Long time Tiger fans may be surprised by one of the names bandied about in the hunt for a new skipper, that of Torey Lovullo, a late-season call-up to Detroit in 1988, who hit .381 and slugged .667 in 23 plate appearances. Combine that with a good spring training in 1989, and Sparky Anderson could not contain his enthusiasm, as was typical with prospects. Lovullo hit .115 and slugged .172, as also was typical of Sparky's can't-miss youngsters. Ernie Harwell took him under his wing during those stressful days, but Lovullo was gone by mid-May.
Salvatore Anthony Lovullo was raised in Santa Monica and attended UCLA. The Southern California atmosphere was tempered with part-time work assisting his father who was executive producer of Hee Haw. For those of you without gray in your hair, spend a few minutes on YouTube watching Roy Clark and Minnie Pearl and be amazed or aghast at their country comedy and crooning.
Torey went on to play parts of eight big league seasons, and for 24 teams overall including the minor leagues and Japan. He played every position but pitcher, catcher, and center field as the living embodiment of the "replacement player." His big league career ended in Philadelphia, playing for Terry Francona.
Lovullo's best season was in 1992 with the Yankees' Triple-A affiliate. He hit nearly .300 with 19 home runs as Columbus dominated the International League. A young Brad Ausmus was the starting catcher.
Torey began managing in the Indians' system in 2002. He started in Low-A and rose through the ranks to Triple-A in 2006. After being passed over for the Indians' open manager position in favor of Manny Acta in 2010, he moved to Boston's system and managed Triple-A Pawtucket including many players on Boston's squad in the current World Series. He was then first base coach for John Farrell in Toronto, and moved with Farrell to Boston this year. He currently serves as John Farrell's bench coach in Boston, where he has participated in a historic turnaround from Bobby Valentine's 2012 season with the Red Sox.
Lovullo has interviewed for manager spots in the past with the Dodgers and Pirates. Rumors are that he is currently in the mix to manage the Cubs. If Theo Epstein is considering him, Torey must be open to new ways of understanding the game.
=Lovullo is now 48 years old, though he has been a part of over 30 baseball teams. He has stated his dream is to manage in the big leagues. He has nine years of minor league management experience. He has a Detroit connection. He has postseason experience, this year. If some of Sparky Anderson, Terry Francona, John Farrell and Ernie Harwell rubbed off on him, Dave Dombrowski should fulfill that dream.