TERRY JON FRANCONA
Image of TITO
Nickname:   TITO Position:   MANAGER
Home: N/A Team:   Retired
Height: 6' 1" Bats:   L
Weight: 185 Throws:   L
DOB: 4/22/1959 Agent: SFX - Pat Rooney
Uniform #: N/A  
Birth City: Aberdeen, SD
Draft: Expos #1 - 1980 - Out of Univ. of Arizona
YR LEA TEAM SAL(K) G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO OBP SLG AVG
1981 NL EXPOS   34 95 11 26 0 1 1 8 1 0 5 6 .317 .326 .274
1982 NL EXPOS   46 131 14 42 3 0 0 9 2 3 8 11 .360 .344 .321
1983 NL EXPOS   120 230 21 59 11 1 3 22 0 2 6 20 .273 .352 .257
1984 NL EXPOS   58 214 18 74 19 2 1 18 0 0 5 12 .360 .467 .346
1985 NL EXPOS   107 281 19 75 15 1 2 31 5 5 12 12 .299 .349 .267
1986 NL CUBS   86 124 13 31 3 0 2 8 0 1 6 8 .286 .323 .250
1987 NL REDS   102 207 16 47 5 0 3 12 2 0 10 12 .266 .295 .227
1988 AL INDIANS   62 212 24 66 8 0 1 12 0 0 5 18 .324 .363 .311
1989 AL BREWERS   90 233 26 54 10 1 3 23 2 1 8 20 .255 .322 .232
1990 AL BREWERS   3 4 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 .000
Personal

SON OF A MAJOR LEAGUER

  • Terry is the son of Tito Francona, who played 15 years in the Major Leagues. Terry says, "My Dad never coached me. Not once. When I'd come in from a game he'd ask me only two things. Did I play the game right? Did I have fun?  And if the answer to both those questions was yes, that was all right. It didn't matter if we'd won or lost or how many hits I had."
  • When Francona was in high school, he broke a school record for the golf team. He asked his coach, Drew Szabo, the name of the player who held the record before him. The answer: Rodney Oxenhurdt, a well-liked kid who had died in a car accident and whose name had been preserved on a trophy at New Brighton. Francona paused, then told Szabo to leave Oxenhurdt's name on the trophy.

    That is Terry Francona. (Sean Deveney-The Sporting News-10/01/07)

  • Terry recalled spending time at the park with his father.

    “I think my dad’s last three or four years, I went to the ballpark with him just about every day,’’ Francona said. “You weren’t allowed in the clubhouse. I’d run in and grab some candy. I thought I was sneaking it and then I’d go run around.’’

    Francona said Al Downing and Rick Monday were among his favorite players because they were willing to play catch with him.

    “All it takes when you’re 8, 9, 10 years old is somebody to say hello to you,’’ Francona said. “That kind of does it. There was always somebody on every team, somebody willing to let a 10-year-old get in the way and play catch with.’’

    A grouchy Gene Mauch, on the other hand, once kicked Francona out of the clubhouse.

    In 1970, his father’s last season, Francona went on a 10-day August road trip with the Brewers to Minnesota, Chicago, and Kansas City. “Back then you didn’t do that,’’ Francona said.

    But manager Dave Bristol, “a grizzled baseball guy,’’ Francona said, allowed it.

    Francona recalled watching Bert Blyleven pitch and marveling at his curveball.

    “It was probably the funnest 10 days of my life,’’ Francona said. “My mom bought me a suit to go on that trip, dressed me up, and put a tie on me. When I came home after that 10 days, man, I looked like an unmade bed.’’

    Francona allows the players to have their sons in the clubhouse as often as they want. Victor Martinez Jr.and D’Angelo Ortiz are often underfoot, playing catch or dressing in their own uniforms.

    “It’s good,’’ Francona said. “When you think about it, we’re away from our families so much and these guys are a lot. I think you can see how healthy it is when the kids are around. I think it’s good." (Peter Abraham-Boston Globe-6/21/10)

  • In 1997, Tito Francona retired as the Director of Parks and Recreation in New Brighton, Pennsylvania. He never brought his own game home with him. "When he got three hits, he didn't go out and buy me a new toy," Terry recalls. "You could never tell how he had played.  It never made a difference. And for that, I'll always be thankful."
  • When his Dad would come home from those hot, steamy St. Louis afternoons of playing baseball for the Cardinals, Terry would be in front of the door with a baseball glove for both he and his father.

    "I'd have my glove waiting and a glove for him," said Terry Francona. "And he'd go out and play catch with me or hit me fly balls. Then when I got older and I started playing, I remember thinking, 'My goodness, my Dad came home from the ballpark, he was exhausted, and he would play catch with me.' I waited for him on the doorstep. I never knew if he had played good or played bad when he got home. I hope that taught me a lot of lessons with my children."

  • Terry plays golf in his leisure time.
  • In 1989, Terry was signed by the Brewers as a free agent.
  • After the 1990 season, Terry underwent knee surgery that led to the end of his playing career.
  • In 1993, Terry was Baseball America's Minor League Manager of the Year while with the AA Birmingham Barons.
  • He married Jacqui Lang January 9, 1982. They have four children: Nick (born 7/11/85), Alyssa (4/7/87), Leah (1/27/89), and Jamie (11/25/94).

    In 2005 and 2006, Terry was paying about $70,000 per year for his son at the University of Pennsylvania and daughter at the University of North Carolina. He also had a daughter in high school and a daughter in middle school, so they are not far away from needing college money too.

  • Francona is utterly without pretense. He has absolutely no ego.
  • Terry sometimes plays cribbage with his players before games. Cribbage is a counting card game devised by the 17th-century English poet Sir John Suckling. It demands cunning, skill, experience, etiquette, and luck. Kind of like managing.
  • Francona has fought a long battle to stop chewing tobacco. According to coach Brad Mills, he has cut back a lot.

    "Now, it's just three chunks of bubble gum, with just a little bit of chewing tobacco mixed in," Mills said near the end of the 2007 season. "The thing is, Tito doesn't chew at all between the end of the season and Opening Day."

