Red Sox Rule: Terry Francona and Boston's Rise to Dominance

( 11 )

Overview

The story of the changing face of baseball and the inner workings of its finest organization

After a hundred "cursed" years, the Boston Red Sox rose gloriously to baseball domination. Under the leadership of manager Terry Francona, an extraordinary team of wildly disparate personalities—from the inscrutable Manny Ramirez to the affable David "Big Papi" Ortiz—pulled off two improbable post-season comebacks to make it to the World Series twice in three years . . . and ultimately...

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Overview

The story of the changing face of baseball and the inner workings of its finest organization

After a hundred "cursed" years, the Boston Red Sox rose gloriously to baseball domination. Under the leadership of manager Terry Francona, an extraordinary team of wildly disparate personalities—from the inscrutable Manny Ramirez to the affable David "Big Papi" Ortiz—pulled off two improbable post-season comebacks to make it to the World Series twice in three years . . . and ultimately emerged victorious. In Red Sox Rule, Michael Holley, bestselling author of Patriot Reign, provides a fascinating, insightful, and surprising inside look at how it all happened.

With the exclusive cooperation of Terry Francona and stories from the clubhouse and the conference room, Holley reveals the private sessions and the dugout and front-office strategies that have made the Red Sox a budding dynasty, overtaking their archrivals, the powerful New York Yankees, as the American League's elite team.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The singular appeal of this book is that it offers an over-the-shoulder peek at the first manager in 86 years to guide the Boston Red Sox to a world championship. To research this book, sportswriter Michael Holley followed the Bosox skipper through the entire 2007 season. A dugout view of a history maker.
Library Journal

Holley (Patriot Reign) was granted inside access to the 2007 Red Sox and especially to manager Terry Francona.

Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780061458552
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 3/24/2009
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 240
  • Sales rank: 1,367,731
  • Product dimensions: 5.20 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

MICHAEL HOLLEY is the author of the New York Times bestsellers Patriot Reign, Never Give Up (with Tedy Bruschi), and Red Sox Rule. He was a Boston Globe sportswriter for ten years, and he is the cohost of The Big Show on Boston sports radio station WEEI. Holley lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife and two sons.

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Read an Excerpt

Red Sox Rule
Terry Francona and Boston's Rise to Dominance

Chapter One

Blame the Manager

On the October night when most of New England directed its rage at Grady Little, Terry Francona was in suburban Philadelphia, halfway paying attention.

First he watched one of his three daughters play in a high school volleyball game. Then, grudgingly, he went home and tuned in to the final innings of the playoff series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He certainly wasn't excited about spending his time looking at the Red Sox, so he increased the volume on his TV. That way he could travel from room to room and listen to the game when it became too frustrating to watch. He was the bench coach for the Oakland A's, the team the Red Sox had eliminated from the postseason, so it was hard to see Boston where he thought Oakland should have been. I still think we're better than the Red Sox. Hell, we were up two games on them. If we had just run the bases a little better . . . Talk about impact TV: at no point did he imagine that the broadcast was about to show him something that would land him a job in Boston.

The winning team on that night would represent the American League in the 2003 World Series. Through seven and a half innings at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox appeared to be that team. They held a 5 to 2 lead, a cushion that would allow Little to leverage his bullpen and get the final five outs of the game. The Boston manager had his best pitcher, Pedro Martinez, on the mound. But Martinez was tired. He had allowed a one-out double to Derek Jeter in the eighth, and he clearly didn't have areservoir of brilliant pitches remaining, at least not enough to get through the muscular Yankees lineup.

The way Little's bosses saw it, the manager had several favorable options among his relief pitchers. But John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Theo Epstein, all men Little reported to, knew that the real issue wasn't solely about a bullpen that had given up just 2 runs in its previous 25 innings of work. The issue was that in need of five outs, Little was more likely to choose instinct over science. So as the Fox television cameras were focused on the drama before them on the field, few people realized that there was also a philosophical clash coming to a head at the same time.

It was Feel versus Numbers, Tradition versus Something New, Acoustic versus Electric, Jocks versus Geeks. And it had been simmering for two seasons. Little didn't believe that he had to apologize for his style. He was a friendly Southerner who was always ready with a story and a joke. He knew how to talk to players and tap into whatever it was that either motivated them or brought on insecurity. The numbers packets and various reports from the front office were all right, but if he had to make an in-game decision that was the difference between winning and losing, he was usually going to side with flesh and blood.

Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox, wasn't nearly as emotional as Little. In fact, Henry became a billionaire by creating a mechanical trading system based on following trends. He believed that no one could predict the future in any industry, hedge funds or baseball, but that there were always data that could help one make informed choices. Little's homespun style was fine with him, but he would have liked it more if that style had come with more solid reasons for baseball decisions.

