Gene Lamont will be 67 on Christmas Day. (Elizabeth Conley / The Detroit News)
Detroit — Gene Lamont wants the Tigers’ managing job.
But Jim Leyland’s best friend wonders if he might be too old
Speaking on MLB Network Radio’s “First Pitch” show Tuesday, Lamont said, “I’d like to manage again, but I’m not sure a team wants to bring in somebody my age,”
Lamont is 66. He’ll be 67 on Christmas Day.
He’s two years younger than Leyland, the man he’d replace — but the Tigers would have brought Leyland back had he wanted to return, so age wouldn’t have been a factor in that regard.
But Lamont could be correct. With their next manager, although they haven’t stated they would, the Tigers might opt for someone younger.
So Lamont, as of now, is still in the mix with this possible advantage on some other rumored candidates: He’s managed in the majors before.
Lamont managed the Chicago White Sox from 1992-1995 and was the American League Manager of the Year in 1993. He also managed the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1997-2000 and finished second in 1997 in voting for the National League’s Manager of the Year.
More recently, Lamont was the runner-up for the Red Sox job before the 2012 season. The Sox hired Bobby Valentine instead, and came to regret it by finishing last.
Lamont told the “First Pitch” show that the Tigers’ job would be “a little tough on a first-time manager” because the team’s personalities don’t make it “the easiest team to manage.”
Lamont told the hosts of the show about his attempts to talk Leyland out of his decision to retire “but his mind was set and he knew what he wanted to do.”
If Lamont isn’t named Leyland’s successor, he said he’d like to remain as the Tigers’ bench coach, “but that will depend on who’s named the manager.”
It could be a while, however, before he finds out if he’ll return in any capacity or be looking for a new job.
Unlike last year at this point, said Tigers’ president and general manager Dave Dombrowski, when “there was an obvious name out there that I thought was a real blue-chip candidate to manage a good club — that was Terry Francona (who was hired by Cleveland) — I don’t have a name like that this year.
“So it’s going to take a lot of thorough research to make the right decision.
“But we’ll find somebody that’s good.”