  • May 13-14, 2008: Terry missed a couple of games to be with family after Mary Ann Lang, the mother of Francona's wife, Jacque, succumbed to cancer.
  • 2004 World Series: Terry became the third manager in four years to win a World Series in his first year as a manager. The others were Bob Brenly (Arizona) and Jack McKeon (Florida).
  • March 5, 2015: Francona's red scooter that he rides around during training camp and to and from Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland during the regular season was wrecked recently by a team employee during a promotional video shoot.

    Francona was pleased to report that the unnamed rider is doing fine, but his two-wheeled vehicle is going to require some maintenance.

    "It's in the shop," he said, "as is the kid."

    Francona didn't reveal the exact nature of the scooter's problems, but indicated it could be some time before the motorized bike is back on the streets.

  • Tito switched from chewing tobacco to bubble gum a few years ago. And he chews a lot of the sugary confection.

    Asked how many pieces he puts in his mouth, Terry started computing, wanting to give an honest answer, then said, "Probably 80 pieces, average, but if it is a very close game, a few more. If not, less."

  • Memorial Day means a little more to Terry these days. Appreciation for the annual holiday grew for him after his son, Nick, joined the U.S. Marines and served overseas. Francona said he knows this day should have carried more weight for him years earlier.

    "For right or wrong, my feelings probably changed when my son went into the Marines," Francona said. "I probably started to be a little more respectful of days like this than I probably should've been all along. I know during the National Anthem, I probably think more about things that maybe I should've [thought about] a long time ago."

    In 2011, Nick Francona served in Afghanistan as the commander of a Marine brigade's scout-sniper platoon. The son of the Cleveland manager currently works in the player development department for the Dodgers, following a stint in the Angels' front office during the 2014 season.

    Since taking over as the Indians' manager in 2013, Francona has helped with a "Friends of Francona" program that hosts members of the military or first responders for each Sunday home game.

    "Back in generations before me, you didn't sign up. You had to go," he said. "Now, that's not the case. People volunteer. And I think what's kind of neat is, they refer to people as heroes. But, what they are, are regular people that choose to do something that helps us live our life how we want to.

    "I guess that's what makes a hero. That's pretty cool. Unfortunately, along the way, people lose their lives, they have injuries that hurt their way of life. It's difficult to understand, but hopefully it's not just today that we remember." (Bastian - mlb.com - 5/25/15)

  • Terry said his father never quite understood why the nickname made it to a second generation. "Tito" is what the elder Francona was called since his youth, and it is now what friends and family, and even players in the clubhouse, often use for the Indians' manager.

    "Because I care about my dad so much," Terry Francona said, "I always took it as a compliment."

    Little Tito was back with his team following the funeral of his dad, John "Tito" Francona, on February 17, 2018, in New Brighton, Pa.  Tito, who suited up for the Indians from 1959-1964, died at his home.  He was 84. That created a somber tone to the early portion of Spring Training around the team's complex.F rancona cherishes his memories with his dad, but said he is especially grateful for the past five years.

    Tito Francona only spent six years of his career in a Cleveland uniform, but he quickly became a fan favorite. He nearly won a batting title in 1959—the same year Terry was born. And he was an American League All-Star in 1961. Tito was at the media conference when his son was named the 42nd manager in club history before the 2013 season. In the years since, he watched as many games as he could, called his son often, and made the drive from New Brighton when he could take in games in person.

    In 2016, Tito threw out the ceremonial first pitch in the Indians' first playoff game, when they came one win shy of the franchise's first World Series title since 1948. He was the first person to call Terry when the Tribe clinched the pennant that year, and Little Tito badly wanted to win it all, not only for the city, but given his father's ties to the organization.

    "Cleveland's as close to family, a familial feeling, as you can get in a professional setting for him and myself," Francona said. "My son did kind of a eulogy and he mentioned that, like what a fitting way to kind of wind down your life, being that happy."

    Over the past several days, Francona has tried to return every message left from people who knew his dad. He was overwhelmed by the notes that flooded in.  "When you play for nine teams and you're a good guy," Francona said, "you're going to know a lot of people."

    Francona grew up in a big league clubhouse. It was his dad's teammates who dubbed him "Little Tito" long ago, and that remains where he is most comfortable. There is another season at hand. Terry knows Tito would not want his him to be distracted by anything else.

    "It's so nice to be back," Francona said. "I went back for two days to be with my family and then I came back here to kind of be with my family. I care about the game, I respect the game, I love the game, because of my dad. I guarantee you that. He taught me to care about baseball so deeply. I got that right from him."  (Bastian - mlb.com = 2/19/18)     

    TITO GOES SKYDIVING 

  • March 17, 2019: With final roster cuts nearing, vacancies in the outfield that still need to be addressed and bullpen spots to fill, where would be a better place to clear your thoughts than 14,000 feet in the air? Yes, crunch time is just around the corner as the Indians enter their final days in Goodyear. It’s a time where players on the bubble start gripping the bat a little tighter as anxiety and tension grow to make the final cut. But before the big decisions need to be made, manager Terry Francona experienced some nerves of his own as he strapped a parachute to his back to skydive for the first time.

    Francona happened to be swimming at the same pool as some Navy SEALs who had talked about their skydiving experiences, which piqued the manager’s interest. He had the Indians’ vice president of baseball learning and development, Jay Hennessey (who served 25 years in the United States Navy), do some research around the area to find the best skydiving companies. After the Indians’ win against the Rockies, Francona headed to Skydive Buckeye, 21 miles from Goodyear Ballpark. When he arrived, he had to go through three pages of paperwork, which he said was like signing his life away.

    “I thought that was interesting, when I went out there, [bench coach Brad Mills] moved all his [stuff] into my office. Maybe they’re trying to tell me something,” Francona said, laughing.

    Francona received a quick briefing, then got strapped in and headed to the plane. According to Skydive Buckeye’s website, it takes about 15-20 minutes for the plane to get up to approximately two miles in the air.

