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Lawrence Robert Bowa (born December 6, 1945 in Sacramento, Californiamarker) is a former middle infielder, playing mainly as a shortstop, and manager in Major League Baseball who played primarily for the Philadelphia Phillies. He is currently the third-base coach of the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Early life

Bowa was born in Sacramento, Californiamarker, the son of Paul Bowa, a former minor-league infielder and manager in the St. Louis Cardinals farm system. While at C. K. McClatchy High School, Bowa tried out but never made the school's baseball team. After graduation, Bowa went to Sacramento City Collegemarker where he started, and was expected to go in the MLB Draft, but didn't. The Philadelphia Phillies were the only Major League team interested in Bowa. They sent a local scout, Eddie Bockman to watch Bowa play in a doubleheader, only for Bowa to be thrown out of the game for arguing. Borkman had a winter league team in the area and offered Bowa a chance to play. Bowa played well and signed with the Phillies for a $2,000 bonus.

Playing career

Characterized by his "soft" hands, strong arm, and fiery personality, he won two Gold Glove Awards and led the National League in fielding percentage six times, then a league record. He retired with the NL record for career games at shortstop (2222) and the Major League records for fielding average in a career (.980) and a single season (.991, in ), and was also among the career leaders in assists (sixth, 6857) and double plays (fourth, 1265); his records have since been broken, though he retains the NL mark for career fielding average.

Apart from his fielding achievements, he was a switch-hitter, batting .280 or better four times (.305 in 1975); he also had nine seasons with 20 or more stolen bases. From his 1970 rookie season through 1981, Bowa provided solid reliability in the Phillies' infield, along with third baseman Mike Schmidt; from 1976 to 1981, the Phillies reached the postseason five times, ending a drought dating back a quarter of a century. Bowa batted .333 in a losing cause in the 1978 NLCS, but played an even greater role in 1980, hitting .316 in the NLCS and .375 in the World Series as the Phillies captured the first title in franchise history. In 1979, Bowa set a Major League record for shortstops with a .991 fielding average; Tony Fernández broke the record with a .992 mark in , and Rey Ordóñez broke the NL record with a .994 average in . He tied Ozzie Smith for the most post-1930 seasons with at least 400 at-bats and no home runs, with six.

By the end of the 1981 season, Bowa had worn out his welcome with the Phillies' front office, and let it be known he was available. The Chicago Cubs, who had just hired former Phillies manager Dallas Green as general manager, quickly expressed interest. However, Green, who had managed the 1980 world champions, knew that Bowa didn't have many years left, and demanded a young rookie shortstop named Ryne Sandberg as a part of the trade. In return, the Phillies received shortstop Ivan DeJesus. The trade paid off tremendously for the Cubs, as Bowa's veteran leadership and Sandberg's outstanding all-around play (en route to a Hall of Fame career) brought the Cubs to the postseason in for the first time in 39 years.

After being released by the Cubs in August 1985, Bowa played the last month of the season with the New York Mets before retiring. He was a .260 career hitter with 15 home runs, 525 RBI, 2191 hits, 987 runs, 262 doubles, 99 triples, and 318 stolen bases in 2247 games. His NL records for career games at shortstop and most years leading the league in fielding were later broken by Ozzie Smith; his Major League record for career fielding average has been broken by Omar Vizquel.

Managing, coaching, and broadcasting career

San Diego Padres, Philadelphia Philles

After retiring, Bowa was named manager of the San Diego Padres in , but his aggressive and often angry style were ineffective, and he was fired a year later. Bowa returned to managing, joining the Phillies in , and was honored as Manager of the Year after bringing the team within two games of the division title; they had finished in last place in 2000. He was fired with two games remaining in the season after failing to finish within 10 games of first place in his last three years.

ESPN and XM radio

After leaving the Phillies and before accepting his job with the Yankees, Bowa served as an analyst for ESPN's Baseball Tonight and co-hosted a baseball talk show on XM Radio.

Los Angeles Dodgers

On November 5, 2007, the Los Angeles Dodgers hired him to be the team's new third base coach, following the hire of new manager Joe Torre. He previously served as a third base coach under managers Lee Elia, John Vukovich, Nick Leyva, Jim Fregosi, Terry Collins, and Lou Piniella.

On April 1, 2008 Bowa, was thrown out in the second game of the season due to arguing with umpire about standing out of the coaches box (he eventually threw a watercooler in the dugout). Bowa was subsequently suspended for three games and fined an undisclosed amount.

Notes and references

See also

External links

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