But manager Edwin Rodriguez resigned yesterday when he realized his team had forgotten how to play baseball, and now McKeon -- whose players were comparing him to a grandfather six years ago -- is likely the new man for the job.
If the 80-year-old McKeon is actually hired as interim manager, it would make him the second oldest manager in major league history, behind Connie Mack, who started managing the Philadelphia Athletics shortly before the extinction of the wooly mammoths.
To give you an idea of how long 80 years is in baseball-time, he's older than outfielders Emilio Bonifacio, Logan Morrison and Mike Stanton combined, and he started managing in 1973, before any of the current Marlins were alive.
McKeon was born before Babe Ruth's famous called shot; he was old enough to read about Joe DiMaggio's hit streak in the papers, and he was 16 when Jackie Robinson first laced up for the Dodgers. By the time Hank Aaron broke Ruth's home run record in 1974, McKeon was already much too old to play.
And at his first managing gig, with the Kansas City Royals, McKeon had a left fielder by the name of Lou Piniella, who has since had enough time to play another 12 seasons, retire from playing, become a manager, win more than 1,800 games, and then retire again. McKeon is going to be managing against the children of his former players -- and if the Phillies call John Mayberry Jr. back up from the minors, it could happen a few weeks from now when Philadelphia comes to play July 4.
No word yet on any new endorsements from Metamucil or on whether he'll deliver the lineup card to the ump on a Hoveround, but the Twitterverse has burst forth with insightful commentary:
Jack McKeon named Marlins manager. Sadly, Jack went to sleep around 7, so he'll find out on the way to Denny's at 5 tomorrow morning.
Florida Marlins to name Jack McKeon, age 80, as team's manager. In a related story, stadium lights will be turned on and off by clapping.
Jack McKeon tried to convince the White Sox not to throw the World Series in 1919.
Jack McKeon taking over the Marlins. That'll be tough considering he's buried in Georgia.
McKeon did great things back in '03, but it is certainly not the 2003 Marlins he is coming back to.
Best case scenario: He salvages what was until recently a good season, and we get to make jokes about a contract extension for a guy who doesn't buy green bananas.
Worst case scenario: The Fish continue to have the worst attendance in the major leagues, we pray for some great recruiting and start next season unburdened by "playoff hopes." Either way, we have an easy punchline until we have to go back to worrying about -- you got it -- basketball season.
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