Managerial Musical Chairs--Backman Gone

Managing Editor
Posted Nov 5, 2004


It lasted less than a week, and calling it 'The Wally Backman Experiment' would be a stretch. After all 'experiments' are researched and performed with precision. The firing of Backman comes less than a week after his hiring, and fellow 'Final 3' candidate Bob Melvin is expected to take the reigns.

It wasn't exactly a stunning turn of events, but it certainly isn't the great start the new ownership of the Diamondbacks was hoping for.  After passing on fan favorite Mark Grace, and never even interviewing veteran skipper Jim Leyland, the Diamondbacks hired Wally Backman only to find out about a series of past legal and financial problems from a New York newspaper.

After the revelations the Diamondbacks pledged their support to Backman, saying that while they were not aware of the past off field problems they would stick with their choice.

That support was apparently short lived.

Backman, who has not yet signed his contract, will be fired in a news conference today at 11:00am in Phoenix.  Fellow finalist and former D'Backs third base coach Bob Melvin is expected to be named the new skipper.

Backman, who pled guilty to an assault charge, was convicted of DUI, and has filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, seemed to be the Diamondbacks choice as much for his small asking price as for his resume.  After the allegations surfaced the Diamondbacks front office admitted that criminal and financial background checks had not been performed, and promised that for such prominent hirings they would be used in the future.

It would seem the first person subjected to that process would be Melvin.

Neither Backman nor Melvin were available for comment, and the repeated phone calls to the Diamondbacks front office were not returned.



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