    “As soon as we took off, he went straight up,” Francona said. “I thought we were going down. I was like, ‘[Dang], I didn’t even get to jump.’ But it was intense.”

    Francona was attached to his instructor on the flight, sitting on his lap. Once the plane hit the desired altitude, the tandem made their way to the edge of the plane.

    “For me, to get out of the plane was the hardest thing,” Francona said. “He’s like, ‘Pull your legs up.’ And I’m like, ‘They are!’ But they open the door and that wind comes . . . and you’re like, ‘Oh my god.’ “But then I got my feet out on the strut, and I was OK. I wasn’t panicked. But I started to ask him something about when we’re going, and all of a sudden the plane is over there! It’s amazing, what goes through your mind. All the stupid stuff you’ve done in your life.”

    The free fall lasted about 45 seconds, but Francona said he couldn’t fully enjoy it because of the air pressure and wind causing his face to blow back around his head. If he’d do it again, he’d use a helmet to block that all out.

    “You know when you clinch the division and they pour champagne on your head? After like three seconds, you’re like, enough,” Francona said. “Try that for 45 seconds. I thought my head was going to explode.”

    Although it may have felt like an eternity in the moment, the 45 seconds blew past and Francona quickly forgot about the pressure in his head when the parachute was pulled, causing a painful jolt. But then, a sudden rush of peace came over him as he began his four-minute float down to land. But the ground came up quickly.

    “You come in, man, kind of hot,” Francona said. “I mean, it’s all gravel. I’m like, ‘[Dang], man. That’s going to hurt.’ And then you just walk right into it. It was unbelievable.” (M Bell - MLB.com - March 17, 2019)

  • Oct 7, 2020: Clinching a postseason berth didn’t include the same type of celebration in 2020. But for Indians manager Terry Francona, it was even more foreign. He wasn’t in the dugout or with his team. Instead, he was back at the hotel when front office personnel stopped by his room with a postseason hat to celebrate for five minutes.

    As strange as it seems, it was a moment that brought a tremendous amount of joy to Francona, who may not have been able to envision having an experience like that just weeks prior.

    “For a couple weeks there, I was not just away from the game, I was away from everything,” Francona said. “It was getting a little hairy there.”

    Francona's health issues began early in the year, as gastrointestinal problems sidelined him a few times during Spring Training. From the time baseball was suspended due to the COVID-19 outbreak until Summer Camp began in July, Francona estimates that he was put under anesthesia nine or 10 times for procedures.

    “It took its toll,” Francona said. “When we started our second Spring Training, there was a couple weeks there where I actually felt pretty good. … But then it kind of went the other way pretty quickly.”

    No one knew just how bad it was going to get.

    Francona left the team Aug. 2, right before first pitch in Minnesota, leaving Sandy Alomar Jr. to fill in as manager. Francona had a few appointments at the Cleveland Clinic then returned to the club a week later, when the Indians were determining what to do with starters Mike Clevinger and Zach Plesac after they broke team protocols in Chicago.

    “I just felt like I really needed to be there to help through that period,” Francona said.

    Five days later, Francona realized something was very wrong. He had been chalking up some of his symptoms to aggravating a hernia, but when his right leg became too swollen to wear a shoe, he knew the hernia wasn’t the problem.

    “That last day in Detroit, I couldn't get my shoe on and I was fidgety, and everybody was noticing,” Francona said. “Even though we were winning the game, [replay coordinator Mike Barnett] said I was dropping F-bombs. I was just really uncomfortable.”

    Francona immediately returned to the Cleveland Clinic and learned he had a blood clot. But similar to the blood clot issue he had in 2002, this time around there was not just one. Francona said he re-clotted three more times after he underwent his first procedure. He needed three surgeries in five days and spent four days in the ICU.

    “I was feeling pretty lousy, and I just couldn’t figure out why, and it made a heck of a lot more sense when it was explained to me,” Francona said. “I don’t want to go through that anymore, though. I don’t know why it happened, but I certainly don’t want to go through it again.”

  • When he was well enough to return to his apartment, Francona was back to watching Indians games on TV. Because he lived just a few blocks away from the ballpark, he was able to hear the celebratory fireworks after a win. That’s when it became difficult to accept that he couldn’t be with his team.

    “As happy as I was, it also brought home the fact that I was two blocks away, but probably could have been 2,000 miles away for all I was helping,” Francona said.

    In those moments, it was easy for Francona to consider retiring at the end of this season. But Francona said he did his best not to think in that manner. In the meantime, he tried to help Alomar from afar, but mostly wanted to stay out of his way.

    “I thought [Alomar] was tremendous,” Francona said. “The biggest thing I told him was, 'Don’t look over your shoulder. Don’t try to do what you think I would do.' That makes it too hard. His wealth of knowledge is not just as a first-base coach helping the runners or helping our catchers; he understands the game extremely well.”

    Now that Francona is cleared to return home to Arizona and begin light activities, he fully expects to be back in his managerial role next season. He said it was difficult not to feel guilty during this past season, knowing he couldn’t physically do his job, but is ready to be back at the helm in 2021 with the organization that took such great care of him over the past few months.

    “I don't think I need to get sick to know that I'm a lucky person and value the relationships I have and things like that,” Francona said. “I understand, and I love where I'm at. Everybody that's around me knows that. I love the people I work with and work for. And that doesn't change; it just probably continues to grow stronger. But I want to be able to hold up my end of the bargain.” (M Bell - MLB.com - Oct 7, 2020)

  • July 21, 2021:  Terry picked up his 721st career win as the Indians manager.  That ties Mike Hargrove for the second-most wins in franchise history.  He's on the heels of taking sole possession of first place, as he needs just eight more to pass Lou Boudreau (728) for the most victories all time by a Cleveland skipper.

  • Sept 7, 2021:  Indians manager Terry Francona underwent his second surgery since he stepped away from the team. He already had hip surgery and recovered well enough to get back to the ballpark to watch a few innings with front office personnel in the suites. Now, he’ll be starting the process of bouncing back from a staph infection in his left foot that’s been troubling him since last offseason.

    The surgery was to fix his left big toe that had become infected during the offseason. Tito will need months to recover from the surgery.

    “I think it’s the right thing to do because he’ll be able to have time in the offseason when he’s not up against the clock trying to get to Spring Training, and you know, if there’s any setbacks, here he is in Spring Training trying to function the way he does, so I thought it was the right thing to do. This is a big step today and he’ll get through this and he’s kind of on the rehab period and I think it’s going to work well. Get around the holidays and Thanksgiving, all should be good and that’s what I’m praying for and hoping for, for sure.” (M Bell - MLB.com - Sept 7, 2021)

  • March 14, 2022: When Cleveland manager Terry Francona announced that he had to take a leave of absence that led to him missing the final two months of the 2021 season, he appeared defeated.

    Francona had just gone through a year of stomach problems and dangerous blood clots. Then, as the new year arrived, he underwent a surgery on his left foot to try to keep a staph infection at bay until he could get another procedure at the end of the season.

    Francona was determined to try to grind his way through the year without leaving his team for the second consecutive season, but he couldn’t make it through the end of July.

    “He laughed and said, ‘I didn’t think you’d get through Spring Training,’” Francona said. “I was like, 'Thanks for telling me.’ He said, ‘I was just waiting for you to pull the plug.’”

    Francona had no other option but to do just that. He struggled to get to the mound to make pitching changes. He couldn’t get out to the dugout during pregame activities because of the number of steps it would take to get there from his office. His boot (and the pain in his foot in general) caused him to limp, which prompted more hip pain than he already had, as well as back discomfort. And his stomach problem from 2020 returned; he just chose not to tell anyone.

    “Everything was hard from like waking up in the morning,” Francona said. “You've got to put a baggie over your foot to take a shower. You’ve got to sit on a stool besides all the other things, the blow drying and all the other stuff I have to do. It takes time. Nothing was easy. When the game was over, I would look at the stool and I was like, 'I've got to go get a plastic garbage bag and I’ve got to tape it.' Everything was hard and it kind of wore on me.”

  • Like in 2020, Francona realized things were starting to get out of hand when his mood and attitude would take dramatic shifts. And it was then that he realized he needed to step away. “You know one of the biggest things I’ve found was I was getting short with people,” Francona said. “In this job, you’ve got to be patient, and I was losing my patience.”

    Francona announced his leave of absence and immediately went in for hip surgery. The procedure went smoothly, and within a week or two, he already started to feel better. But the staph infection in his foot was a completely different animal.

    After having that procedure, Francona was required to go without putting weight on his leg for weeks before slowly working his way into everyday activities. Even if the progression was slow, it was still positive, meaning the opportunity to return to his beloved position was on the table for 2022. And by the time Thanksgiving and Christmas rolled around, he decided to commit to being Cleveland's manager again.

    “When you miss a couple years in a row, and you start to get to a certain age, you start to question maybe a little bit,” Francona said. “I don’t want to let people down, either. It’s not just about me, and I was feeling like, ‘Hey, I need to be able to answer the bell here.’ So I worked pretty hard. There’s only so much you can do though with a toe. It’s not like you can do pushups. You can’t go jogging. So it’s kind of hard.”

    Francona focused on his physical therapy and got himself in a position to report to camp around the same time that the Minor Leaguers did earlier this month, with two shoes on his feet rather than a boot. He’s more mobile than he was last year at this time, but he knows his situation is constantly fluid. The only thing that Francona is focused on now is remaining healthy to best lead his team in his 10th season in Cleveland. When he manages his first game in 2022, he’ll do so as the winningest skipper in franchise history, as the victories the team had last year under interim manager DeMarlo Hale get credited to Francona’s record.

    “I’m not very comfortable with that,” Francona said of how he’ll be collecting his wins. “I swear to you, I didn’t do this for that. I love what I do. I just want us to play well and play the game right and have our guys act right. That’s what I get a big kick out of." (M Bell - MLB.com - March 14, 2022)

  • Nov 15, 2022: Tito was named the American League Manager of the Year. It’s the third time Francona has won the honors -- all with Cleveland (2013, ’16). Only Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and 2022 National League winner Buck Showalter have won four. Francona received 17 first-place votes and nine second-place votes.
Batting

PLAYING CAREER NOTES

  • Terry's father, Tito, and Jerry Kindall, now coach at Arizona, became close friends while teammates with the Indians for almost three years. Thus, when Terry was ready for college baseball, his Dad sent him to Kindall at Arizona.
  • Terry had hit .769 his junior year at New Brighton High School in Pennsylvania, still the second-highest batting average in prep history.
  • In his three years at the University of Arizona, Francona led them to a College World Championship in 1980, his junior year, and also won the Golden Spikes Award.
  • In 1978, Terry toured Italy with Team USA and became a favorite of their fans. At first, it was because of his Italian name, but he soon became a favorite for his play and the way he'd throw nearly 100 baseballs into the stands every game.
  • Terry played 10 seasons in the Majors, for 5 teams: the Expos (1981-1985), Cubs (1986), Reds (1987), Indians (1988), and Brewers (1989-1990).
  • Francona sprayed base hits to all parts of the field. There was no sure-fire way to get him out because when he was in a groove he hit just about everything. He had an uncanny ability to find a hole.

    He would hit the ball to the left field corner one at-bat, and to the right field corner in the next at-bat.

  • He just loved to hit and he usually didn't take too many pitches. He liked to swing away, so any pitcher who liked to dangle bait on the outside of the plate would often find a willing fish in Terry.
  • He did not do well coming off bench. But he worked hard at improving as a pinch-hitter.
  • The same for the outfield. Francona had a below average arm, but could catch anything that came his way. He had fair range early in his playing career.
  • Terry had originally planned to play for 10–15 years, earn his millions of dollars, and then retire to a life of leisure, playing golf as often as he could. But things changed as Terry's 10-year career drew to a close. 

