For a dozen seasons, the San Francisco Giants baseball team was manned by skipper Bruce Bochy, whose tenure netted the team's first, second, and third World Series championships since 1954 when the team resided in New York. Bochy announced his retirement from the sport at the dawn of the 2019 season, leaving the Giants looking for a new manager come the winter.
On Tuesday, that search ended with the hiring of former player and former Philadelphia Phillies manager Gabe Kapler.
Kapler spent 12 seasons as a professional baseball player, playing for six different teams, and being a part of the famous 2004 Boston Red Sox who won the franchise's first World Series since 1918, ending the infamous, "Curse of the Bambino." After he retired in 2011, Kapler bounced around the world of baseball for a few years.
In September of 2012, Kapler coached the Israel baseball national team to attempt to qualify for the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Between 2012-2013, Kapler worked with a company named Egraphs, which focused on electronic personalized autographs, and which was licensed with MLB and the NBA.
After they closed in 2014, he took a job at Fox Sports 1 to be a commentator, but by the end of the year, Kapler had re-joined Major League Baseball as a director of player development with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
In the Autumn of 2017, the Philadelphia Phillies named Kapler as their new manager, making Kapler just the eight Jewish managers in the sport's history. Taking over a 96 loss team, Kapler went 80-82 and 81-81 during his two seasons with the Phillies. His 2019 season saw the team finally break at least .500 for the first time since 2012. Still, with the high expectations set by the front office of the team, Kapler was fired following the season.
While Kapler's hiring came with a level of scrutiny. While working in the Dodgers front office, Kapler attempted to mediate an issue between two Dodgers players and a 17-year-old girl that, alleged she was assaulted by the two players, without notifying the police. Kapler stated that he was attempting to stay in line with the Dodgers policy and he was not aware of the allegations.
At his first press conference as the Giants president of operations Farhan Zaida, who worked with Kapler while in Los Angeles, expressed remorse for the manner in which he handled the case.
Similar to Philadelphia, Kapler is entering a rebuilding team who might be down their best player this year, as World Series MVP pitcher Madison Bumgardner is one of the most sought after free agents this winter and will fetch a hefty price on the open market.