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...And another Dave Dombrowski article...

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Marlins' former GM Dombrowski laid foundation Oct. 10, 2003

SportsLine.com wire reports

MIAMI -- Detroit Tigers president Dave Dombrowski is headed for the World Series, even if his team did finish 47 games out of first place.

And he might just be headed back to Pro Player Stadium.

As general manager of the Florida Marlins, Dombrowski laid the foundation for the team now in the NL Championship Series. He plans to attend Games 3, 4 and 5 of the World Series, which will be in Miami if the Marlins can get past the Chicago Cubs.

"It's sure to be an overflow of emotion and a lot of memories, because I haven't been back since I left," Dombrowski said by phone from Detroit.

He resigned two years ago to take over the Tigers, who lost 106 games in his first season and a near-record 119 this year. Throw in a dismal stretch in Miami after Dombrowski was forced to dismantle the 1997 World Series champion Marlins, and his teams have lost 599 games in the past six seasons.

But he's still considered one of baseball's best executives, and admirers point to the surprising success of this year's Marlins as proof.

"What's going on with the Marlins really is the job that Dave Dombrowski did with putting most of the team together," Cubs manager Dusty Baker said. "He really gets the credit for it. Other than a couple of guys here, this is his team. I just want to commend him."

Larry Beinfest, who replaced Dombrowski in Miami, and owner Jeffrey Loria also deserve and receive praise for the team's resurgence. Loria agreed to spend the money necessary to mount a playoff bid. Beinfest made several key acquisitions, and perhaps his best move was to hire Jack McKeon as manager in May.

The vital role Dombrowski played is less obvious.

He joined the expansion Marlins in 1991, about 18 months before their first game, and they won the World Series in just their fifth season -- a record at the time. When owner Wayne Huizenga ordered Dombrowski to slash payroll after that season, an arduous rebuilding process began, with the Marlins trading star players for minor leaguers.

"It was wrenching for everybody -- the fans, the players and the people in the organization," Dombrowski said. "You felt angry, hurt and self-pity. Once you got over those emotions, you had two choices: Do the best job you can or quit."

Dombrowski decided against quitting. Instead, under his direction, the Marlins brought up Luis Castillo and then Alex Gonzalez from their farm system. They acquired Derrek Lee, Mike Lowell, Brad Penny and Braden Looper in trades, drafted Josh Beckett and outmaneuvered the New York Yankees to sign a 16-year-old Miguel Cabrera.

That means the Marlins can thank Dombrowski for their infield, a top reliever and their starting pitchers in Games 1 and 2 of the NLCS.

Among those traded during the breakup of the '97 team was Al Leiter, the starting pitcher in Game 7 of the World Series that year. He went to the New York Mets in a deal that yielded A.J. Burnett, a talented right-hander now recovering from elbow surgery.

"There are so many fingerprints of Dave that are still here," Leiter said as he watched the Marlins take batting practice at the NLCS. "He put together a world champion in five years. With the dismantling, he could have taken it in a negative way, but five or six years later, this is the product. He put the core together."

Tigers fans can be forgiven if they view such commendations with cynicism, because they have yet to see evidence of Dombrowski's winning touch in Detroit.

"We're trying to build an organization here that will be successful, and it's a painful process," Dombrowski said. "Sometimes you have to take a step backward to go forward. The Marlins' success shows it can be done."

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He really should get full credit for the Marlins. The Marlins wouldn't have J. Encarnacion or M. Redman if it wasn't for DD either.

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Boy, Mike Ilitch better fire DD. Since he doesn't care about the Tigers he better be careful or else in 3 years the Tigers could be very good and that would mean money would have to come away from the Red Wings, which we all know is what he really cares about.

Why he went out and committed $12 million to one of baseball's most regarded executives is beyond me. He should have put a pizza guy in there.

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<<He really should get full credit for the Marlins. The Marlins wouldn't have J. Encarnacion or M. Redman if it wasn't for DD either.>>

Redman had a good season for them but I'll take Dmitri Young over Juan Encarnacion hands down.

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Originally posted by tiger337

<<He really should get full credit for the Marlins. The Marlins wouldn't have J. Encarnacion or M. Redman if it wasn't for DD either.>>

Redman had a good season for them but I'll take Dmitri Young over Juan Encarnacion hands down.

I was being sarcastic. On a talent basis I'd agree with you. But considering D. Young's contract, I'd rather have either one of the others.

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Looks like after 11 years of losing and aproximately 1000 losses Illitch may have made the right move by hiring Dombrowski.

Whats that old saying about blind squirrells and acorns?

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I remeber an article about Randy Smith getting the credit for building the San Diego Padres the year they went to the World Series.

How'd that one turn out for us?

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