    "As I got older and started pinch-hitting, I started to pay more attention to the game," Francona recalls. "I learned I enjoyed the game. I thought (after being injured) that I would be productive enough to play every day. And I just wasn't. I think maybe (the injuries) taught me to maybe evaluate myself better."

    He was never an everyday player again after 1984. He was a two-tool player in a game continually searching for the next five-tool player. So when his injury-hampered career finally ended, Terry moved off the field and into the dugout.

    "After I got released by the Cardinals, I still enjoyed the game. I just wasn't able to play. Baseball was what I'd done my whole life."

  • Francona was known for his upbeat attitude as a player, despite all the frustrations he endured.
Fielding

POST PLAYING-CAREER

  • 1992: Terry's first managerial position was with South Bend (MWL-White Sox).
  • 1993-1995: He managed Birmingham (SL-White Sox) for three seasons. In 1993, his first year there, he was named Southern League Manager of the Year and Baseball America's Manager of the Year.
  • In 1994, Baseball America rated Terry as the top minor league manager with the best qualifications to be named skipper of a Major League team.
  • 1996: He became the third base coach for the Tigers.
  • October 1996: The Phillies signed Terry as manager for 1997.
  • 1997-1999: He got a contract extension from the Phillies.
  • 1998-2000: The Phillies again extended Terry's contract.  But they fired him the last day of the 2000 season. He had become a lightning rod for fan discontent and was booed every time he stepped on the field.

    For Francona in Philadelphia, it really was a lot like it was for Bobby Bragan back in the 1960s. When Bragan replaced Birdie Tebbetts as manager of the Milwaukee Braves in 1963, he opened his desk drawer to find two envelopes, marked No. 1 and No. 2. Taped to them was this note from Tebbetts to his successor: "Open only in emergencies."

    By Bragan's second season, the Braves had not only failed to improve, they were worse than ever. At wit's end, Bragan opened the first envelope, and found this message: "Blame it on me." The team continued to fall like a stone. Desperate, Bragan opened envelope No. 2, to find this: "Prepare two envelopes."

  • 2000: Francona joined the Indians organization as a special assistant to baseball operations.
  • October 2001: Terry accepted the position as manager of Team USA.
  • 2002: Francona was the Bench Coach for the Texas Rangers.
  • 2003: Francona joined the Oakland A's as Bench Coach under manager Ken Macha.
  • December 4, 2003: Francona was named Boston's manager for 2004, the 44th manager of the Red Sox. 

    His contract called for a base salary of $500,000 for 2004. But after leading Boston to its first World Series title since 1918, he was to make $550,000 in 2005 and $600,000 (plus a $650,000 bonus) in 2006. 

  • March 14, 2006: Francona agreed to a two-year contract extension with the Red Sox. And he got a bonus for 2006—a whopping $650,000. His salary in 2007 and 2008 were for $1.65 million and $1.75 million, respectively.
  • February 24, 2008: The Red Sox was rewarded with a three-year contract extension, through the 2011 season. And the club has two options, for the 2012 ($4.2 million) and 2013 ($4.5 million) seasons, with a $750,000 buyout.
  • December 2011: Francona joined ESPN as a Baseball Analyst.
  • October 6, 2012: The Indians and Francona agreed to a four-year contract for Terry to be the Tribe's manager. (Cleveland went 68-94 in 2012 with Manny Acta as manager.)

    During the news conference announcing he was going to be the manager of the Tribe in 2013, Terry laughed when asked if the smaller media landscape in Cleveland was attractive to him, considering he spent his previous two managerial stints in Philadelphia and Boston.

    "No, I didn't come here to go to pasture," Francona said. "I was either going to work here or go back and work at ESPN. I came here again, because I'm not afraid of a challenge, and the people here that I'm doing it with. I thought I was treated very well by the media in Boston."

  • November 4, 2014: The Indians and Terry signed a two-year extension, through the 2018 season. The deal includes club options for the 2019 and 2020 seasons. Francona's previous contract was set to expire in 2016.

  • April 3, 2019: Cleveland announced a two-year contract extension for Francona, keeping him with the organization through 2022.

    TERRY'S TEACHERS

  • Terry played for college baseball for fundamentals expert Jerry Kindall at the University of Arizona, so Francona was well-schooled in baseball before his decade-long career as a big league player and now professional manager. "I didn't realize it at the time, but Coach Kindall taught baseball very fundamentally.

    "I played for Bill Virdon, Jim Fanning, Dick Williams, Buck Rodgers, Pete Rose—people who knew the game," Terry says. "I played for a guy in Triple A at Louisville named Gaylen Pitts. He's now a coach in St. Louis. I learned something from everybody. Hanging around that much, I tried to keep my ears open, my eyes open. You can't help but take some things in." 

  • Terry said Bill Virdon was blatantly honest with his players and Pete Rose had a great knowledge of the game.

  • Francona learned the effect that tolerance and freedom had on players, even from Kindall, a strict disciplinarian. One day during an Arizona road trip, Brad Mills, now a manager in the Rockies' system, but then an Arizona teammate, joined other team members who bound and gagged Francona naked in a chair, covered him with shoe polish, set him in front of Kindall's hotel room door, knocked, and ran away.

    "Hi, Terry. How are you?" Kindall said with a smile. "Urmff! Augff! Rorff!" Francona tried to speak through the rags in his mouth. "That's nice, Terry. Hey, tomorrow's a big game. Sleep well," Kindall said, shutting his door.

  • He has an excellent rapport with his players and makes sure they know their roles. As Chris Snopek, one of Terry's players at Birmingham in 1994 said, "The only thing he asks for is hustle, that you play hard. If you don't play hard or are lazy, that gets to him. That really pisses him off. He can be a great guy, he can be a funny guy.  But when he gets pissed off, everybody shuts up and listens."

