Cleveland Guardians fans will always have a soft spot for Terry Francona in their hearts.
After building a reputation as one of the best managers in baseball in the 2000s, he chose to go to the Guardians in 2013 and helped them be one of the most competitive squads in baseball in the 2010s.
He took them to the playoffs multiple times and even to the World Series in 2016, where they were a win shy of taking home the first trophy in franchise history since 1948.
Francona worked his magic with some low payrolls and made them competitive with his baseball knowledge, communication skills, and ability to get the best out of his players.
Health issues forced him to retire after the 2023 campaign, though.
The Guardians moved on and named Stephen Vogt their manager, and Francona seems to be enjoying retirement, too.
He was recently present at an Arizona Wildcats basketball game, with NBA coach Steve Kerr.
— Arizona Athletics (@AZATHLETICS) December 9, 2023
The Twitter account of Arizona Athletics wrote that they had “a couple of legends back home.”
Francona attended the University of Arizona and played college baseball for the Wildcats.
With the Wildcats, he won the 1980 College World Series in which he was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player.
Francona was also the recipient of the 1980 Golden Spikes Award, so yes: he is a legend in Arizona, just like he is a legend in Cleveland and in Boston, too, where he won two World Series with the Red Sox.
A true winner and a baseball man through and through, it’s nice and refreshing to see him well and in good spirits.