The Cleveland Indians announced today that manager Terry Francona has agreed to a two-year contract extension.
Francona, 55, has been Cleveland’s skipper since signing a four-year deal in October 2012. The two-year extension keeps him under contract with the Indians through the 2018 season, and includes club options for 2019 and 2020.
Francona’s first managerial job was in the Midwest League, as skipper of the 1992 South Bend White Sox (73-64). The most notable players he managed in South Bend were James Baldwin II (9-5, 2.42 ERA, 137 Ks in 137.2 IP) and Mike Cameron (.228 in 35 games).
Baldwin’s son, James Baldwin III, also played in the Midwest League, for the Great Lakes Loons in 2012 and 2013. In 2012, the Los Angeles Dodgers farmhand batted .209 with 7 HR, 40 RBI and 53 SB in 123 games. In 2013, he batted .238 with 7 HR, 49 RBI and 42 SB in 118 games.
Perhaps the most famous moment of Francona’s South Bend tenure happened when rehabbing White Sox catcher Carlton Fisk homered in his first of three at-bats at Coveleski Stadium. The future Hall-of-Famer hit the ball so far it struck a synagogue down the left-field line; that building is now South Bend’s team store, and there is a plaque commemorating the Fisk shot on a nearby fence. That game was Fisk’s only one with South Bend.