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The finalists

By MARC TOPKIN, Times Staff Writer
Published November 2, 2005

JOE MADDON

AGE: 51

CURRENT POSITION: Angels bench coach

MAJOR-LEAGUE MANAGING EXPERIENCE: 33-26 in three stints as interim manager.

COACHING/MINOR-LEAGUE MANAGING EXPERIENCE: Spent past 12 seasons as Angels coach, moving from bullpen to first base to bench. ... Spent seven seasons as roving hitting instructor and also served as minor-league field coordinator, instructional league coordinator and briefly as director of player development. ... Has 279-339 record in six seasons as minor-league manager, winning Northwest League championship in 1982 and reaching Double A in 1985-86. ... Also worked as scout and minor-league coach for Angels.

PLAYING CAREER: Signed as undrafted free-agent catcher by Angels in 1975 and played four seasons, getting no higher than Class A.

PERSONAL: Divorced, two children. ... Born and lives in Hazelton, Pa. ... Played baseball and football at Hazelton High, where the diamond is called Joe Maddon Field, and at Lafayette University while majoring in economics.

PLUS/MINUS: Minor-league managing and major-league coaching experience, solid reputation, upbeat personality/Lack of major-league playing and managing experience.

JOHN McLAREN

AGE: 54

CURRENT POSITION: Rays bench coach

MAJOR-LEAGUE MANAGING EXPERIENCE: 5-5 on fill-in basis.

COACHING/MINOR-LEAGUE MANAGING EXPERIENCE: Spent past 14 seasons as a coach on Lou Piniella's staffs in Cincinnati (third-base), Seattle (bullpen, third-base, bench) and Tampa Bay (bench). ... Red Sox bullpen coach 1991. ... Blue Jays third-base coach 1986-90. ... Has 430-483 record in eight seasons managing in Blue Jays minor-league system, reaching Double A in 1983-85 and leading Knoxville to two Southern League championships. ... Managed nine seasons of winter ball in Colombia and Venezuela. ... Also worked as minor-league coach and scout for Blue Jays.

PLAYING CAREER: Seventh-round pick in 1970 draft by Houston. ... Hit .253 in seven minor-league seasons as a catcher, reaching Triple A briefly in 1975-76.

PERSONAL: Married. ... Lives in Phoenix. ... Born in Galveston, Texas. ... Graduated from Westbury High in Houston. ... Attended Blinn Junior College and St. Thomas and Houston Baptist universities.

PLUS/MINUS: Minor-league managing and major-league coaching experience, solid reputation, long association with Lou Piniella/Lack of major-league playing and managing experience, long association with Piniella.

BOBBY VALENTINE

AGE: 55

CURRENT POSITION: Chiba Lotte Marines manager

MAJOR-LEAGUE MANAGING EXPERIENCE: 1,117-1,072 in eight seasons with Rangers and seven seasons with Mets, finishing second four times, reaching 2000 World Series as wild card.

COACHING/MINOR-LEAGUE MANAGING EXPERIENCE: Coach with Mets from 1983-85 and with the Reds in 1993. ... Managed Mets Triple-A Norfolk team in 1994. ... Managed Marines in 1995, fired after one season. Returned in 2004 and won Japan Series this season.

PLAYING CAREER: First-round pick (fifth overall) in 1968 by Dodgers. ... Made major-league debut at age 19 in 1969. ... Hit .260 over parts of 10 seasons as infielder/outfielder with Dodgers, Angels, Padres, Mets and Mariners, his career marred by a compound fracture of his right leg in 1973.

PERSONAL: Married. ... Born and lives in Stamford, Conn. ... Owns sports bar and deli in Stamford. ... Son-in-law of former Dodgers pitcher Ralph Branca. Star multisport athlete at Rippowan High School. ... Did ESPN work before going back to Japan.

PLUS/MINUS: Experience and success in majors and Japan, innovative mind, outgoing personality/Hefty salary and ego, past success could make him less receptive to front office input.

[Last modified November 2, 2005, 00:47:16]

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