Terry Francona’s legacy as Red Sox manager


Although Terry Francona will not be returning as Red Sox manager in 2012, he can leave knowing that he will always have the support and respect from Red Sox Nation. Despite the difficult end to the 2011 season, which ultimately led to Francona not returning, his lasting impression will not be from 2011, it will be the two World Series titles he brought to Boston.

Francona spent eight years as manager of the Red Sox, which was the longest consecutive tenure since Pinky Higgins in the late 50’s and early 60’s. Francona complied a record of 744-552, and made the playoffs in five of the eight seasons, although the team missed the playoffs in his final two seasons.

What Francona will ultimately always be remembered for is winning the World Series in 2004, the Red Sox’ first since 1918 and ending the so called “curse.” In winning that World Series the Red Sox overcame an 0-3 deficit in the ALCS against the Yankees. Their managers calm, one game at a time approach was what got the team through that series and able to advance to the World Series.

Francona was always a players manager — he always had his players backs and would never criticize them in front of the media. Players often commented how much they appreiciated playing for Francona. He also was always a guy who told his players exactly where they stood in terms of playing time and would be straight up with them. Francona does not have a firey type of personality, and in the end maybe that is one of the reasons why he will not be returning.

The Red Sox went 7-20 this past September, and despite many attempts by Francona and management, the team could not turn things around. Francona could not get his players to play, and by some accounts he “lost” his clubhouse. Maybe Francona needed to have a firey speech where he yelled and screamed, making a statement hoping the team would turn it around, but that isn’t who he is. That is not what he was his previous seven years as manager, why change now?

Only two days after the season ended Francona announced he would not return as manager, a mutual decision between he and management. Personally, I believe Francona was forced out because management did not fully support him and how he so called “lost” the clubhouse. Why would a manager want to manage a team when he isn’t getting supported by the management?

After eight seasons maybe it was time to leave. Boston is a very difficult place to manage — between playing in front of the most passionate fans in the game and having to deal with the Boston media twice day for seven months, it is going to take a toll on you. Eight years with the same manager, maybe the team needs to go in a new direction and have a new voice.

Ultimately, something needed to happen after the Red Sox collapse. To me Francona wasn’t the one to go, he didn’t play in any of the games, he still managed the same way he did the previous seven. The collapse was all on the players. But in the end Francona can leave Boston knowing he will always have the support from Red Sox Nation and brought not only one, but two World Series titles to a city that went almost an entire decade without one.

For all the latest news and analysis from BoSox Injection, follow us on TwitterFacebook, or with our RSS feed.