DETROIT (AP) _ Buddy Bell was fired today as manager of the Detroit Tigers, and bench coach Larry Parrish was appointed interim manager for the rest of the season.
Detroit has lost 22 of its last 27 games and at 52-85 has the worst record in the American League.
Bell, 47, had two years left on his contract, and finished with a 185-277 record. His winning percentage of .400 is the worst of any Tigers manager since Frank Dwyer had a .385 percentage in going 52-83 in 1902.
The Tigers won 79 games last season, an improvement of 26 games over 1996 and expected to be more competitive this season. But Detroit got off to a 4-17 start and never recovered.
In Bell’s first season, 1996, the Tigers lost 109 games. Their 1997 was record, 79-83, was the best ever bounce back among the 19 teams with 109-loss seasons.
After improving their wins total by 26 games last season, the Tigers expected to be more competitive this year. But they got off to a 4-17 start and never recovered.
General manager Randy Smith on Friday gave Bell a vote of confidence, saying he knew of no reason why Bell wouldn’t be back in 1999.
``I know Buddy’s not being evaluated strictly on wins and losses,″ Smith said. ``I think our relationship is great.″
But owner Mike Ilitch was not as supportive.
``He’s had a difficult job in terms of mixing very young players with veterans and being able to deal with it when it’s not going well,″ Ilitch said Friday.