The two men were as different as their baseball backgrounds: whereas Little's vision was shaped by managing hundreds of personalities and 2,000 games in the minor league sticks, Henry was drawn to the sport as an owner, a fan, and a lover of computer-simulation games. He was so taken with the inventive formulas and original writings of Bill James, a true baseball outsider, that he hired him to work for the Red Sox.

Clash.

Eighth inning. The score was 5 to 3 after Bernie Williams singled home Jeter. There was still the bullpen option. Still one out. Still Feel versus Numbers. Several members of the Boston ownership group and baseball operations staff were nervous when Little jogged from the third-base dugout to talk with Martinez. If they had to pinpoint one reason he had been a good hire, they would choose what they called his "social intelligence." They knew he had a politician's gift for canvassing a room and a preacher's for bringing people together. Frankly, they weren't sure how much he was willing to apply what they deemed important.

They even had a meeting about him earlier in the season. The agenda: how to best manage the manager. The conclusion: allow him the flexibility, for the most part, to manage in that folksy style of his. It couldn't be all bad, could it? They were on their way to 95 wins and the playoffs, and the manager deserved some credit for that. But they had to let him know, emphatically, that certain things were required of a Red Sox manager. The list wasn't long, maybe two or three things, but the list was nonnegotiable.

The necessity of the meeting was a clue that the relationship was doomed. They had to tell him to consider all the available information and use some of it? That was trouble, long before October in New York.

Little would later explain that he felt he gave his team the best chance to win by placing the ball and season in the wiry right hand of Martinez. As he looked into Martinez's eyes, Little didn't just see a pitcher who on average gave up the fewest earned runs, 2.22, in the league and would one day be in the Baseball Hall of Fame; he also saw an artist. The Geeks were fine with that. Their point was that after Martinez threw over 100 pitches, he was indeed an artist—but the art was more paintball than Picasso. Martinez, with talent and competitiveness to burn, was dramatically easier to hit once his pitch count exceeded 100.

Red Sox Rule
Terry Francona and Boston's Rise to Dominance
. Copyright © by Michael Holley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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Table of Contents

Preface: The Hub     ix
Blame the Manager     1
The Test     13
New School     29
Falling Stars     47
Managing Jordan     65
Yankee Chess     83
Breakthrough     103
The Boiler Room     117
Life After Death     133
Love, Hate, and Champagne     151
October Sweep     167
Comeback Champions     179
Epilogue: Manager of the Year ... or Not     199
Acknowledgments     203

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First Chapter

Red Sox Rule
Terry Francona and Boston’s Rise to Dominance

Chapter One

Blame the Manager

On the October night when most of New England directed its rage at Grady Little, Terry Francona was in suburban Philadelphia, halfway paying attention.

First he watched one of his three daughters play in a high school volleyball game. Then, grudgingly, he went home and tuned in to the final innings of the playoff series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He certainly wasn't excited about spending his time looking at the Red Sox, so he increased the volume on his TV. That way he could travel from room to room and listen to the game when it became too frustrating to watch. He was the bench coach for the Oakland A's, the team the Red Sox had eliminated from the postseason, so it was hard to see Boston where he thought Oakland should have been. I still think we're better than the Red Sox. Hell, we were up two games on them. If we had just run the bases a little better . . . Talk about impact TV: at no point did he imagine that the broadcast was about to show him something that would land him a job in Boston.

The winning team on that night would represent the American League in the 2003 World Series. Through seven and a half innings at Yankee Stadium, the Red Sox appeared to be that team. They held a 5 to 2 lead, a cushion that would allow Little to leverage his bullpen and get the final five outs of the game. The Boston manager had his best pitcher, Pedro Martinez, on the mound. But Martinez was tired. He had allowed a one-out double to Derek Jeter in the eighth, and he clearly didn't have areservoir of brilliant pitches remaining, at least not enough to get through the muscular Yankees lineup.

The way Little's bosses saw it, the manager had several favorable options among his relief pitchers. But John Henry, Larry Lucchino, and Theo Epstein, all men Little reported to, knew that the real issue wasn't solely about a bullpen that had given up just 2 runs in its previous 25 innings of work. The issue was that in need of five outs, Little was more likely to choose instinct over science. So as the Fox television cameras were focused on the drama before them on the field, few people realized that there was also a philosophical clash coming to a head at the same time.

It was Feel versus Numbers, Tradition versus Something New, Acoustic versus Electric, Jocks versus Geeks. And it had been simmering for two seasons. Little didn't believe that he had to apologize for his style. He was a friendly Southerner who was always ready with a story and a joke. He knew how to talk to players and tap into whatever it was that either motivated them or brought on insecurity. The numbers packets and various reports from the front office were all right, but if he had to make an in-game decision that was the difference between winning and losing, he was usually going to side with flesh and blood.

Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox, wasn't nearly as emotional as Little. In fact, Henry became a billionaire by creating a mechanical trading system based on following trends. He believed that no one could predict the future in any industry, hedge funds or baseball, but that there were always data that could help one make informed choices. Little's homespun style was fine with him, but he would have liked it more if that style had come with more solid reasons for baseball decisions.

