BOSTON John Farrell made his big league debut in 1987, an August call-up who appeared in 10 games, making nine starts, posting a record of 5-1 for the woeful Indians who went 61-101, finishing last in the seven-team American League East.
But, he came back the next year to pitch a full big league season, appearing in 31 games (30 starts), going 14-10. The Indians, though, were only marginally better, going 78-84, finishing sixth. Only the Orioles and their historically inept 0-21 start kept the Indians from last place in the AL East.
But, the impact of the 88 Indians would reverberate years later. Farrell pitched on a roster that would produce four other current major league managers: San Diegos Bud Black, Texas Ron Washington, Terry Francona, who is back with the Indians, and Philadelphias Charlie Manuel, who was the teams hitting coach then.
It was a unique time that so many guys were together, Farrell said. And our conversations were always not only about the game today but how would guys careers look like after playing. I think everybody wanted to stay in the game. I dont think you could say in 1988 I want to be a manager this year. We dont take that approach.
You dont sit there and map out your future. You're consumed by what you do today and if that creates opportunities for going forward, all the better. So that being said, thats where Tito and I first forged a relationship as teammates, as we did with other guys.
Farrell said he will draw on the influence of many people who have impacted his career, from his first professional season, to his time in player development, to his tenure with the Sox. He points to one of his first minor league managers as impacting his managerial approach.
Doc Edwards managed the Triple-A Maine Guides when Farrell made five starts for them in his first professional season. Edwards went on to manage the Indians when Farrell made his big league debut.
"He made me feel comfortable as a young pitcher, someone who was in somewhat awe of the big league environment and he put that at ease and that was important for a young player, Farrell said. I remember those conversations with him, his ability to just put his arm around you and make you feel like, hey, you know what, its going to be OK. And I've taken that approach with young players that I've had over the last two years.
There's no doubt standing next to Tito for four years here. Im the person I am today as far as a manager by the people I played for or worked with.
Farrell also pointed to Karl Kuehl, the long-time baseball veteran manager, scout, coach, player development specialist before his death in 2008 as someone who influenced his approach to young players.
Kuehl was a very influential person in the game in development who had a profound impact on me in dealing with players and dealing with how to develop players in just an old traditional approach that really has stood the test of time, Farrell said.
It all contributes to the torch that he hopes to pass on.
Theres a part of a number of people inside of me, he said. And, hopefully, Ill be able to impart some of that in the guys Ill be working with day in and day out.