Callaway Becomes 21st Manager in Mets History
By: Eric Ransom
Not even a month after their manager called it quits, the New York Mets have found their man.
As Terry Collins stepped down as manager upon the expiration of his contract, the Mets chose Mickey Callaway after a search, which included 35 possible candidates.
Just one round of interviews convinced the Mets front office that Callaway was a fantastic fit for the job.
Callaway was chosen over candidates like Alex Cora and Kevin Long, the Mets hitting coach and initial favorite for the position.
Callaway, 41, grew up in Memphis, Tennessee, and was a Major League pitcher from 1999-2004 for the (Devil) Rays, Angels and Rangers.
The new coach comes to Queens after five seasons as pitching coach with the Cleveland Indians, leading them to the best average team ERA in the American League during his tenure.
He also coached ace starting pitcher Corey Kluber, who won the AL Cy Young award in 2014, and is the favorite for the award this season as well.
Callaway certainly brings energy, passion, and a willingness to build comradery with his new organization.
“We’re going to care more about the players than anyone has ever had before. We’re going to know that they’re human beings, and individuals,” he said.
Communication, as well as the trust of his new players, were the focal points for Callaway, showing excitement to get to know each player personally in preparation for the upcoming season.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson said of the search, “We weren’t simply looking for a manager, we were looking for a leader. As I think of leadership, I think of two general requirements, one is professional competence, and the second is personal excellence.”
Alderson also added, “We planned on having a second round of interviews, but ended our first round and decided there was really only one man for the job. So, rather than going to a second round, we spent the rest of our time trying to convince Mickey (Callaway) to come to New York.”
The Amazin’s come off an incredibly disappointing season, finishing with a 70-92 record and missing the playoffs after reaching the postseason over the last two years.
Much has changed since the Mets reached the World Series in 2015, something the Mets, their fans and Callaway certainly hunger to get back to again.
Callaway knows what it’s like to lose a World Series after the defeat of the Indians at the hands of the Cubs in 2016, just one year after the Mets were defeated by the Royals.
After the Mets sold players like Jay Bruce, Curtis Granderson, Neil Walker and Lucas Duda last summer, Terry Collins decided it was time to step down as manager after seven seasons at the helm.
With many holes to fill, the Mets completed their first major goal of the offseason, quickly hiring Callaway for the role.
Mets pitcher Noah Syndergaard was one of the first players to express their approval of the hiring, taking to Twitter to express his positivity on his credentials, and his marvelous facial hair.
“Have heard nothing but great things about Mickey. Very excited to learn from him. Impeccable beard game as well,” he said.
It almost seems like Callaway was born for the job. Both he and his brother grew up in a baseball family, and both were named after New York baseball legends.
Callaway got his name “Mickey” after Yankee legend Mickey Mantle. His brother, Casey, got his name after Casey Stengel, another Yankee great, and most notably, the first manager in Mets history.
In fact, the inspiration for Callaway to consider being a coach derived from Stengel, telling the story of when Stengel took a pitching coach job while rehabbing his arm.
When Callaway had the Tommy John surgery that forced him to go into rehab, he followed in the footsteps of Stengel, taking a pitching coach job at a Division III college in Texas.
From there, Callaway grew to love coaching, and as his pitching career officially ended in 2008, Callaway began to focus on his next life in baseball.
After working his way up the ladder, Callaway will lead the Mets into next season with a fresh perspective and instilling a brand new culture.
The new look Mets and the rest of the MLB will begin Spring Training in February.