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With a Push From Angels, McNamara and Clear Resign

January 18, 2001|MIKE DiGIOVANNA | TIMES STAFF WRITER

John McNamara and Bob Clear, career baseball men who were institutions at the Angels' spring training facility in Tempe, Ariz., will be absent when the team opens camp in February after they were essentially forced to resign.

McNamara, who spent 19 years as a big league manager and served nine years as the Angels' minor league catching coach, was offered a job as an assistant to player development director Darrell Miller but declined because the Angels wanted to cut his salary by about 75%.

Clear, who spent 50 years in baseball, the last 30 with the Angels, had major heart surgery in June and was contemplating retirement. He made it official when Miller "asked if I'd mind resigning," he said.

McNamara, 68, was hoping to complete his 50th season in professional baseball with the Angels, but now he's looking to catch on with another club.

"I did not retire, I resigned," said McNamara, former manager of the Oakland A's, San Diego Padres, Cincinnati Reds, Angels, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians.

"I'm not bitter. I've had my ups and downs, my days in the sun, and this is not the first time I've resigned. But I didn't like what was going on [with the Angels] and told the proper people."

After a last-place finish in 1999 and the resignations of general manager Bill Bavasi and manager Terry Collins, Angel President Tony Tavares fired about a dozen scouts, most of whom were older than 65.

Two of the scouts contemplated an age discrimination suit against the Angels, legal action that was averted when the team rehired some of the scouts to part-time positions.

"They've gotten rid of a lot of the older people in the organization, a lot of older scouts," said Clear, 73, who served in a variety of big league coaching roles for the Angels and has been a minor league roving instructor since 1988. "It's too bad they let some of the older fellows go. They helped teach the younger coaches and scouts at the minor league level."

Angel General Manager Bill Stoneman declined comment on the departures of McNamara and Clear because they were personnel matters.

McNamara is best remembered as the manager who guided the Red Sox to the brink of the 1986 World Series championship before the New York Mets pulled out victories in Games 6 and 7.

"With a new regime, you expect changes, it's inevitable," McNamara said. "But this is like leaving family."

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