In a season that has seen plenty of change for the Mid-Missouri Mavericks, two more changes have been made at the top.
Jack Clark stepped down as manager on Monday, and Jim Gentile, a finalist for the coaching position before the season began, took over.
The Mavericks are in last place in the Frontier League at 4-26, with one win in their past 11 games. The team has made about 50 roster changes since the start of the season.
Gentile is the fifth manager in the Mavericks’ short history. Before Clark joined the Mavericks in October, they already had employed three managers. Tony Torschia began the 2003 season, but was fired in July. His replacement, Papo Davila, resigned in August because of health problems, and Mark Schlosser finished the season.
Clark moves from the dugout to the front office, taking over as head of baseball operations.
“This was at the request of Jack, and the primary reason is Jack’s dad has been diagnosed with terminal cancer,” Mavericks President Gary Wendt said.
Wendt said that the change will allow Clark to travel less but still remain a part of building the team. Although Clark will not be in the dugout, he plans to give hitting instruction before games.
“Jack’s primary responsibility is to help us bring in the right ballplayers that will make us be a competitive team within this league,” Wendt said.
In a press release issued Monday, Clark said, “It is my hope to be able to return to a full-time coaching role with the Mavericks in 2005.”
Clark will replace Bill Clark, who resigned as director of player procurement Thursday.
“Bill is shouldering too much of the blame,” Wendt said.
“I don’t think Bill’s contacts with the major league organizations were as strong as they once were, and Jack’s contacts are a little stronger.”
Gentile most recently coached the Fort Worth Cats of the independent Central League in 2002. Under Gentile, the Cats went 23-41 before he left the team July 28 for personal reasons.
“(Gentile) is up for the challenge,” Wendt said, “and it’s a heck of a challenge.”
Over nine big league seasons from 1957-66, Gentile played for the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, Baltimore Orioles, Oakland Athletics, Houston Astros and Cleveland Indians, batting .260 with 179 home runs.
As the first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles in 1961, Gentile hit .302 with 46 home runs and 146 RBI, earning him third in the American League MVP race behind New York Yankees Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle.