On September 22nd 1959 Wally Backman was born in his hometown of Hillsboro Oregon. Since that day, Backman has been a fixture in baseball. Backman was a key member of the 1986 Mets team, a team as notorious for its trouble off the field as its excellence on the diamond. And with Mike Redmond currently on the hot seat, Backman has been linked to the Marlins. One thing is for sure, Backman brings great knowledge of the game and intensity.
Backman was first-round pick of the New York Mets in the 1977 MLB Draft. He breezed through the minors and eventually earned the Mets starting second base job in 1984. Wally Backman quickly became a fan favorite with his gritty play, but, also became known due to his brushes with the law. Wally was a firecracker, he would ignite any time. But when it came to his on the field performance, Wally was a gem. He batted over .300 in the 1986 World Series season, for instance.
Life after baseball is sometimes complicated, Backman decided to go into managing. In 2002, Backman led the Birmingham Barons (White Sox Double-A) to a 79 win season followed by a stint with the Lancaster Jethawks of the Arizona Diamondback organization in 2004, where he curated an 86 win season. After his quality managing job with the Jethawks, Backman was named "Minor League Manager Of The Year." In November of 2004, Backman was promoted to the Diamondbacks Major League team. His stay was short, though, as he declared bankruptcy, owing money to twenty creditors including the IRS. The Diamondback canned Wally Backman four days after promoting him.
The comeback trail was a long one for Wally as he tried to get back on his feet by managing the South Georgia Peanuts, an independent minor league team which was the subject of the documentary "Playing for Peanuts". The Peanuts won their league with a 59 win season. Backman returned to the Mets organization with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Soon he had clawed his way through the Mets system and has spent the last two seasons with the Las Vegas 51s.
So after his hard road and trials and tribulations, here we are with Wally Backman a strong potential candidate if the Marlins managerial job opens up. Backman can bring several positive things to the locker room including his passions, experience, and knowledge of the game. But he does come with his baggage his well-documented drug and alcohol problems and his tendency to be hot-headed. That could become a factor in almost any game; one bad call and Backman could be ejected at any time. But with recent comments about the team lacking fire and intensity, Wally Backman could be the man to bring a new energy and fire to the clubhouse.
No matter which way the Marlins decide to go, they have big decisions in the coming days and weeks about who will lead their young talent rich roster to the end of the season. FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal reported Backman is no longer being considered if Redmond was fired. But that can change quickly.