CHICAGO — Pat Corrales was fired Thursday as manager of the Cleveland Indians, the team with the worst record in the American League after being a popular choice to win the East Division title.
Doc Edwards, the 50-year-old Cleveland bullpen coach, was named to replace Corrales shortly before the Indians opened a four-game series with the Chicago White Sox. Edwards came away a winner in his debut when the Indians posted a 4-3 victory.
"They had to do something," said Pat Tabler, Cleveland's lone All-Star game representative. "You can't just sit there night after night and get your brains beat out without something happening."
"The guys have been through a lot," Edwards said. "They have the right to get back the respect they earned last year, and I'm going to give them the opportunity to do it."
As the Indians, 31-56 under Corrales, dropped in the standings, Corrales tightened the reins on and off the field, requiring players to wear batting helmets during batting practice, forbidding card games in the clubhouse and similar measures, none of which seemed to help.
Corrales, 46, was the first AL manager to be fired this season. John Felske, let go by the Philadelphia Phillies on June 18, has been the only other managerial casualty.
Edwards and Lee Elia, who replaced Felske, are white.
Joe Klein, Indian vice president of baseball operations, was asked whether the club had considered any minority candidates in view of Commissioner Peter Ueberroth's pledge to improve the status of blacks and Hispanics in the game.
"We definitely wanted to stay within the organization," Klein said. "Doc was the man with the most experience."
Batting coach Bobby Bonds is black but, unlike Edwards, has no minor league managing experience.
In a related move, the Indians promoted scouts Luis Isaac, who is Hispanic, and Dave Roberts to their coaching staff.