Long before he was Terry Francona, Red Sox manager, he was Terry Francona, below average baseball player.
In 10* professional seasons, he hit .274 with a .351 SLG% and an 81 OPS+ while splitting his time between first base and the outfield (*one of those seasons, 1990, consisted of just four at-bats). This is good enough to earn him the title of 14th best in Joe Posnanski's list ranking the playing talents of baseball managers.
For reasons I cannot begin to explain, I ALWAYS confused Terry Francona the player with Casey Candaele. I mean, there are a few surface similarities. They both played in Montreal in the early-to-mid 1980s, neither had power, neither ran especially well, Francona had a lifetime 81 OPS+, Candaele a 78 OPS+, I was never sure why either one kept getting at-bats. But they're pretty different.
Not exactly a ringing endorsement. Poz continues:
Maybe the reason I confused them is that they are both sons of semi-famous baseball players. Francona is the son of Tito Francona who was an outstanding hitter in Cleveland from 1959-1961 (.314/.380/.487 over 1,734 plate appearances - a 136 OPS+). I still take great pride in my 1960 "Power Plus" baseball card which features Francona and Rocky Colavito holding their bats and smiling. "Last season," it said on the card, "Cleveland boasted two of the best hitting outfielders in the business." Colavito was traded before the 1960 season began.
And Casey Candaele was the son of Helen Callahan St. Aubin, who was one of the stars of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, and probably the main inspiration behind the movie "A League of Their Own."
Joe Torre was No. 1 -- "He's the only manager going who has a legitimate Hall of Fame case a player." -- while the Rays' Joe Maddon was last -- "He was, however, a good player at Lafayette College."