The two men were as different as their baseball backgrounds: whereas Little's vision was shaped by managing hundreds of personalities and 2,000 games in the minor league sticks, Henry was drawn to the sport as an owner, a fan, and a lover of computer-simulation games. He was so taken with the inventive formulas and original writings of Bill James, a true baseball outsider, that he hired him to work for the Red Sox.

Clash.

Eighth inning. The score was 5 to 3 after Bernie Williams singled home Jeter. There was still the bullpen option. Still one out. Still Feel versus Numbers. Several members of the Boston ownership group and baseball operations staff were nervous when Little jogged from the third-base dugout to talk with Martinez. If they had to pinpoint one reason he had been a good hire, they would choose what they called his "social intelligence." They knew he had a politician's gift for canvassing a room and a preacher's for bringing people together. Frankly, they weren't sure how much he was willing to apply what they deemed important.

They even had a meeting about him earlier in the season. The agenda: how to best manage the manager. The conclusion: allow him the flexibility, for the most part, to manage in that folksy style of his. It couldn't be all bad, could it? They were on their way to 95 wins and the playoffs, and the manager deserved some credit for that. But they had to let him know, emphatically, that certain things were required of a Red Sox manager. The list wasn't long, maybe two or three things, but the list was nonnegotiable.

The necessity of the meeting was a clue that the relationship was doomed. They had to tell him to consider all the available information and use some of it? That was trouble, long before October in New York.

Little would later explain that he felt he gave his team the best chance to win by placing the ball and season in the wiry right hand of Martinez. As he looked into Martinez's eyes, Little didn't just see a pitcher who on average gave up the fewest earned runs, 2.22, in the league and would one day be in the Baseball Hall of Fame; he also saw an artist. The Geeks were fine with that. Their point was that after Martinez threw over 100 pitches, he was indeed an artist—but the art was more paintball than Picasso. Martinez, with talent and competitiveness to burn, was dramatically easier to hit once his pitch count exceeded 100.

Red Sox Rule
Terry Francona and Boston’s Rise to Dominance
. Copyright © by Michael Holley. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3
( 11 )
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Sort by: Showing 1 – 13 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2013

    Redsox

    Redsox rock. Hands down


    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2012

    this book is goooooooooooood

    H

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 13, 2009

    Red Sox Rule

    The book Red Sox Rule by Michael Holley is about Terry Francona and what he went through to get his job as the Boston Red Sox manager. The book talks about when he was first the bench coach for the Oakland Athletics and what he went through when he was being scouted and interviewed for the job as manager. Then once he got the job the author describes in depth about what Francona did during the 2004 season and some of the decisions that he made and how the decisions led him and the Red Sox to winning the World Series.
    The main character of the book is Terry Francona who becomes the Red Sox's manager. Francona is very laid back, but at the same time he is very good at his job. Another character is Theo Epstein who is the Red Sox general manager. Theo Epstein is a young man but at the same time is very smart. Another owner of the Red Sox is John Henry. John Henry has been an owner of the team for a long time so he is very experienced in his job.
    "On the October night when most of New England directed its rage at Grady Little, Terry Francona was in suburban Philadelphia, halfway paying attention. First he watched one of his three daughters play in a high school volleyball game. Then, grudgingly, he went home and tuned in to the final innings of the playoff series between the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees. He certainly wasn't excited about spending his time looking at the Red Sox, so he increased his volume on his TV. That way he could travel from room to room and listen to the game when it became to frustrating to watch. He was the bench coach for the Oakland A's, the team the Red Sox had eliminated from the postseason, so it was hard to see Boston where he thought Oakland should have been. I still think we're better than the Red Sox. Hell, we were up two games on them. If we had just run the bases a little better... Talk about impact TV; at no point did he imagine that the broadcast was about to show him something that would land him a job in Boston.
    This was the most important passage from the book. It was said by the author in the beginning of the book when he was talking about Terry Francona when he wasn't the Red Sox manager and how much he didn't care for and hated the Red Sox. Then he explains how Francona had no clue that the game he was watching on TV was going to give him a job the next season for the Red Sox.
    This book was very good and was very accurate in the information it gave you. It gave a lot of information and facts that I did not know about before such as Terry Francona's background information, previous jobs in baseball he had, and what he had to do to get the job as the Red Sox's manager and things he had to do once as manager.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 30, 2014

    Red Sox rule

    Red sox are the best

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2013

    Too the person who wrote boooooooooooooooo

    Well i tattaly agree nyy are better

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 25, 2013

    Baseball teams that are cool like the Red Sox

    My favorite baseball team is the patriots. But the Red Sox are my second favorite.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 15, 2011

    Booooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo red sox suck my balls

    NYY is alot better than red sox!!

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Well Written!

    I loved this book! I enjoy "insider" books about sports, especially baseball, and it's a treat to read one that features good writing as well as good stories.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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