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Red Sox managerial candidate profile: Tony Pena

10.15.12 at 2:00 pm ET
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Yankees bench coach Tony Pena (right) is interviewing with the Red Sox about their managerial vacancy on Monday. (AP)

With the Red Sox conducting first-round interviews to fill the managerial vacancy created by the firing of Bobby Valentine after the season, WEEI.com will offer a profile of each candidate who takes part of the process. Other candidates reviewed: Tim Wallach.

Candidate: Tony Pena

Age: 55

Current position: Yankees bench coach

Interview date: Oct. 15

Prior managerial experience:

  • 2002-05 Royals (198-285)
  • 1999-2001 Triple-A New Orleans (Astros), 205-216
  • 1998 Arizona Fall League White Sox, 20-34

Additional coaching experience:

  • 2009-12: Yankees bench coach
  • 2006-08: Yankees first-base/catching coach
  • 2002: Astros bench coach (until hired to manager Royals in mid-May)

Playing career:

  • 18 seasons (1980-97) — Pirates (7 years), Cardinals (3 years), Red Sox (4 years), Indians (3 years), White Sox (part of 1 year), Astros (part of 1 year)
  • Five-time All-Star
  • Four-time Gold Glove winner at catcher
  • 1,988 games: .260/.309/.364/.673, 107 HR, 708 RBI, 84 OPS+

Noteworthy:

  • AL Manager of the Year, 2003, when in his first full season, he led the Royals to an 84-78 record
  • Resigned abruptly in 2005, when the Royals sank to 8-25 after going 54-108 in 2004
  • Managed the Royals under then-GM Allard Baird, who is now Red Sox VP of player personnel and is part of the managerial search committee
  • Interviewed for Yankees managerial opening in 2007, Nationals managerial opening in 2006
  • Has two sons in pro baseball

Quotes:

  • Pena described his managerial style to the New York Daily News in 2003 as “winging it”:”You want to know how I manage?” he asked. “You know what a ‘scramble’ is in golf? That’s me. I play my best-ball every day!”
  • Pena to reporters after resigning after a loss in May 2005: “It’s tough to go to the ballpark and lose game after game. I haven’t been eating. I haven’t been sleeping. I don’t want to get sick.”
  • Nationals special assistant to the GM Bob Schaefer, who was Pena’s bench coach in Kansas City, to WEEI.com on how Pena changed the culture of losing in Kansas City at the start of the 2003 season: “I remember his first speech was, ‘You’re better than that pitcher. You’re better than that catcher. You’re better than this guy.’ He went around the team and told guys how good they were compared to the teams we had to play. It was one of the best speeches I ever heard. We jumped off real quick and were in the race all year, till the last week or 10 days, when we lost because of pitching. He created that atmosphere.”
  • Schaefer to WEEI.com on Pena’s decision to resign and whether he is ready for a managing job now: “Tony was such a competitor. He didn’t quit on anybody. He just decided it was time for someone else to take the team. He did everything he could possibly do to help us win, from the ground floor up, as far as creating positive vibes. But he was very frustrated, and the thing about Tony was that he took it very personal. Every time we lost, he thought it was his fault. It wasn’t — we had no pitching. When you’ve got no pitching, you’ve got no chance.”Tony took it very personal. I think he learned a lot of things. Then, going to the Yankees and working under both Joes [Joe Torre and Joe Girardi], I’m sure he learned a lot. I would hope he gets another chance — if not in Boston, then somewhere, and I think he’s ready to do it again. At one point, I don’t think he was.”
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