Rays News

Barry Larkin a Fascinating Candidate for Rays’ Manager Job

By Peter M. Gordon

The Tampa Bay Rays, normally a rather secretive organization, took the unusual step of revealing to the world their ten managerial candidates to replace Joe Maddon. Barry Larkin, Hall of Fame shortstop and ESPN analyst, is the last candidate to interview for the job. Reports say his interview is scheduled for today, Saturday 11/15, and he may be the most interesting candidate of all.

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Larkin has roots in Central Florida. He and his family have lived in Orlando for many years. His son, Shane, now playing for the Knicks in the NBA, was a star guard at Dr. Phillips High School, the same one my children attended. When he was in elementary school, Shane played in our Little League, and of course Larkin attended the games when he was able. I was impressed that he didn’t call attention onto himself–he acted just like every other parent in the stands, only quieter.

That modesty and self-control is one of the reasons I think Larkin can make a great manager. The knock on star players becoming managers is that they struggle because they expect all players to work as hard and play as well as they did. The success of Joe Torre and Don Mattingly demonstrates that great players can, in fact, do very well with some teams. Larkin also showed loyalty–he’s one of the few recent Hall of Famers who played their entire career with one team: the Cincinnati Reds.  He was a smart player and as his work with ESPN shows, he’s still an astute analyst of the game.

Of course, Barry Larkin has never managed in the majors or the minors. For that reason alone, it’s unlikely that Rays management would select him over current Rays bench coach Dave Martinez or San Francisco Giants bench coach Ron Wotus. The fact that they are interviewing him, though, demonstrates that the Rays, under Matt Silverman, are still willing to defy conventional wisdom and do things their way. That should be encouraging to Rays fans everywhere.