With Thanksgiving just around the corner, the New York Mets are inching their way towards hiring a manager. Mets GM Sandy Alderson has listed Terry Collins, Wally Backman, Chip Hale, and Bob Melvin as the final four candidates to decide between. They have all received second interviews this week, in which I expect involved more in-depth questions on how to bring the team to the playoffs. All candidates either have a history with the Mets organization or past managerial experience. With Alderson making his final decision by the beginning of next week, which of these four would be the best choice?

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I will begin by giving a brief history of each remaining candidate, and then tell you who I feel is the best fit for the job.

Terry Collins:

Collins never made a name for himself in the majors, playing all of his career in the minor leagues. In 1981, he earned his first managing gig in the Dodgers organization, where he stayed for several years until moving to the Pirates organization. In 1993, Collins was hired by the Astros to manage their major league squad, and helped them finish second for three straight years, but was fired at the end of the 1996 season. He didn’t stay unemployed, however, as the Angels signed him on the following season, where he remained for a few seasons. Collins has not managed in the majors since the turn of the century, so what can we expect from him going into this role?

Major League Record: 463-444 (.510)

Wally Backman:

When Mets fans think of Backman, they are reminded of all the positive energy that took place in the 1980s, especially during the 1986 season. Since retiring in 1993, he has managed many minor league teams, including the Brooklyn Cyclones this past season. In November 2004, Backman was hired to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks, only to be fired a few days later after incriminating reports had surfaced. So, he has never managed a game in the major leagues. Will his past problems hurt his chances in the spotlight? Is his success at the minor league levels substantial enough to earn him the job?

Minor League Record: 343-289 (.543)

Chip Hale:

Hale played in the major leagues, but could never be considered more than a bench player. He saw himself move back and forth between the minors and majors with very little success. Hale managed the Tucson Sidewinders (Arizona AAA affiliate) for three seasons, and earned the Pacific Coast Manager of the Year award in 2006, leading his team to a 91-53 record. He has coached third base for both the Diamondbacks and Mets since then. Does his recent experience with the Mets major league roster give him the advantage over the other candidates?

Minor League Record: 405-337 (.546)

Bob Melvin:

Melvin is known more for his managing career than his playing career. He played ten seasons in the majors as a backup catcher, and called it quits in 1994. Since then, he has many years of experience under his belt. In 2003, Melvin was hired to manage the Seattle Mariners, where he led the team to a 93-69 record, just missing the playoffs.  He left the team after the 2004 season and signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, where he managed from 2005-2008. In 2007, Melvin brought Arizona to the National League Championship Series, only to fall short against Colorado. He won the National League Manager of the Year award. Does leading a major league team to the playoffs give him an edge over the others?

Major League Record: 493-508 (.493)


Even though I jumped on the Wally Backman bandwagon early on, I believe that he should instead manage the St. Lucie Mets. He still needs some more experience, and should be given the opportunity to grow with the young players in the organization.

Chip Hale has had recent experience in coaching roles, and despite his closeness to the team, may not be ready for a bigger role. I would keep him as third base coach.

Which leaves me with Terry Collins and Bob Melvin. I like that both have managed at the major league level with some success. However, Collins hasn’t managed since the steroid era and I fear he does not have enough knowledge of how modern-day baseball plays out. Thus, Melvin should be singled out in my mind, because he took a relatively inexperienced team into the playoffs, and has proven himself in recent years.

Do you agree with my choice? If not, who would be your manager?