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Nationals hire Manny Acta as manager11/14/2006 5:20 PM ET
After a thorough search, the Washington Nationals today tabbed one of baseball's finest young minds as manager.
The Nationals today hired Manny Acta as their new manager, agreeing to terms on a two-year contract with two club options. Nationals President Stan Kasten and Nationals Vice President and General Manager Jim Bowden made the joint announcement.
Terms of Acta's contract were not disclosed.
Acta, who at the age of 37 is now the youngest manager in Major League Baseball, replaces Hall-of-Famer Frank Robinson and becomes the second manager in the history of the Washington Nationals, the 12th in franchise annals. Acta joins the Nationals after serving the previous two seasons as third-base coach with the New York Mets. While there, working under Willie Randolph, the Mets averaged 90 wins and claimed an NL East title in 2006. The Mets' 97 wins last season not only tied the Yankees for the most in baseball, they were nine more than any other team posted in the National League.
Annually regarded among the top third-base coaches in baseball, Acta astutely directed traffic on the base paths each of the last five seasons, three with the Expos (2002-04) and two with the Mets (2005-06). Acta has coached in the highly competitive NL East for five consecutive seasons and is a veteran of over 375 intradivision contests.
Acta is familiar with the Nationals organization, having spent three seasons (2002-04) as the Montreal Expos' third-base coach. No fewer than 10 current Nationals coaches or players-pitching coach Randy St. Claire; right-handed pitchers John Patterson, Chad Cordero, Jon Rauch, Luis Ayala and Shawn Hill; first baseman Nick Johnson; second baseman Jose Vidro; catcher Brian Schneider; outfielder Ryan Church-worked with Acta during his tenure on the Expos' coaching staff.
A two-time Manager of the Year, Acta is perhaps best known for managing the Dominican Republic's entry in the inaugural World Baseball Classic last February/March. The Dominican Republic reached the WBC's Final Four before falling to Cuba, but Acta was widely praised for his handling of the Dominican Republic's star-studded roster that included, among others, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Alfonso Soriano, Vladimir Guerrero, Francisco Liriano and Bartolo Colon. Despite numerous potential pitfalls pertaining to playing time, Acta's Dominican Republic squad played with heart, spirit and vigor throughout the tournament.
Acta will draw on managerial experience gained, at least partially, in international baseball circles. Acta spent two off-seasons (2003-04, '04-05) skippering the powerful Licey Tigers in the Dominican Winter League. In 2003-04, Acta guided Licey to a Dominican Winter League Championship, was named Manager of the Year, and subsequently, skippered the DWL to a Caribbean Series title. Acta's Tigers then followed that up by posting the DWL's best regular-season record in 2004.
Acta, who just last week returned from Japan where he was a member of Bruce Bochy's coaching staff for Major League Baseball's annual tour of Japan (MLB swept the tour, going a perfect 5-0), has also managed in the winter leagues with the Estrellas Orietales (Dominican Winter League, 2002-2003) and Caracas Lions (Venezuelan Winter League, 1999-2000).
Domestically, Acta was a member of Houston's player-development staff for a decade (1992-2001), including eight seasons as a minor-league manager (1993-2000). Four times in those eight seasons as manager, Acta's clubs posted winning records, including a pair of first-place finishes and post-season berths.
The zenith of Acta's minor-league managerial career came in 1999, as he was named the Manager of the Year in the Single-A Florida State League after leading Kissimmee to its first-ever FSL championship as the Cobras defeated Dunedin, 3 games to one, in the championship series.
Billy Wagner, Roy Oswalt, Brad Lidge, Julio Lugo and Morgan Ensberg are among the numerous current big leaguers to have played for Acta during his decade as a minor-league manager/coach with the Astros. Right-handed pitcher Tim Redding, who recently signed with the Nationals as a free agent, went 12-5 with a 2.68 ERA while pitching for Acta with Kissimmee in 2000.
A native of the Dominican Republic's highest profile baseball city, San Pedro de Macoris, Acta becomes just the fourth native of the Dominican Republic to manage in the big leagues, joining Felipe Alou (1992-2001, 2003-06 with Montreal and San Francisco), Tony Pena (2002-05 with Kansas City) and Luis Pujols (2002 with Detroit). Acta becomes baseball's lone active manager from the Dominican Republic. Acta enjoys dual citizenship, as he became a United States citizen in 1999.
An infielder by trade, Acta's playing career encompassed six professional seasons within the Astros organization. A career .236 hitter, Acta retired after the 1991 season. Not surprisingly, Acta drew on his own playing experiences during his days as a coach. With the Expos, Acta was primarily responsible for infield defense. In 2003, he oversaw an Expos infield that made 28 fewer errors than the season prior.
Acta becomes the fourth first-time manager hired in baseball this off-season, joining Freddy Gonzalez (Florida), Bud Black (San Diego) and Ron Washington (Texas). Oakland has not yet named its replacement for Ken Macha.
Acta currently resides in St. Cloud, FL with his wife, Cindy, and two daughters, Jennifer and Leslie.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
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