Who is John Farrell?
We all know John Farrell, the baseball player. He was a standout pitcher who played for the Cleveland Indians, California Angels, and Detroit Tigers. He’s worked in player development, college coaching, and then MLB coaching. His last job before coming back to Boston was as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays. That’s all well and good, but after the Bobby Valentine whirlwind of 2012, Boston fans are probably looking for some information you won’t find on his baseball resume.
As for his family, Farrell resides in Ohio with his wife and their three sons, all of whom are involved in baseball. Luke Farrell is a sophomore pitcher for the Northwestern Wildcats, Shane Farrell is a senior pitcher for the Marshall Thundering Herd, and Jeremy Farrell is currently in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system, so clearly the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
A huge plus for Farrell is that he’s not coming into Boston as an outsider. He’s returning to a familiar place where he was well-liked and succeeded. A good teammate of Boston’s beloved Terry Francona, the two got along fantastically during Farrell’s tenure as Francona’s trusted pitching coach. Farrell also has an edge because he’s good with media, a required trait coming into Boston, especially following Valentine’s meltdowns on WEEI radio.
They’ll be hiring back someone who already made a great impression here, just as the Indians tried to do in October 2009 when Shapiro pursued him as the manager. “No one is better than John at confronting a problem head-on,” Theo Epstein said at the time. Sound like someone who would fit here now?
Chad Finn wrote about the managerial search Oct. 17 and said that in the event Farrell was hired, the Red Sox would be getting more than a manager. Farrell is familiar with the Red Sox approach, familiar with the Boston pitchers who struggled in 2o12, and knows what the Red Sox are rather than what they’ve been for the last year or so.
The truth is, there isn’t much dirt to dig up on Farrell. When Valentine was announced as Red Sox manager he came with some baggage and was infamous for his mustachioed antics with the New York Mets. You won’t find a story like that about Farrell, just as you wouldn’t have about Francona. Maybe that’s why Farrell is the perfect heir to Francona’s legacy, and why the Valentine era will soon be but a detour in Red Sox history.