Fish Bytes

Original Marlins manager will miss spring training for first time in 53 years

Miami Herald file photo

Rene Lachemann, the first manager for the Marlins, will feel like a fish out of water when baseball spring training camps open this week in Florida and Arizona. For the first time in 53 years, Lachemann is staying home.

“I have to get my head together on all of this,” Lachemann told MLB.com’s Tracy Ringolsby. “Everything comes to an end, but I didn’t want to just hang it up. It’s hard to walk away.”

Lachemann, 71, has been going to spring training — either as a player, manager or coach — every year since 1964 when he was a 19-year-old catcher in the minors.

But Lachemann is out of a job this year.

“It’s not about money,” Lachemann said. “People will say, ‘You can enjoy retirement.’ I didn’t work for retirement. I wasn’t a guy working 9-to-5. I’ve been living a dream. I played in the Major Leagues. I managed in the Major Leagues. I was part of a coaching staff that went to four World Series.”

Fans in South Florida will remember Lachemann as the Marlins’ first manager. He was in the dugout for the team’s inaugural game in 1993 and remained with them until being fired midway through the ‘96 season. The Marlins went 221-285 under Lachemann and were 39-47 when he was let go in 1996.

“My biggest regret is that this team is going to win and I’m not going to be around to watch it happen,” Lachemann said prophetically when he was fired in ‘96.

The Marlins won their first World Series the following year under Jim Leyland. Lachemann’s 221 wins with the Marlins ranks third on the team’s all-time list, trailing only Jack McKeon (286) and Fredi Gonzalez (276).

In addition to the Marlins, Lachemann also managed the Milwaukee Brewers for one season and the Seattle Mariners for three. He was a part-time catcher for the A’s in the 1960s and finished with a career. 210 average. For the past four years, he had served as a coach for Colorado Rockies manager Walt Weiss, who stepped down at the end of last season. Ironically, Weiss played for Lachemann as the Florida Marlins’ first shortstop.

Now, Lachemann is out of baseball.

“I still care about the game and love being a part of it,” he said. “But all things come to an end.”

Not that Lachemann hasn’t tried landing a job. He has put out feelers, but to no avail.

“What upsets you is when you don’t get a response to your calls,” he said. “I know when I got the manager’s job in Florida, I had more than 300 calls. I called guys back and they appreciated it. Some guys, like Davey Johnson, I told them they were better qualified to manage than I was, and I respected their knowledge, but I didn’t have anything for them. They respected that.”

Marlins managers ranked by wins:

1. Jack McKeon -- 286

2. Fredi Gonzalez -- 276

3. Rene Lachemann -- 221

4. John Boles -- 165

5. Mike Redmond -- 155

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