NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mickey Callaway impressed the Mets so much at his interview that they canceled their second round of meetings with candidates.
“Ended our first round and decided there was really only one man for the job,” general manager Sandy Alderson said as the Mets introduced the former Indians pitching coach as their new manager Monday at Citi Field.
“We weren’t simply looking for a manager; we were looking for a leader,” Alderson added. “And as I think of leadership, I think of really two general requirements: one is professional competence, and the second is personal excellence.”
After interviewing Callaway last week, the Mets shifted their focus to convincing the 42-year-old Tennessee native to take the job.
“Mickey had a three-hour lunch with (owner) Fred (Wilpon) in the city, and Mickey came back from that lunch too exhausted to say anything but yes,” Alderson joked.
It wasn’t a tough sell, Callaway said, calling New York “the greatest city in the world” and the Mets “one of the greatest franchises in the world.” And the former big-league pitcher called himself “the most excited guy in the world.”
“I think right away when he (Alderson) started asking questions to me in this interview, it became clear that we were on the same pace and that we wanted the same things,” Callaway said.
Callaway said his philosophy will be driven by his personal relationships with his players and hard work.
“We know that they’re human beings, and their numbers or stats are going to be a byproduct of how durable, prepared and aggressive they are, and that’s it,” he said. “We’re not going to have expectations on numbers. I’m going to have expectations that they’re going to work the right way to go put up numbers.
“We will also ask them to do more than anybody ever has before. Our group is going to become a team because of our losses, our mistakes, the little riffs we have in the clubhouse. They’re going to know that those things are OK as long as we are trying to get better and learn from those things.”
The Mets hired Callaway after interviewing Mets hitting coach Kevin Long, Astros bench coach Alex Cora, White Sox bench coach Joe McEwing, former Nationals and Indians manager Manny Acta and MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa.
Callaway spent the past five seasons with the Indians. The year before he was promoted to the job from the minor leagues, Cleveland had the worst ERA in the American League (4.79). Since he took over in 2013, they have a league-best 3.65 ERA.
The Indians have led the American League in strikeouts each of the last four years. And in 2014, one of Callaway’s pitchers, Corey Kluber, won the Cy Young Award — and he’s widely considered the favorite to win it again this season.
Callaway, who said he was named after Mickey Mantle, played parts of five seasons in the American League for the Devil Rays, Angels and Rangers. He was a member of the Angels’ 2002 world championship team.
He replaces Terry Collins, who stepped down earlier this month after seven seasons.