The Baltimore Orioles recently fired team manager Dave Trembley and named third base coach Juan Samuel as the club’s new interim manager and second Black team manager in franchise history.
Samuel, 49, has no experience managing a full team on the Major League level, but with the Orioles currently ranked as the worth team in the league with a 16-41 record and on pace to finish with their 13th consecutive losing season, the franchise felt it was time for a fresh start.
Samuel served the last four years as the Orioles’ third base coach, and his lone stint as a team manager came in 2006 with Double-A Binghamton of the New York Mets’ Minor League system. He had success with Binghamton, leading them to a 70-69 record and second place finish in the Double-A Eastern League.
Before then, he served seven years as a base coach for the Detroit Tigers.
Overall, Samuel has 27 years of professional baseball experience, including16 years as a Major League player. The Dominican Republic-born Hispanic was a three-time All-Star, and was also earned a Rookie of the Year honor from The Sporting News in 1984. He is the only player in MLB history to record double digits in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in each of his first four seasons in the big leagues.
Samuel played for multiple teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Kansas City Royals, Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers, New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies, which enshrined him on the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2008.
Samuel considers himself a hard worker and will continue working hard in his new role as manager.
“I played the game aggressively. I would like to manage the same way,” he told local reporters. “Aggressive, take chances, and that's what I will try to do. I expect those guys to come out there with some energy; I expect those guys to compete. That's the No. 1 thing for me.
“If you compete, and regardless of the outcome, you go home feeling good,” Samuel continued, as stated by the Baltimore Sun. “Let's go out there and compete. Each pitch, each at-bat. … I would expect these guys to come out on the field with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of fire, and I think fans appreciate that.”
The Orioles haven’t announced how long they plan on keeping Samuel as interim manager, but for now he joins Clarence “Cito” Gaston (Toronto Blue Jays), Ron Washington (Texas Rangers) and Jerry Manuel (New York Mets) as the only Black current managers in Major League Baseball. Not bad company at all, considering each of those managers have led their teams to winning records so far this season.