The Philadelphia Phillies filled their manager vacancy by hiring ex-New York Yankees skipper Joe Girardi. Girardi won three World Series titles with the Yankees as a catcher in the late 1990s. He later won a World Series as the manager of the Yankees in 2009.
The Yankees fired Girardi after they lost to the Houston Astros in the 2017 ALCS. After a two-year hiatus, Girardi returned to managing. He’s only 12 wins shy of 1,000 wins. Girardi should easily pass the 1K mark in his first month as manager of the Phillies.
Girardi graduated from Northwestern with an engineering degree. He played 15 seasons in the big leagues as a catcher. He started his career with the Chicago Cubs in 1989, and played with the Colorado Rockies, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and a second stint with the Cubs between 2000-02.
WHO IS JOE GIRARDI?
Hometown: Peoria, IL
Teams as Manager: Florida Marlins, NY Yankees
World Series Titles: 4 (3 as player, 1 as manager in 2009)
Girardi is best known as the starting catcher on the 1996 Yankees World Series team. His other claim to fame is that he caught Doc Gooden’s no-hitter in 1996.
In the ensuing years in the Bronx, Girardi mentored budding catching prospect Jorge Posada. Initially the two split time before Posada won the starting job outright.
As a player, Girardi won three World Series titles with the Yankees in 1996, 1998, and 1999.
Mets and Cubs Rumors, Girardi Lands in Philly
Girardi had several opportunities with multiple franchises, but it seemed like he would return to the National League to coach the New York Mets or the Chicago Cubs. When the NY Mets fired Mickey Callaway, Girardi was at the top of the list of candidates. He already had plenty of experience dealing with the voracious New York City tabloids and media, so it seemed like a natural fit.
The Illinois native was also mentioned as the potential next manager of the Chicago Cubs when the team moved on from Joe Maddon. He grew up a Cubs fan and played with the Cubbies on two occasions. The Cubs hired an ex-player, but they went with Dave Ross instead.
The manager job with the Phillies is sort of a surprise, considering Girardi didn’t have any previous ties with the organization. The Phillies also interviewed Buck Showalter and Dusty Baker.
“I’m excited for this next chapter of my career,” Girardi said in his statement. “The Phillies have a strong commitment to winning from the owners to the front office to the players to the fans. It’s something that I’ve seen up close for the last 30 years of my baseball career. To have my name now associated with this great franchise is something that I couldn’t be happier about.”
The good news for Girardi is that he doesn’t have to take over a team that’s in rebuilding mode. They were in the thick of the NL wild-card hunt through mid-September.
The Phillies had high expectations in 2019 with the addition of Bryce Harper, but only finished 81-81. The Phillies missed out on a wild-card spot while Harper’s ex-team, the Washington Nationals, currently holds a 2-0 edge over the Houston Astros in the World Series.
Girardi replaces Gabe Kapler, who finished 161-163 in two seasons as the Phillies manager. The Phillies haven’t finished a season with a winning record since 2011.
Short Stint with Marlins
The Florida Marlins gave Joe Girardi his managerial start in 2006. The horrible Marlins were in contention for a wild-card spot even though they finished 78-84. Girardi won the NL Manager of the Year even though the Marlins fielded the lowest payroll in the MLB.
Despite winning Manager of the Year, Girardi lasted only one season in South Florida. He had a well-publicized, in-game spat with team owner Jeffrey Loria, who wouldn’t stop heckling the home plate umpire. Loria took umbrage when Girardi told him to stop.
The firing ended up a good move because it made Girardi available the next season when Joe Torre and the Yankees parted ways at the end of 2007.
Winning Rings as Player and Manager
Girardi joined the Yankees as manager in 2008. He chose number 27 because he was trying to secure the franchise its 27th championship. The Yankees struggled and failed to qualify for the playoffs in Girardi’s first season as skipper in the Bronx.
In 2009, the Yanks would go on to win the World Series. That would be the last time the Yankees were world champions.
In 10 seasons in NY, Girardi amassed a 910-710 record with the Yankees. In the postseason, he went 28-24.
Girardi became the third ex-Yankees player to win a World Series title with the team as both a player and coach, joining Ralph Houk and Billy Martin. Houk won the World Series twice as a player (1947, 1952), and twice as a manager (1961, 1962). Billy Martin won four titles (1951, 1952, 1953, 1956) as a player at the height of the infamous Damn Yankees era. Martin won one World Series as a manager for the 1977 Yankees under George Steinbrenner.