseball America and Sports Illustrated. In all, Trebelhorn managed Milwaukee for six seasons, then later served as the manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1994. [Managed the Islanders for the 1983 season, finishing with a 72-71 record and a third-Place finish.

♦ DOUG RADAR. The “Red Rooster” managed in the majors for seven seasons, including three-year stints with the Texas Rangers (compiling a 155-200 record) and California Angels (232-216). In between, he served as an interim manager for the Chicago White Sox for two games. Radar’s best year was 1989, when he managed the Angels to a 91-71 record and a third-Place finish in the American League West. [Managed the Islanders from 1980 through 1982, guiding the franchise to a pair of playoff appearances.]

♦ BOB LEMON. A Baseball Hall of Famer as a player, Lemon managed for eight seasons in the majors, twice winning American League “Manager of the Year” honors. In 1978, Lemon was named manager of the New York Yankees in the middle of the season (replacing Billy Martin, who resigned) and promptly led the team to the World Series championship. He became the first American League Manager to take over a team in mid-season and lead it to the World Series Title. [Managed the Islanders in 1964, guiding the team to a 60-98 record.]

♦ CHUCK TANNER. Tanner managed in the majors for 17 full seasons and parts of two others. His shining moment was the 1979 season, when he led the Pittsburgh Pirates to 98 wins and a World Series championship (beating the Baltimore Orioles in seven games). That team featured stars such as Willie Stargell, Dave Parker, Bert Blyleven and Bill Madlock. Oddly enough, that was the only season he took a team to the playoffs. [Managed the Islanders in 1969 and ’70, leading Hawaii to a first-place finish in his second season and taking them to the league finals.]

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