Editor's note: This was supposed to go up yesterday, but due to late editing, I did not get to it until late in the evening. Enjoy the work from our newest writer, Pedro FIgueroa! He will be covering historical notes about the Marlins along with a fan's perspective of the team. -MJ
Twenty-one years ago, on October 23, 1992, the then-Florida Marlins hired their first manager in team history when they signed Rene Lachemann. Lachemann was the choice over other managerial finalists, such as baseball lifers Bill Virdon and Jimy Williams. Lachemann was also a finalist for the vacant Texas Rangers managerial position, which was available after the very colorful Bobby Valentine was fired in-season by the then-Rangers managing partner, and future two-term U.S. President, George W. Bush (interim Manager Toby Harrah was not hired permanently). In the end, the Marlins were the ones that landed Lachemann.
Prior to Lachemann’s tenure with the Marlins, he had managed two rebuilding projects with the Seattle Mariners from parts of the strike-shortened season of 1981 to the beginning of 1983, and then with the Milwaukee Brewers for the 1984 season. He also had strong relationships and mentoring experiences with highly regarded baseball minds Tony LaRussa and Dave Duncan. Additionally, he is the brother of the highly respected Marcel Lachemann. With his managerial history, his ties, and his coaching experiences, the Marlins choice was certainly understandable for selecting Lachemann as the dugout leader for their expansion team.
Lachemann would manage the Marlins from the inaugural season until nearly halfway into the 1996 season before being replaced by Marlins' company man, John Boles. While Lachemann’s time with the Marlins never resulted in a winner, he helped pave the way for the Marlins to progress and eventually develop into a contender and World Series Champion. Each full year under Lachemann, the Marlins winning percentage increased. In 1996, while not completing the season, his leadership still put the Marlins in position to continue that trend.
Finally, with the growth that his players and the team that was displayed under Lachemann, the Marlins felt comfortable being a big player for free agents during the 1996-1997 offseason. As we all know, that led to the Marlins winning the World Series in 1997. While Lachemann was not there for the finish, he did start the process.
While Lachemann may not be one of the highly-regarded managers in Marlins history, his efforts cannot be forgotten, especially when compared to other managers of other expansion teams. And his time with the Marlins should be remembered – not just for being the Marlins’ first manager, but how he played a role in helping the Marlins grow from being an expansion team to a champion in a short time.