By Rick Eymer
Palo Alto Online Sports
Palo Alto native and Menlo-Atherton High graduate Bob Melvin took an early morning flight to Chicago from New York, where he has been working for the Mets, and became a major-league manager again: this time for the Oakland Athletics.
"For me there is added significance," Melvin said at a press conference before the A's took on the White Sox Thursday night. "This is my third team and I am coming to a place where I grew up. I played for the Giants and I understand the history off all these organizations."
Melvin was named the interim manager by A's general manager Billy Beane, who earlier dismissed manager Bob Geren. The A's take a nine-game losing streak into Thursday's contest.
"Any time you're letting someone go it's never easy regardless of your relationship," Beane said. "You never like to see a friend lose his job."
Melvin, 49, joins the team in Chicago, where the A's will begin a four-game series with the White Sox. He will finish the 2011 season on an interim basis. The A's are currently 27-36 and in last place in the American League West following a 3-2 loss to Baltimore on Wednesday night.
"A losing streak is no fun for anybody," said Melvin, who will wear uniform No. 6 in honor of former A's infielder Sal Bando. "Right now we just want to slow it down, back it up and play it day by day. We'll play with energy each and every day."
Melvin began his career with Seattle in 2003. He took over the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2005 and became the team's all-time winningest manager. Melvin has compiled an overall record of 493-508 in seven seasons as a Major League manager from 2003-09.
In his rookie managerial season, he directed the Mariners to a 93-69 record in 2003. Four years later, he won National League Manager of the Year honors after guiding Arizona to a league-best 90-72 mark and the NL West Division title in 2007.
Melvin also served as the Diamondbacks' bench coach on Bob Brenly's coaching staff from 2001-02, when Arizona won the World Series in 2001 and the NL West Division championship in 2002.
Melvin graduated from Menlo-Atherton in 1979 and later attended, but did not play baseball at, the University of California. He transferred to Canada College, from where the Detroit Tigers selected him as their first choice in the secondary phase of the 1981 January draft.
The former catcher posted a .233 batting average with 35 home runs and 212 RBI while playing in 692 games during his 10-year Major League career with the Tigers (1985), San Francisco Giants (1986-88), Baltimore Orioles (1989-91), Kansas City Royals (1992), Boston Red Sox (1993), New York Yankees (1994) and White Sox (1994).
"There's a lot going on and I'm getting to know people from the support staff to the trainers to the players," Melvin said. "I have to adapt to the players. I can tell you we will play with passion, energy and we'll play hard for 27 outs."
"Bob has the rest of the year to make an impact," Beane said. "There's a big job ahead of him. The competitor in him and the competitor in me certainly doesn't want to give anything away."