NEW YORK -- The National League Championship Series managers have a relationship that dates to Terry Collins managing the Angels from 1997 through 1999.
When Collins was hired for the job in Anaheim, he kept Joe Maddon on his staff as bench coach. Maddon took over in ’99 after Collins resigned with a 51-82 record amid tensions in the clubhouse.
“I was extremely impressed with his organization, his preparation, his thoughts,” Collins said Friday, on the eve of his New York Mets facing Maddon’s Chicago Cubs. “Back then, bench coaches were kind of just guys you'd run an idea by. They really didn't have a huge input. It was also the start of the computer age in baseball, and Joe was into the computers. So when I interviewed him -- [with] his organization and his preparation and his personality -- I said, ‘This is the guy.’”
Said Maddon: “We had a really good relationship on the bench -- really good. I remember specifically, you talk about shifting today, and all the stuff that's going on, I had this more Neanderthal method of doing things at that point, but it was still one of the first computers utilized. And I went in with him one day, and he's in there talking to Sparky Anderson, and Sparky was doing some of the games [as a broadcaster] for the Angels. I showed him this graphic sheet or schematic of Ken Griffey Jr. And I said, ‘T.C., would you mind if we shifted him tonight?’ And I told him what I thought, and he was all for it. He was good.
“He always gave me a lot of latitude, permitted me to work. The thing about being a bench coach for him that I was always impressed with was, if I had a bunch of information, I would just stand there and I would read it to him, I'd talk to him about it before the game, and he would never forget anything. He's got a really great mind. So we laughed together, we worked together. I'm really happy for his success.”