Gabe Kapler, Phillies’ new manager, hopes to bring the team success

Yes, Philly. It’s that time again: time to hire a new manager to return the Fightin’ Phils to the World Series.

   After World Series head honcho Charlie Manuel, the next managers, Ryne Sandberg and Pete Mackanin, took his place with Sandberg stepping down after his run and Mackanin not returning as manager for the last year in his contract.

    So welcome a former ball player: Gabe Kapler. He was named the Phillies 54th ever manager on October 30th, 2017. He is also the Phillies 2nd Jewish coach.

   Kapler had been drafted by the Detroit Tigers in the 57th round of 1995’s MLB Draft. He excelled in the minors and was named the Minor League Player of the Year by the newspaper USA Today, the Baseball Weekly magazine, and The Sporting News website. Baseball America, a magazine based on looking at up and coming baseball players dubbed Kapler as the Tigers number one prospect at the time.

  The 1,487th overall pick of the 1995 draft was showing people why he should’ve been picked way earlier.

  In the majors, Kapler jumped around from seven different MLB teams. He even made his way to Japan. In 2006, he announced his retirement and after a brief stint as the manager of the Boston Red Sox minor league team, Greenville Drive, Kapler wanted to return to MLB. “I miss the battle. I still need to be on the field as a player,” Kapler had said.

   And so, he signed with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008 and made a statement that he could still play, posting a .301/.340/.498 slash line with eight home runs.

   When Kapler was a free agent at the end of the year, he signed with the Tampa Bay Rays on a one-year contract of $1,000,0018. What was special to Kapler about the contract was the 18 dollars he was also receiving. He decided he wanted those extra 18 dollars to be in his contract since the number meant “life” in Judaism, his religion.

   With the Rays in 2009, Kapler had shared outfield positions with other players, trying to find a way to be a starter. When he could, Kapler showed what he was worth in his chances, showing excellence in the outfield. In his last year with the Rays though, he disappointed. He entered free agency again when the season was over.

   In 2010, Kapler was 10th on the list of home runs in a career among Jewish MLB players. Kapler was dubbed with the nickname of “Hebrew Hammer.”

   In 2011, Kapler tried playing in the minors for the Los Angeles Dodgers but was released by them right before spring training started, thus ending his MLB playing career.

   After his playing career ended, Kapler managed his heritage’s baseball team, Israel, in the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Kapler then joined television as a baseball analyst for Fox Sports. Finally, before he became the Phillies manager, he joined the Los Angeles Dodgers as their Director of Player Development. Before the 2016 season when the Dodgers were looking for a new manager, Kapler was one of their options. The Dodgers ended up taking Dave Roberts as their skipper, leaving Kapler free for a job.

   On why the Phillies picked Kapler, general manager Matt Klentak said, “Gabe has a track record of leadership, winning, progressive thinking and working with young players, and we fully believe that he is the right person to guide this organization into the future.”

   In response to his hiring, Kapler said, “I’m equal parts honored, humbled and excited by the opportunity with the Phillies, an elite franchise in a city rich in history, tradition, sports excellence and with amazingly passionate fans. I believe there is no better place to build a winning environment, and I take that task very seriously.”

   Besides baseball, Kapler is a co-founder of the Gabe Kapler Foundation with his ex-wife. This foundation is dedicated on letting people know about domestic violence and helping women who are in an abusive relationship.

   Gabe Kapler will coach a handful of young Phillies, including Rhys Hoskins, Nick Williams, and J.P. Crawford. His hiring is the next step in making the Phillies a successful team again.