    In 1994, he found himself managing basketball convert Michael Jordan. "I got to experience new situations that most managers will never get a chance to.  I tried to be organized, because every day something unexpected came up," Francona said.  Whether it was Charles Barkley showing up in the locker room after a game or the media frenzy following each of Jordan's appearances in minor league cities, Terry smiled and handled the intrusions head-on. 

    "Michael was so easy to deal with," Francona says. "He is very conscientious, and he treated the young guys incredibly well. I can see why he has been so outstanding at what he does."

  • The day of his first regular season game as manager of the Red Sox, he had to deal with their pitching ace. Angered by Pedro Martinez breaking protocol and bolting from Camden Yards before the game ended after he pitched in a 7-2 loss on Opening Day in Baltimore, Francona privately engaged in a long, heated argument with Martinez the next day. But the manager never publicly criticized his star pitcher, instead blaming himself for the transgression. That went a long way with Pedro and his teammates. They knew they had a skipper who'd cover for their transgressions.
  • Terry is careful about his attitude in front of his players. "When these players come in here (the clubhouse), they don't deserve to see me sitting here pouting. When I hit the door, I think that they deserve to see me charged up and ready to go, no matter how I feel.  If they see me with my head on the table, what are they going to think? I need to be upbeat and positive and tell them how we're going to get better."

  • In 2016, Tito was the AL Manager of the Year. Terry led the Indians to the World Series, but lost to the Cubs in Game 7.

  • Dec 1, 2016: The Indians lean heavily on Terry when it comes to making roster decisions. During the Winter Meetings, team president Chris Antonetti and his front-office team will have to keep Francona looped in via phone calls and texts.

    MLB.com confirmed that Francona will miss the 2016 Winter Meetings while recovering from right hip surgery, which he underwent shortly after the conclusion of the World Series. The manager joked about the procedure.

    "I've had both knees done and now my right hip," Francona said. "So, if I can get my left one done, then I'll be fully bionic." (J Bastian - MLB.com - Dec 1, 2016)

Running

MANAGERIAL/COACHING TRAITS

  • Terry is a player's manager and doesn't mind the label. "I don't hide the fact that I like the players," Francona says. "The guys are young and need supervision, but they're great to be around.  This is the best part of their lives, trying to get to the big leagues."
  • Francona notes: "Players today are bigger, stronger and faster, but there's less emphasis on learning the game.  Now, you have to teach at the Major League level because you get guys who are not completely prepared to play in the Major Leagues."
  • Terry says, "I played for 6 organizations and 18 different managers, and I've learned a little from all of them."
  • He is an aggressive manager, applying pressure to the opposition by having his players take some chances on the basepaths.
  • Francona is a stickler for defensive fundamentals.  Few teams work as hard at it during the spring.
  • A persistent criticism when he was manager of the Phillies was that Francona was too close to his players.
  • Terry is a nice guy. If you can't get along with Terry, you can't be gotten along with, period. But he can also lay the law down, when that is needed.
  • Francona credits his father, Tito Francona, an outstanding big league hitter in the 1950s, and Terry's Wildcats coaching staff of Jerry Kindall, Jim Wing, and Jerry Stitt for his success in baseball.

    "What do those guys mean to me? How much time do you have?" Francona asked. "Coach Kindall made a big difference in my life and in my career. And you know what? Some people have a perception of him as this stern character, but he leaves some of the funniest messages on my telephone-answering machine. My Dad and those coaches taught me to respect the game of baseball, and to respect people. I've been lucky to be around them."

  • Terry frequently repeats the phrase: Stay in the moment. That simple message can serve a team equally well when things are going good or bad.

    "We preach so much to stay in the moment," Francona said. "What we did last week is gone. What we're going to do, or have to try to do next week, if you look at it, you kind of get overwhelmed. I just think it's the right way to do it."

  • One of Francona's first lessons about managing came in his rookie year in Montreal, under noted curmudgeon Dick Williams. Francona admits to being scared of Williams—but scaring people is not one of Francona's strengths. Approachability is. Williams, Francona decided, was just not his type.

    Another lesson came from his Dad. When Terry was hired in Philadelphia, Tito told him, "Never lie to the players." He took that advice seriously. There's also this from longtime manager Chuck Tanner: Look with one eye and hear with one ear. In other words, know what to let slide. (Sean Deveney-The Sporting News-10/01/07)

  • In October 2007, Francona became the only manager in the storied history of the Red Sox to take the club to the postseason three times.

    Bill Carrigan, Joe Morgan, and Jimy Williams all guided Boston to the postseason twice.

    October 2007 was the 18th time the Red Sox have been a participant in postseason play, ranking them third behind the Yankees (44) and A's (23) for the most in AL history.

  • September 30, 2011: Terry and the Red Sox agreed to part ways. He met with owner John Henry, chairman Tom Werner, team president Larry Lucchino, general manager Theo Epstein and assistant GM Ben Cherington at Fenway Park. 

    Epstein initially put out a statement saying all sides wanted to think about the meeting and no announcement was forthcoming, but then a statement came out in the evening in which Francona indicated it was his decision to move on.

    "I've always maintained that it is not only the right, but the obligation of ownership, to have the right person doing this job," he said. "I told them that out of my enormous respect for this organization and the people in it, they may need to find a different voice to lead the team.

    "In my eight seasons as manager of the Red Sox, I have developed a tremendous appreciation for Red Sox Nation. This is a special place with some of the most knowledgeable and passionate fans in all of baseball. They packed Fenway Park for every game, and because of them I had a special sense of pride coming to work every day."

  • In 2012, Francona worked as a baseball analyst for ESPN. He really enjoyed seeing the game from a different perspective, but near the end of the season, really had a hankering for getting back on the field as a manager.

  • In 2013, Tito took the reins of the Cleveland Indians. And won AL Manager of the Year.

    Francona, who'd never received even one first-place vote as manager of the Red Sox, won in a close vote by the Baseball Writers' Association of America panel. He edged old friend John Farrell of the World Series champion Red Sox, 112 points to 96.

