NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Wally Backman has long been a fan favorite of Mets fans.
The former second baseman played for the Amazin’s from 1980-1988 and, of course, was a member of the beloved 1986 World Series-winning club.
Backman has long wanted to be a big league manager, and he’s been paying his dues in the Mets’ organization. The 53-year-old managed the Double-A Binghamton Mets and then was promoted to manager of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
He’s currently the manager of New York’s new Triple-A affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s.
The 13-year major league player was a final candidate to replace Jerry Manuel as the manager of the Mets in 2011, but general manager Sandy Alderson ultimately hired current manager Terry Collins for the position.
Backman was understandably disappointed at the time, and with Collins’ contract coming up, he’s likely be a candidate yet again for the big league job if the skipper is let go.
“You know, Terry and I have been close since 1990 (with the Pirates),” Backman told the New York Post. “I know that his contract’s coming up, and he knows it. Everybody knows it. It’s a tough spot for him and, really, for me.”
Collins knows that Backman covets his job, but he trusts that the former Met’s heart is in the right place.
“When I was around him in Pittsburgh, he was playing (and) I was (managing in the Pirates’ system),” Collins told the newspaper. “He’s just a really honest guy and really cares about the organization. He cares about winning. I know one thing: I don’t have to worry about my back. I know he’s got it.”
Backman piggybacked on Collins’ statement, saying that although he would love to run the dugout in Queens some day, he respects Collins’ position within the organization.
“I’m not after Terry’s job,” Backman said. “But my goal is definitely to manage in the big leagues.”
Most importantly for Backman, it appears that Alderson believes in him more so than he did back when he ultimately chose Collins over him.
“He’s a good baseball man,” Alderson said. “He knows the game. He’s experienced winning. He’s committed to winning. And at the same time, we’ve had a number of young players come through the system who have developed under his leadership. He’s been great.”
If Terry Collins is let go after this season — or during this season — would you like to see Backman take his job? Sound off with your thoughts and comments below…