USATSI_8029096_154511044_lowresAfter writing about the Rays’ unusual managerial search earlier today, I thought it would be fun to look back to see who else the Rays interviewed in 2005 when they ultimately hired Joe Maddon to replace Lou Piniella.

Maddon was one of three finalists, along with John McLaren (Piniella’s bench coach) and Bobby Valentine, who was managing in Japan at the time. Valentine might have had a better shot but it would have cost a lot to buy out his contract in Japan.

But before the finalists there were some other candidates and those included some pretty big names.

Candidates initially considered included Joe Girardi (the Yankees bench coach at the time and who later became the Marlins manager), Alan Trammell (had previously managed the Tigers), Terry Pendleton (the Braves hitting coach at the time), and Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt.

Other candidates from within the organization included coaches Billy Hatcher and Tom Foley, as well as triple-A manager Bill Evers. Evers eventually became Maddon’s bench coach and managed two games in 2006 when Maddon left the team to attend his then-girlfriend’s graduation.

In the end, it always sounded like it was never really that close as Maddon blew the team away during his interview “with big binders” full of preparation. Down the road, it will be interesting to look back at this managerial search and see how the candidates compared to the one ultimately chosen.

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