    "I have a feeling he wouldn't trade what they did for this any day of the week," Francona said.

  • Oct 8, 2016: Indians manager Terry Francona does not throw the pitches or swing the bat. He plays the percentages. Francona is the man behind the curtain, pulling the levers and looking like a managerial wizard as Cleveland sits on the cusp of taking down the mighty Red Sox.

    Two games into the 2016 American League Division Series, Francona has had the Midas touch. His unconventional bullpen usage stole the show in Game 1. A lineup decision that strayed from his norm helped win Game 2. One more victory, and the Indians will return to the AL Championship Series for the first time in nine years.

    "If there's anybody better," said Chris Antonetti, the Indians president of baseball operations, "I'm not sure I've been around him."

    Francona's skill in the dugout is no secret to the Red Sox.  It was Francona, after all, who came to Boston in 2004 and helped end the city's 86-year-old World Series dry spell. He then guided Boston to a second title three years later, addressing the drought with a surplus of champagne.

    In Boston, though, Francona had the benefit of deep pockets, elite pitching and power hitters. In Cleveland, the manager has really had to flex his managerial muscles under the kind of payroll restraints that can hold the best of clubs back. Francona won the AL Manager of the Year Award for his work with the Tribe in 2013 and he may be on the verge of taking home another trophy, as this year may have been his biggest test yet.

    "It's a total package," Indians relief ace Andrew Miller said of Francona. "It's his ability to communicate with anybody. It doesn't matter if it's a pitcher, a position player, or where they're from, whatever it is. It's his ability to put guys in positions to succeed. They brought him in for a good reason." (J Bastian - MLB.com - Oct 8, 2016) (Editor's note: The Indians beat the Red Sox three games to none in the 2016 ALDS.)

  • Nov 4, 2016: It can be difficult at times to accurately gauge the impact of a manager. That was not the case for the Indians this year. Throughout the regular season, and especially during Cleveland's incredible and improbable run to the World Series, Terry Francona's influence was apparent.

    The Indians rewarded Francona for a managerial masterpiece, picking up the 2019 and 2020 team options in his contract to keep him at the helm for at least another four years. If the past four seasons are any indication, Cleveland's roster, which appears built to contend for the foreseeable future, is in great hands.

    "He did a masterful job," said Chris Antonetti, the Indians' president of baseball operations. "The way in which Tito is constantly thinking about how to place individual players in a position to be successful, to most impact the team, is always extraordinary. He does that first and foremost by building really deep relationships with guys, where they know he cares and he has their best interest in mind, and he's always going to find a way for them to be the best versions of themselves.

    "I think just to focus on the job he's done in the postseason is selling Tito short. He's done that from the day he got here. As high as our expectations were for Tito when we hired him, he's gone beyond that, having had the chance to work with him and work alongside him every day. We're really fortunate to have him." (J Bastian - MLB.com - Nov 4, 2016)

  • When Terry was  informed that former Indians executive-turned-Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins refers to him as “inclusive” in his approach, Francona jokingly asked, “What’s inclusive mean?”

    Once the laughter subsided, he explained precisely why his approach works for him.

    “I had the good fortune of playing for 16 major league managers, and part of that was because I wasn’t very good,” Francona said. “But that’s a lot of ideas and a lot of personalities, and you learn a lot.

    “I was with Dallas Green where he’d walk in and he could command that room just by staring at you. I can’t do that, so we do it a lot of times with humor." (Jerry Crasnick - Baseball America - November 4, 2016)

  • In 2016, Francona was named the AL Manager of the Year by the BWAA.

  • April 3, 2019: Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti and the club announced a two-year contract extension for Francona, keeping the manager with the organization through 2022. Francona is in his seventh season at the helm of the Tribe and 19th overall in his managerial career. The 59-year-old skipper has led the Indians to the American League’s best record (547-427) since beginning his tenure in 2013.

    Under his leadership, the club has won three consecutive AL Central titles, the AL pennant in 2016 and appeared in the postseason four times. Francona currently ranks sixth in career managerial wins in the 119-year history of the franchise, while his .562 career winning percentage is third-best in club history.

    “Simply put, Tito has been a transformational leader, who has not only impacted our Major League clubhouse, but also the entire organization,” Antonetti said in a team release. “Our relationship has been truly collaborative, and we are all fortunate to have a future Hall of Fame manager guiding our team as we continue to pursue our ultimate goal of bringing a World Series to the city of Cleveland.”

  • 2023 Season: Francona confirmed in an end-of-the-year media session that he’s planning to be back as Cleveland’s manager in 2023. All of the details of his contract are not worked out yet, as he has yet to sign a deal, but he knows it’s best to stick to one-year contracts for the rest of his career (however long that may be) given his health situation. “There was never a question in our minds of Tito returning,” Guardians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “It was more just on what made sense for him.” (M Bell - MLB.com - Oct 21, 2022)

  • Oct 1, 2023: Francona announced his retirement from MLB after the 2023 season with the Guardians.
Career Injury Report
  • 1982: In what would have been his first full Major League season, Terry had surgery that ended his season. Scarred knees limited his mobility on the bases. But what Terry lacked in speed, he made up for with hustle.

    First base was his only position late in his career, because of knee surgery. At first base, he had good enough instincts to make the big glove play when the need arose. But overall he was below-average defensively.

  • November 26, 1997: Terry underwent arthroscopic surgery to repair his left knee.

  • October 11, 2002: Francona went into a Philadelphia-area hospital to get his knees cleaned out. But a couple of weeks later, things went horribly wrong.

    He experienced chest pains in a hotel room in Seattle the night before he was to interview for the job as Mariners' manager. "I was thinking, 'Aw, you've got to be kidding,'" Francona said. "I came all the way out here to have a heart attack? I should have just done that at home."

