Now that Lloyd McClendon is officially on the Mariners’ managerial list — he’ll interview later this week, as I reported earlier today — I’ve got to mention his classic snap on June 26, 2001 at PNC Park in Pittsburgh.
Here’s a video. McClendon ,managing the Pirates at the time, was upset that umpire Rick Reed had called Jason Kendall out at first base in the seventh inning of an eventual 7-6 Pirates’ win over the Brewers. As this story from the Pittsburgh Tribune noted, “It was the second such play where McClendon felt his team was robbed.”
So McClendon argued, threw his cap, and yanked first base out of the ground. Unlike other managers, like Lou Piniella, who have heaved bags, McClendon’s brilliant touch was taking the base into the dugout with him, and not giving it back.
“I’d have to say, it’s probaby not my proudest moment,” McClendon told the Tribune. “But it’s probably the most comical.”
ESPN ranked it the fourth-best coaching snap ever. The top three: Ohio State coach Woody Hayes punching an opposing player, Indiana coach Bobby Knight throwing a chair, and Cubs manager Lee Elia’s rant against the fans (WARNING: NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK).
This shouldn’t be viewed as McClendon’s defining moment (he himself says this was actually the defining moment of his life), but it does show that he has some fire and passion. For what it’s worth, one veteran media member who covered McClendon with the Pirates told me yesterday he had as much respect for McClendon as anyone he’s ever covered.