Of course some general managers are particularly difficult to get in step with. Former Twins manager Ray Miller, now a Pirate coach, says that when his team was on the road back in the mid-'80s, Minnesota G.M. Howard Fox would sometimes call him the day after a game and ask, "How did you guys do last night?"
7. Know your owner's family
. "When the owner's kids walk on the field during spring training, I've seen managers drop their fungoes and run to hug them," says Griffin, the Expos' p.r. man. "That's a good idea."
Let's say your owner comes up to you in spring training, puts his arm around you and says, "Tell me something, Stumpy. You know, my 14-year-old is a pretty good little pitcher. You think you could let him throw an inning or two today?" Your response: "Sure, boss. And thanks. My starters can use the rest."
8. Sign autographs, pleasantly
. Last November, Minnesota's Kelly was approached by two Twins fans as he was dashing to the men's room at the Salt Lake City airport. They asked for his autograph. Kelly barked, "Right now, I'm going to urinate." That comment was leaked to a Minneapolis gossip column, in which he is now routinely referred to as Tom (I'm Going to Urinate) Kelly. Imagine what he would be called if he hadn't won two world championships in the past five seasons.
9. Don't throw batting practice
. That's for coaches, and you did your time as one of those. "They said I acted too much like a coach," says Tom Trebelhorn, who was fired in October as Milwaukee's manager. "Hell, I managed more games than anyone in Brewers history. I won more games, too. I threw BP, I hit fun-goes, I ran around on the field like an idiot. Who cares? If I got let go for that, then I don't want to be part of the game. If I have to add four inches to my belly and lean on the batting cage all day, then I'd rather be in Bushtown, U.S.A." (Well, he's now in Chicago—as a bench coach for the Cubs.)
10. Trumpet your pitiful playing career
. As a rule, the worse you were as a player, the better you will be as a manager. Three of the American League's best and most secure managers were miserable players: Anderson was a .218 lifetime hitter, La Russa .199 and Kelly .181. Three of the National League's most durable skippers are Atlanta's Bobby Cox, Lasorda and Leyland. Cox hit .225. Lasorda was 0-4 as a pitcher. Leyland never played in the big leagues. Why this phenomenon? Because all spent the better part of their careers sitting on the bench, studying the game.
New Mariners manager Bill Plummer should be a huge success: His lifetime average was .188. The same goes for Montreal's Tom Runnells, who is entering his first full season as a manager—he hit a career .174. Hargrove and Kansas City's Hal McRae, both new managers in 1991, will someday wish their career averages had been .190, not .290.
11. Campaign for an expansion job
. The positions of manager for the Florida Marlins and Colorado Rockies are still up for grabs, and managing an expansion team is easy. Lose 100 games each of the first three years, who cares? The city is just happy to have baseball. Consider the last four expansions (in 1961, '62, '69 and '77). The average number of games worked by the original managers of the expansion franchises was 575.20. That's 3.55 seasons. These days, that's security.
12. Diversify and be frugal
. Even with these helpful guidelines, you're going to get fired eventually. So, work in the off-season, have another business. Valentine owns six restaurants. Runnells is a licensed stockbroker. Lasorda hawks Slim-Fast and a bagful of other products.
During the season pocket as much meal money as possible. Big leaguers—including managers—get $52 a day in meal money in spring training, $59 a day during the season. Not counting postseason, there are about 134 days a year on the road, which comes to $7,612. That's more than the minimum player salary was in 1969. After every game the visiting clubhouse man provides a full meal for the team. Eat it. It's good. And, more to the point, it's free. "Actually, a manager could live in the clubhouse all year," says Donnelly. "Peppermint patties for breakfast. Old doughnuts for lunch. Then eat the postgame spread. I bet a manager could pocket six or seven thousand dollars doing that."