Sep 28, 2023 - Sports

Terry Francona bids farewell at Guardians' final home game

You will be missed. Photo: Jim Rogash/Getty Images

The Guardians have three games left this season, but last night marked the end of an era.

Driving the news: Terry "Tito" Francona, who plans to retire after this season, managed his final home game at Progressive Field, which saw the Guardians beat the Cincinnati Reds 4-3.

Why it matters: Francona is the winningest manager in Cleveland history with more than 900 victories, including six postseason berths and a World Series appearance in 2016.

Flashback: Francona's MLB career began as a player with the Montreal Expos in 1981.

  • He went on to play for several teams, including Cleveland in 1988, the same franchise that his father, Tito, played for in the 1960s.

The intrigue: Francona turned to coaching in 1991 and managed Michael Jordan during his short-lived minor league run with the Birmingham Barons in 1994.

  • Francona would go on to manage the Philadelphia Phillies and lead the Boston Red Sox to two World Series titles.

Zoom in: He became manager in Cleveland in 2012, where he won American League Manager of the Year honors in 2013, 2016 and 2022.

Yes, but: The 64-year-old has dealt with major health issues in recent years, scheduling a shoulder replacement surgery and a pair of hernia operations for this offseason.

What they're saying: "It's time," Francona told the MLB radio network earlier this month.

  • "My body is telling me that. My head is telling me that. And I don't want to stay on for the wrong reasons. ... I've been pretty clear with the guys I work for, told them to start preparing."

The bottom line: Francona is a future Hall of Famer and one of the most beloved figures in Cleveland sports history.

What's next: The Guardians, who have been eliminated from postseason play, will close out the season with three games in Detroit against the Tigers this weekend.

  • It's less than a three-hour drive, in case you want to catch Tito's last game.

Get more local stories in your inbox with Axios Cleveland.

More Cleveland stories