10/30/08 7:59 PM ET
Brewers name Macha manager
Former A's skipper won two division titles with Oakland
By Adam McCalvy / MLB.com
Ken Macha's managerial record
The A's were 368-280 under Macha, the fourth-best mark in baseball in that four-year span. His .568 winning percentage is the second-best in A's franchise history behind Dick Williams' .603.Yet he was let go two days after the A's were swept in the 2006 American League Championship Series by the Detroit Tigers. Two days after that came a newspaper report that quoted a number of players as critical of Macha, citing among their beefs a lack of communication and the perception that he did not stick up for players. Macha addressed those issues at length on Thursday in a sometimes tense back-and-forth with Milwaukee reporters. In fact, the first question he was asked was not about his vision for the Brewers, but about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal from the A's. "The bottom line is this: The manager is responsible for wins and losses," Macha said. "The amount of respect that you get from the players is shown by the intensity with which they play. If you take a look at our teams in Oakland, they always played better as the season went on. I just let the record sit the way it is. We always won games there in Oakland." Macha that the questions about his dismissal from Oakland probably played a role in his two-year layoff from managing. "When you get dismissed, there has to be a reason," Macha said. "Whatever reason it be, it is going to stick with you. I know the difference between perception and reality, and I am just going to leave it at that." Melvin was certainly aware of the questions surrounding Macha's departure, so he sought or received unsolicited recommendations from a number of sources, including Red Sox manager Terry Francona and Rays manager Joe Maddon, both of whom have coached with Macha. Brewers pitcher Jeff Suppan, who played under Macha at Double-A Trenton in 1995 and Triple-A Pawtucket in 1997, also called with an endorsement. Melvin already had done some of his homework six years earlier. When Melvin took over as Brewers GM at the end of the 2002 season, Macha was one of five finalists for the managerial opening and may have been Melvin's frontrunner. But when A's manager Art Howe left to manage the Mets, Macha decided to remain in Oakland to fill that vacancy instead. He skirted around the issue of his frosty relationship with A's GM Billy Beane on Thursday, saying only that he looked forward to working with Melvin who is, "more of a delegator. He's going to let me go out and do my job as manager, and I am going to be very grateful for that." The Brewers decided on Macha over Brenly and Randolph as early as Sunday and were waiting for the World Series to end to make the formal announcement. The Phillies did the Brewers a favor by winning the championship on Wednesday night; had the Series shifted back to Tampa Bay, the Brewers were considering asking Major League Baseball to waive the moratorium on making news so they could name Macha on Thursday. Melvin leaves town for the Managers Meetings on Saturday and wanted the staff settled before then. The Pirates selected Pittsburgh native Macha in the sixth round of the 1972 First-Year Player Draft, and he played parts of six Major League seasons, primarily as a third baseman. He then played four seasons in Japan before beginning his coaching career in Montreal in 1986.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.