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Angels Meet With, Like A’s Lefebvre

Times Staff Writer

Jim Lefebvre, third base coach of the Oakland Athletics, emerged from a Wednesday meeting with Angel owner Gene Autry and General Manager Mike Port as a leading candidate for the club’s vacant managerial position.

“I think it went very nicely,” Autry said after a 2-hour interview with Lefebvre in Los Angeles. “I’ve known Jimmy a long time and we had a very nice, long talk. We’ll probably know something by the middle of next week.”

Along with Lefebvre, Autry listed Doug Rader, former manager of the Texas Rangers, as a contender for the job. The Angels interviewed Rader this week and, according to Autry, the club plans to talk with three or four more candidates before deciding.

Autry’s relationship with Lefebvre dates back to Lefebvre’s playing days with the Dodgers in the late 1960s, but the owner claimed to be particularly impressed by Lefebvre’s work as a coach and minor league manager.

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Lefebvre managed in the minor leagues for 3 years, leading the Phoenix Firebirds to the Pacific Coast League title in 1985 and to the championship series in 1986. He spent the last 2 seasons as third base coach and hitting instructor for an Oakland team that has done a good bit of hitting in that time.

“Jimmy’s a very enthusiastic guy and he has a lot of experience,” Autry said. “He had a lot of ideas and opinions about what he wanted to with the team, so you have to listen to him. He’s someone you have to consider.”

Asked if he planned to schedule another session with Lefebvre, Autry said, “Well, we talked for at least 2 hours. I think I’ve got a pretty good latch on Jimmy. . . . Now, it’s just a matter to talking to a few more people.”

Jim Fregosi, former Angel and Chicago White Sox manager, has also been rumored as a candidate for the position, but Autry said no formal interview has been scheduled. “We might,” Autry said. “But my relationship with Jimmy goes back so far, I’m not sure we need to talk. I know Jimmy pretty well.”

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