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Wednesday, November 1
Dodgers name Jim Tracy as manager

LOS ANGELES (Ticker) -- The Los Angeles Dodgers promoted from within today, naming Jim Tracy manager and giving the bench coach a chance to revive a tarnished franchise.

Tracy, 44, was selected over batting coach Rick Down, whom many of the players had openly championed for the job.

Tracy, who has no prior major league managerial experience, succeeds Davey Johnson, who was fired on September 29 after two seasons as Dodgers' manager. Tracy becomes the Dodgers' sixth manager since 1954, but the fourth since the middle of the 1996 season.

"Some people may have felt this organization has slipped," Tracy said. "My goal is to reastablish the tradition and mystique of this organization."

With a league-high payroll of $90 million, the Dodgers were expected to reach the playoffs in 2000. But they never threatened San Francisco for the National League West title, finishing with an 86-76 record and ending up eight games behind the New York Mets in the wild card race.

The Dodgers, who completed their third season under the Fox ownership group following more than five decades under the O'Malley family, have failed to make the playoffs since 1996 and have not won a postseason game since 1988.

Before the recent dry spell, the Dodgers made it to 18 World Series, nine since moving to Los Angeles.

"There were enough changes the last two years to know that it is time to continue what we have started," general manager Kevin Malone said. "We felt Jim Tracy was the best man for the job. He's committed to making us the best organization in baseball. "We felt it was important to stay in the organization."

According to the Los Angeles Times, one of the main qualifications for the job was the ability to coexist with Malone, who had a stormy relationship with Johnson.

While both Tracy and Down filled the qualification, it is believed chairman Bob Daly and president Bob Graziano favored Tracy, who worked with Malone previously in the Montreal organization.

Tracy has been a bench coach for six seasons, the first four under Felipe Alou in Montreal. Tracy was 501-486 in seven seasons as a minor league manager in the Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati and Montreal organizations.

"I've thrived on being an overachiever," Tracy said. "I thrive on the fact that people say that 'I can't.'"

His playing career consisted of brief stints with the Cubs in 1980 and 1981. Down told the Los Angeles Times he would not be staying with the organization.

"The man I was up against in Rick Down had the qualifications to do this job and any other job," Tracy said.

Tracy is the third new manager hired this week. The Philadelphia Phillies hired Larry Bowa earlier today and the Arizona Diamondbacks named Bob Brenly on Monday.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Cincinnati Reds are the only teams without managers.

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