PHILADELPHIA - Mike Schmidt spent his retirement distancing himself from baseball, instead trying hobbies such as golf and fishing.
Only in the past couple of years has arguably the greatest third basemen ever realized the game still was his passion.
Schmidt returned Tuesday to the only organization he knew as a player when the Phillies hired him to manage Class A Clearwater.
"There's a bit of a void in my life," Schmidt said. "I've been involved in other things that have taken me away from baseball. The thing that would be most fulfilling is to get back in the game and life I know the most about."
This will be the first managerial job for the Hall of Famer, 54. In 2002, he was a part-time hitting instructor with the Phillies.
"I've enjoyed teaching and working with them the times I've been there," he said. "I guess that was the catalyst to get back in the game."
He hit 548 homers, ninth all-time, and won three MVP awards and 10 Gold Gloves during a career spent entirely with Philadelphia (1972-89).
Schmidt had little association with the Phillies before reaching out to team president David Montgomery about a return. Schmidt met last week with general manager Ed Wade and assistant general manager Mike Arbuckle to discuss his interest in managing.
Schmidt said he signed a one-year deal to make sure this was the career path he wanted.
The Clearwater Phillies are moving from Jack Russell Stadium to a $28-million, state-of-the art sports complex a few miles away at Drew and U.S. 19.
MANAGER SEARCH: Nobody interviewing for the job as Orioles manager is more familiar with the team than Sam Perlozzo, who drew upon that experience during his audition.
Perlozzo met with team vice presidents Mike Flanagan and Jim Beattie, who are in charge of filling the position vacated by the Sept. 29 firing of Mike Hargrove.
Perlozzo has been on the Orioles coaching staff for eight years, the past four under Hargrove. He said his familiarity with the staff and players should work to his benefit.
"It's definitely an advantage," he said. "I have a good feel for the organization and know what the coaching staff is all about."
Perlozzo and former Orioles star Eddie Murray are considered the front-runners. Former Oriole Rich Dauer, now Brewers bench coach, is scheduled to meet today with Beattie and Flanagan. Orioles first-base coach Rick Dempsey is set to interview Thursday.
DODGERS: Bob Daly plans to leave as managing partner, chairman and chief operating officer once the team's proposed sale is completed. Daly's 5 percent ownership stake would be transferred to Boston land developer Frank McCourt if the $430-million sale goes through.
GIANTS: Pacific Bell Park will become SBC Park starting Jan. 1. The team reached a 24-year agreement with SBC that gives the telecommunications company the naming rights to the 4-year-old waterfront ballpark.
REDS: The search for a general manager is down to Minnesota assistant general manager Wayne Krivsky, Texas assistant general manager Dan O'Brien and Montreal general manager Omar Minaya. A decision could come this week.