DYK: Getting to know Phils manager Kapler

November 2nd, 2017

PHILADELPHIA -- Gabe Kapler, formally introduced Thursday at Citizens Bank Park as the Phillies' next manager, has never worked for the organization. But baseball is a small world, so that doesn't mean he has no connections to the franchise.

Kapler played for former Phils manager Terry Francona in 2004 when the Red Sox won the World Series for the first time in 86 years.

"I still hold [him] in the highest regard and think of him as a mentor," Kapler said.

The year before that, Kapler was with the Rockies. So was Phillies general manager Matt Klentak, who was in Colorado's baseball operations department at the time, but they didn't interact.

Kapler's personality one of authenticity, intensity

"I was an intern in my first year in professional baseball while he was a player there," Klentak said. "We had no relationship.

"But I had crossed paths with him a few times, just professionally. I think the most prominent time and the most recent time was when I was working with the Angels [from 2012-15] and the Dodgers were hiring [a front-office member] away from us, and I was kind of corresponding with Gabe throughout that process. So I had some professional dealings with him.

"As a baseball fan and somebody who follows the game, I always knew of him as a player and was obviously aware of his candidacy for the Dodgers' job a couple years ago. And I've always admired his work ethic, and I really admire the way the Dodgers go about their business."

Former Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez is now a special advisor for the Dodgers, where he worked with Kapler.

"I know the passion and drive of fans in Philadelphia, and Gabe shares their passion, drive and commitment to excellence," Ibanez said. "He's a great leader and person, and a winner in every sense of the word."

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Kapler will wear No. 22. And yes, that's a number that has a special significance for him.

"My younger son is No. 22," Kapler said. "We call him 'Deuce-Deuce.' And I've never had an opportunity to wear a number in honor of my son, and that's why I chose it."

Dane Kapler, who turns 16 Friday, is a tailback at Malibu (Calif.) High School. Chase Kapler, who is three years older, is the team's quarterback.

"The coolest thing ever for a father is to watch your son take a snap from under center and hand it off to your other son," Kapler said. "It's a special moment."

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Pitching coach Bob McClure had been wearing No. 22. Mike Schmidt wore it when he first broke in, soon changing to the familiar No. 20 that has since been retired. Other Phillies who have worn it include Pete Incaviglia, Bob Dernier, Bake McBride, Gary Bennett and Jason Michaels.

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      Here's a sampling of the reaction to Kapler's hiring from those who have worked with him before:

      Cubs manager Joe Maddon, who managed him with Tampa Bay from 2009-10: "Gabe was one of the best teammates I've ever been around. I always thought he would be my bench coach one day, but I am much happier for him with the way it developed."

      Hall of Fame catcher Ivan Rodriguez, a Rangers teammate from 2000-02: "I always admired the effort and intensity he brought to the game. He was a great teammate."

      Michael Young, another Rangers teammate: "I can't think of anybody more deserving of this opportunity than Kap. I love the blue-collar mentality in Philly, and they got their man. I never had a teammate outwork Kap. He's such a unique guy, having been a big leaguer, played overseas, managed Minor Leaguers and run a farm system. He's going to be ... fantastic."

      Clint Hurdle, who managed Kapler in Colorado: "Gabe is a fierce competitor with a great passion for the game of baseball along with a thirst for knowledge."