KC Royals: 6 potential Mike Matheny replacements

(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
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Another son of a former KC Royals manager could receive consideration.

The timing wasn’t ideal for John Wathan when he became Kansas City’s manager in 1987. He’d finished a long and distinguished playing career with the Royals after they won the 1985 World Series, became a coach for the club in ’86, managed Triple-A Omaha for part of the ’87 season, then took over as KC skipper when the club fired Billy Gardner with a little more than a month left in the campaign.

Wathan was in a tough spot. Beloved manager Dick Howser had taken leave from the club after a brain tumor sidelined him midway through the ’86 season and, after unsuccessfully attempting a spring training comeback in 1987, left the team and died a few months later. Gardner didn’t fare well as Howser’s successor—the Royals let him go when they were 62-64 and in fourth place in the AL West. Wathan brought them home 21-15, but the effort wasn’t good enough for a postseason spot.

Things didn’t get better starting in ’88. The Royals were losing much of the luster of their glory seasons and missed postseason play again; they also missed out in ’89 and ’90 before management decided to head in another direction and fired Wathan early in the ’91 campaign.

But another Wathan could conceivably manage the club. Wathan’s son Dusty, currently and for several seasons Philadelphia’s third base coach, has been considered big league managerial timber for some time.

The younger Wathan also boasts considerable minor league managing experience. He led several Phillies’ farm clubs before joining the major league staff for the 2018 campaign.

And having a father who managed the Royals isn’t the only thing he has in common with Tony Peña Jr.—Wathan also played for Kansas City, collecting three hits in six at-bats in 2002.