Jeff Torborg says he knows he has his work cut out for him as the new manager of the Chicago White Sox.
Torborg, a former major league catcher who managed Cleveland in the late 1970s, was named manager of the White Sox Thursday night."I know this club was the worst in the league defensively and the next to the worst offensively. But I think it can be overcome," Torborg said late Thursday night by telephone from Scottsdale, Ariz., where he was named the team's new manager.
Torborg, a coach for the past 10 years with the New York Yankees, was selected by General Manager Larry Himes to succeed Jim Fregosi, who was fired after the White Sox finished 71-90, fifth in the AL West.
Himes picked Torborg after interviewing seven candidates for the job. Torborg, 46, was the only one of the seven who had served as a major league manager.
"Of all the candidates, Jeff had certain strengths the others didn't have," Himes said.
The new 32nd White Sox manager was given a three-year contract with the first two years guaranteed and the club having the option on the third year. The terms were not disclosed.
"I feel he will relate well with our veteran players as well as the young kids," Himes said. "His strengths include a solid pitching background, his knowledge and experience in the American League and the fact he is an ex-manager. He has a real good picture of what the overall job entails."
Torborg, who joined the Indians as a coach in 1975, managed Cleveland from June 19, 1977 until July 23, 1979. He took over the club at age 35, and had a 157-201 record.
"He probably shouldn't have had the job at Cleveland. He was too young," Himes said. "But it was a good experience for him."
Earlier, Torborg played in the majors for 10 years as a backup catcher with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the California Angels. He caught three no-hitters - two with the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax and Bill Singer, and one by Nolan Ryan with the Angels - before retiring as a player in 1973.
As a major leaguer, he batted .214 with only eight homers in 574 games.
Torborg held a number of coaching positions with the Yankees, most recently as bullpen coach. He was released when Dallas Green replaced Lou Pinela as manager, but had been promised he would be re-assigned within the Yankees organization.
Torborg vowed the team would be aggressive.
"I was raised in the Dodger tradition," he said. "We won a world championship with a batting average of .245, but we did the little things, like running the bases aggressively."