    Francona went through the interview process, but said he had to ask Pat Gillick, who was then the Mariners' GM, to repeat several questions. The pain persisted upon his return home to Philadelphia, and X-rays revealed a pulmonary embolism on each side of his lungs. "They told me I was lucky," said Francona, who was given blood thinners to avert further clotting. Terry spent most of November and December in a hospital bed, fighting off the effects of staph infections and blood clots in his lungs that resulted from his initial knee surgery the month before. There were two ensuing surgeries and scary moments.

    In the middle of his haze, he says he had one lucid moment. Francona saw his wife, Jacque, and read her eyes. They spelled out concern. This was no nightmare. This was real. And very scary.

    "My wife's a nurse, and she doesn't get fazed a whole lot," Francona says. "But she was clearly nervous. That's when I thought that maybe I wasn't going to recover from this. I thought about death."

    Francona had developed staph infections in both knees and would need surgery, but because he was on blood thinners, the operation had to be delayed until his blood was thick enough to withstand the operation. It took two surgeries on each knee to eliminate the infection. Still unable to walk properly, he requested another examination, and within hours was back in emergency surgery, for massive internal bleeding in his right thigh. The surgery required an incision from the top of his thigh to his knee; amputation was narrowly averted.

    During a series of operations, a device known as a Greenfield filter was inserted inside Francona to prevent blood clots from reaching his lungs and heart. (Much of above research by Gordon Edes-Boston Globe-4/06/05)

  • April 6, 2005: Terry was feeling chest pains and walked out of Yankee Stadium with team trainer Jim Rowe at around 9:30 a.m. and entered a waiting ambulance that had been summoned by a 911 call. He was taken to Weill Cornell Medical Center, about 20 minutes from the stadium, for precautionary reasons, according to Glenn Geffner, the team's vice president of media relations.

    It took a couple of days, but doctors eventually concluded that Terry's discomfort was the result of a recent "viral illness." He was ordered to take a total of five days of rest, while being monitored, then was allowed to return to work on April 11, against the Yankees at Fenway Park. No serious heart problems were identified. He had a catheterization, in which a dye was injected to view any possible blockages in the heart.

  • November 9, 2005: Francona underwent right knee replacement surgery at Massachusetts General Hospital by Dr. David Burke under the auspices of Dr. Thomas Gill, the team's medical director.

    There is no cartilage remaining in his right knee, Francona said, which means bone rubbing on bone.

  • October 23, 2006: Terry had to be hospitalized with an infection in his left foot.

  • Francona has had 18 knee surgeries.

  • After the 2008 season, Francona had back surgery. The back problem had diminished feeling in his arms and was unable to stand up straight at times. He had been aware of the problem since May.

  • June 28, 2017: Terry was back at work. Only 48 hours after a medical scare that required an overnight stay at the Cleveland Clinic, he was right back to the wise-cracking, gum-munching Tito we know and love.  

    He repeated a joke about his health issues possibly being related to an allergy to bench coach Brad Mills, made a crack about a reporter's tie being so ugly that it was what caused the light-headedness that forced an early exit from an incredible comeback against the Rangers. And he was relieved when the pregame topics turned to baseball and away from the heart monitor newly strapped to his chest.  

    "The problem is my blood pressure has been going down," Francona explained, "and that makes my heart rate go too fast."  (Castrovince - mlb.com)

  • July 7, 2017: Terry had an irregular heartbeat addressed in a minor operation, and he is planning on rejoining the Indians in Oakland on July 14 for the start of the second half of the 2017 season.

    July 24, 2017: Francona underwent a procedure called a cardiac ablation geared to eliminate an accelerating heartbeat. Terry looks good and says he feels good. But he told MLB.com that he's still feeling the effects of what turned out to be a nine-hour procedure. Francona is taking a beta blocker medication, which slows the heart rate and lowers blood pressure. 

  • August 26, 2020:  Doctors at the Cleveland Clinic found clots in Terry's blood that required a last-minute procedure to insert a stent to help his blood flow.  “Tito is in the process of recovering from that,” president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti said. “The outlook is obviously very good, but he’s banged up from the procedure.” 

    Francona has been battling minor gastrointestinal issues over the past 11 months, which was the reason for his first absence from the Tribe from Aug. 2-9. After the team’s road series to Detroit (Aug. 14-16), he returned for more evaluations at the clinic. In that process, they realized he had some clotting in his veins.

    The Indians had been updating Francona’s status on a series-by-series basis and didn't speculate on a potential return date, but now the team has stated that it may take a while before Francona is able to get back to the ballpark.

    “He’s in the process of recovering, but he’s still pretty sore . . . in fact, very sore,” Antonetti said. “That’s not unexpected, but it will just take him a little while to feel better. So he’s on the path to recovery, but it may take a little bit of time for him to get back into the dugout.”  (Bell - mlb.com)

  • Nov 8, 2021: They say slow and steady wins the race and Cleveland manager Terry Francona is still optimistic that the phrase will ring true for him when Spring Training rolls around.

    After spending the last three months recovering from surgeries on his hip and left foot, Francona is hoping to be nearing the end of his time on crutches. He underwent his nine-week X-ray on his foot (which was repaired from a staph infection he was diagnosed with in January) to determine how many more weeks he’ll have to keep all weight off of his left leg. Once that report comes back, he’ll have a better idea of the rest of his recovery path this offseason.

    “I’ve been going to therapy, I'm trying to get healthy,” Francona said, when meeting with local media on Zoom. “I'm working. I'm trying to get myself positioned to where I can really be excited about baseball. I love it so much and I love where I do it so much, but I want to be able to enjoy it. So I've been working hard. And I'll be able to work harder, obviously, once I get rid of these damn crutches.”

  • Francona was cleared to return to his home in Arizona, where he’s been able to continue his physical therapy. His recovery following his hip procedure at the end of July was quick and seamless, allowing him to undergo the procedure on his left foot to insert eight pins and a rod soon after.

    “I don’t think I quite knew how extensive this last surgery was until after it was over,” Francona said. “My hip was a piece of cake. I mean my hip was a piece of cake. This has been hard.” (M Bell - MLB.com - Nov 8, 2021)

  • May 13, 2022: Terry contracted Covid-19.