Jack McKeon is a baseball lifer. The former catcher began playing professionally way back in 1949 and he remains in the game to this day as a special advisor with the Washington Nationals.
In between, McKeon managed five Major League Baseball teams and had a winning record with four of them. His only postseason appearance came as the skipper of the Florida Marlins. He began his tenure on this day 20 years ago.
After a 16-22 start to the season, the Marlins parted ways with manager Jeff Torborg. On May 11, 2003, the club announced the 72-year-old McKeon as his replacement.
McKeon hadn’t managed in the big leagues since 2000 with the Cincinnati Reds, but proved up to the challenge. Things didn’t get off to the greatest start for McKeon as Florida fell 10 games below .500 in late May. By the early parts of July, however, the Marlins had a winning record.
Florida would go on to make the postseason for just the second time in franchise history in 2003, claiming the National League Wild Card. After taking down the San Francisco Giants in four games in the National League Division Series, Florida erased a 3-1 series deficit to beat the Chicago Cubs in seven games to win the National League pennant.
McKeon watched as the Marlins topped the New York Yankees in six games to win the club’s second World Series. At 72, McKeon became the oldest manager to win the World Series.
McKeon would spend three seasons with the Marlins before retiring again. At the age of 80, however, McKeon came out of retirement to manage Florida for the remainder of the 2011 season.
During his tenure with the Marlins, McKeon went 281-257 and won his lone World Series ring. He was first introduced as the team’s skipper on this day two decades ago.