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Mickey Callaway, New York Mets manager, a rare former pitcher to become skipper

Pitchers-turned-managers like Mickey Callaway are a rare breed in baseball.

Mickey Callaway pitched for the Anaheim Angels in

Mickey Callaway pitched for the Anaheim Angels in 2002, the year they won the World Series. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Stephen Dunn

The New York Mets’ hire of manager Mickey Callaway is unorthodox for one major reason: He’s a former pitcher.

It’s just not common practice to put the reins of the ballclub in the hands of someone used to taking the hill in his playing days. Last year, 14 of 30 managers were catchers — 13 played in the majors. Most of the rest were primarily infielders in the majors, while a few never reached the big leagues. Three were major-league outfielders. Only two pitched in the majors, while former hurler never got called up to the show.

From a historical context, only Tommy Lasorda is among the top 20 in wins as a former pitcher and manager for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers. The practice of employing an ex-MLB pitcher as the full-time skipper is so rare, its happened only four times since 1997.

While their experience won’t dictate how Callaway handles the Mets going forward, here’s a look at the company he joins from the last 20 years.

Larry Dierker

A two-time All-Star right-hander with the Houston Astros, Dierker’s ascent to managing his former club was more unusual than most. His post-baseball career was as a color commentator for the Astros, not a coach. Still, he won four division crowns in five years guiding Houston.

Larry Rothschild

The current New York Yankees pitching coach saw 8 1⁄3 innings of action as a righty with the Detroit Tigers in the early 1980s before winning two World Series as a coach with the Cincinnati Reds and Florida Marlins. Rothschild was named the first manager of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1998, compiling a record of 205-294 in three-plus seasons.

Bud Black

The left-hander’s 15-year pitching career includes a World Series crown with the Kansas City Royals. He added another title as the Anaheim Angels pitching coach before a lackluster eight-plus seasons managing the San Diego Padres beginning in 2007. This year, he guided the Colorado Rockies to a wild-card berth in his first season with the team.

John Farrell

The former right-handed starter compiled a 36-46 record in eight seasons, mostly with the Cleveland Indians. He helmed the Toronto Blue Jays in 2011-12 before guiding the Boston Red Sox to a World Series crown in 2013. Despite earning a third AL East crown this year, Farrell was fired after falling to Houston in the ALDS.

Mickey Callaway’s stats

The new Mets manager pitched five seasons in the majors with the Devil Rays, Angels and Texas Rangers. He started 20 of his 40 appearances, logging 130 2⁄3 innings. The right-hander posted a career record of 4-11 with a 6.27 ERA, 86 strikeouts and 58 walks.

Callaway was a member of the 2002 Angels who won the World Series, with Black as his pitching coach.

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