Piqued by a mountain of losses, Rockies push Baylor from dugout

SportsBaseballColorado RockiesMontreal ExposMilwaukee BrewersMiami MarlinsMike Lansing

The first casualty of the Colorado Rockies' losing season was Don Baylor-- the only manager the team has had in its six seasons.

"After a long, thorough and very difficult evaluation, we feel a change inchemistry is necessary on the field and in the clubhouse," owner JerryMcMorris said yesterday after firing his manager.

Despite the high-priced additions of pitcher Darryl Kile and secondbaseman Mike Lansing, the Rockies finished 77-85 -- their first losing seasonin four years.

"Major-league baseball has enjoyed a remarkable 1998 season, but all of usat the Rockies have been very disappointed in our own season," McMorris said."We didn't play like we expected to play."

Baylor, 49, a former Orioles outfielder, led the Rockies to a 440-469record. He was offered a position as vice president, reporting directly toMcMorris, but he did not immediately accept it.

With Baylor as the manager, the Rockies won 67 games in 1993, the most fora first-year NL team. They earned the NL wild-card playoff berth in 1995, thequickest an expansion team has made it to the postseason. The Rockies went83-79 in both 1996 and 1997 but slipped back this season.

Both Baylor and Bob Gebhard, the general manager since the Rockies'inception in 1993, were criticized all year after an eight-game slide in earlyApril.

Although Baylor will not return to the dugout, Gebhard will be back in thefront office. McMorris said the team also will create a vice president'sposition with broad player personnel responsibilities.

Among those reportedly being considered to replace Baylor are the FloridaMarlins' Jim Leyland, Montreal Expos' Felipe Alou and Milwaukee Brewers' PhilGarner.

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