T.R.'s Memoirs: Rangers needed a GM after the 2001 season. Here's how they arrived at John Hart.
In Part II of the Dark Years series, T.R. Sullivan looks back at what appeared to be two-man search to replace Doug Melvin.
Editor’s note: T.R. Sullivan retired after 32 years over covering the Rangers, the longest tenure of any beat writer in club history. He is contributing his memories to our website. In the latest installment, T.R. recounts the hiring of John Hart as general manager after the 2001 season.
This is Part 2 covering the Dark Years of the Rangers, back in 2000-03 when they finished in last place four straight years.
The firing of Doug Melvin as Rangers general manager after the 2001 season was a shock to many people.
It is true the Rangers were coming off two last-place finishes and the club had not done well developing young starting pitching. But Melvin had been the architect of the first three division championship teams in club history, and that was not insignificant.
When manager Johnny Oates stepped down early in the 2001 season, Melvin replaced him with third-base coach Jerry Narron. At first, Narron was just the interim, but owner Tom Hicks soon made it permanent.
Melvin and Narron had been quite close going back to their time in the Orioles organization, and the move by Hicks led everybody to believe the two would be given an extended chance together in Texas. Now, with Melvin gone, Narron’s status was up in the air until a new general manager was hired.
Randy Galloway summed up Melvin’s dismissal by writing in the Fort Worth Star Telegram: “For starters, nobody wants to see an upfront, honest, classy and highly knowledgeable baseball man lose his job. Melvin was all of the above during seven years in Arlington.”
Galloway also advanced the idea that agent Scott Boras, who represented shortstop Alex Rodriguez, orchestrated the firing, a suggestion Hicks quickly denied. Boras also made it clear he had a high regard for Melvin and had nothing to do with the dismissal. But the Rangers certainly had no hesitation in signing Boras clients.