Charlie Metro

Charlie Metro
Outfielder / Manager
Born: (1918-04-18)April 18, 1918
Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania
Died: March 18, 2011(2011-03-18) (aged 92)
Buckingham, Virginia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 4, 1943, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
August 5, 1945, for the Philadelphia Athletics
MLB statistics
Batting average .193
Home runs 3
Runs batted in 23
Games managed 164
WinLoss record 62102
Winning % .378
Teams

Major League Baseball

As manager

Charlie Metro (born Charles Moreskonich; April 18, 1918 March 18, 2011) was an American professional baseball player, manager, coach and scout. Notably, he was an outfielder for the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Athletics as well as the manager of the Chicago Cubs and Kansas City Royals of Major League Baseball. He adopted the name "Metro" from his father, Metro Moreskonich, a Ukrainian immigrant. Metro was born and grew up in Nanty Glo, Pennsylvania, graduating from Nanty Glo High School in 1937, and also worked in the coal mines there during breaks from school.[1] He threw and batted right-handed, stood 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall and weighed 178 pounds (81 kg).

Career

At age 18, Metro attended a tryout camp for the St. Louis Browns, and he bounced around in the minor leagues. In 1940, he joined the Texarkana Liners, then an independent baseball team but which became affiliated with the Detroit Tigers. Due to his light hitting ability, he was never able to become a full-time starter, although he did make the Tigers club out of spring training in 1943. He was released by the Tigers in 1944, partly because of his attempts to organize a players union.

The Philadelphia Athletics picked him up, and, under Connie Mack, Metro won "a shot" at starting center fielder, but his inability to hit consistently cost him this job. In 171 major league games played, Metro was credited with 69 hits, with ten doubles, two triples and three home runs. Two of those blows came on consecutive days, June 23–24, 1945, against the New York Yankees' Jim "Milkman" Turner and Hank Borowy.[2] Overall, though, Metro hit a lowly .193 and collected 23 runs batted in. In the closing weeks of 1945, Metro joined the Oakland Oaks of the Pacific Coast League, where in 1946, his last season as a full-time outfielder, he played under another Baseball Hall of Fame manager, Casey Stengel.

In 1947, he was hired as a player-manager by the Yankees' organization, and in the mid-1950s through 1961 he helmed Triple-A clubs for the Tigers and Baltimore Orioles. In 1962, he got his first big-league managing job with the Chicago Cubs as a member of their "College of Coaches." Metro succeeded Lou Klein as "head coach" on June 12. The head coach job was designed to rotate among several members of the College, but Metro stayed in the role for 112 games and the rest of the 1962 campaign. The Cubs won 43 and lost 69 (.384) under him, and finished ninth in the ten-team National League. Metro was fired after the season; then he joined the crosstown Chicago White Sox as a scout (1963–64) and coach (1965). In 1966 he returned to managing in the PCL with the St. Louis Cardinals' top affiliate, the Tulsa Oilers.

After one season, Metro resumed his scouting career. Bob Howsam, who owned the Triple-A Denver Bears when Metro managed them as a Tigers' affiliate in 1960–61, had hired Metro for the Cardinals' system at Tulsa in 1966. When Howsam took over as general manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 1967, he brought Metro with him as a top special assignments scout. Then, in 1968, Metro joined the front office of the expansion Kansas City Royals, where he had an active hand in the expansion draft.

He took over as manager when Joe Gordon resigned after only one season at the helm.[3] But there his stint as manager was shorter than his Cubs tenure, lasting only 52 games (19–33, .365). He was replaced by Bob Lemon.[4] Metro went back to scouting for the Tigers and the Los Angeles Dodgers. Then followed coaching stints with the Oakland Athletics, and in 1984 he returned to the Dodgers as a scout. After being dismissed by Los Angeles, Metro retired to his Denver ranch. He died in Buckingham, Virginia where he lived, on March 18, 2011 from mesothelioma, a type of lung cancer.[5]

See also

References

  1. "Charlie Metro, long-time baseball player, manager, coach and scout, passes away". Nanty Glo Home Page. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  2. Retrosheet: 1945 PHI A batting log for Charlie Metro
  3. Ferguson, Lew (8 October 1969). "Charlie Metro named manager of Royals". The Day. p. 23. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  4. Blount, Jr., Roy (22 June 1970). "Tale of the Derailed Metro". Sports Illustrated. New York. 32 (25): 43. Archived from the original on September 29, 2013. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
  5. Moss, Irv (23 March 2011). "Former Bears manager Metro dies at 91". The Denver Post. Retrieved 31 August 2012.
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