Is there an age limit for baseball managers?

New senior circuit

Phil Rogers

Chicago Tribune

Jack McKeon didn't get a four-year contract when the Marlins hired him to be their interim manager, so why not do what they're doing?

McKeon is clearly a bridge guy to Ozzie Guillen, Bobby Valentine or someone else with marketing appeal, and his love of life and passion for baseball will help make the rest of 2011 as enjoyable as possible for South Florida fans. Hiring him as a 72-year-old seemed crazy, and he helped the Marlins win a championship. Hiring him at 80 to be a bridge to their future in a glittering new stadium is much less of a challenge.

Wouldn't it be great to see a parking lot full of buses from senior residential homes in the parking lot at Sun Life Stadium? There should be no age limit in baseball.

progers@tribune.com

It's ability, not age

Kevin Baxter

Los Angeles Times

No one would think of banning someone from managing simply because they were too young. So why stop someone from doing the job because they've passed an arbitrary number on the other end?

Jack McKeon led Florida to a World Series title at 72 and took the Reds to a one-game playoff to decide the NL Central title when he was 68. Casey Stengel won a pennant with the Yankees at 69, the same age as Bobby Cox when his Braves made the playoffs as a wild-card team. No one thought they were too old.

Baseball's six-month schedule, which includes 162 games and tens of thousands of miles, is a test for young and old alike. But if someone's up for it, let their ability and performance determine whether they can do it, not their age.

kbaxter@tribune.com

Other than pilots …

Peter Schmuck

Baltimore Sun

Finally, a question for the ages. The notion that there is a specific number of years that would preclude a qualified candidate from doing any job goes against everything I believe in — except when I'm flying on an airplane. I'm not going to feel too comfortable with a 80-year-old pilot when it comes time to unstick the landing gear, but there aren't going to be a lot of lives hanging in the balance when Jack McKeon needs to slip back to the clubhouse for a can of Ensure.

Managing a baseball team is largely a human resources job, and there are plenty of times in a season when all that experience is going to come in handy. I just think that if McKeon is going to channel the late Connie Mack down in Florida, he ought to dress like him.

pschmuck@tribune.com

It's just a number

Joseph Schwerdt

Sun Sentinel

No one should be prevented from doing any job because of age. Ditch digger. Accountant. Baseball manager. If you can do the job, you can do the job.

Was Jack McKeon too old at age 72 in 2003 when he took over a struggling Marlins club? McKeon energized the Marlins all the way to a World Series victory. Howard Schnellenberger's career as a college football coach seemed over when he left Oklahoma after one disastrous season. Four years later, at 64, he began anew, building the program at Florida Atlantic University. FAU has two bowl wins under his leadership and this season, Schnellenberger, 77, will run through the tunnel of a new stadium.

Age is just a number. And in sports, the only number that matters is who's No. 1.

jwschwerdt@tribune.com

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