February 15, 1944 |
Carl Harrison "Stump" Merrill (born February 15, 1944 in Brunswick, Maine) is a former manager in Major League Baseball who served as manager of the New York Yankees in 1990 and 1991. He has spent some thirty years in the Yankees organization, and has also managed several of that team's minor league affiliates.
Merrill began his baseball career as a catcher for the Maine Black Bears, where he also played football and earned a degree in physical education. He was selected by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 1966 free-agent draft. He spent that season in the class-A New York–Penn League with the Batavia Clippers, and the following year with single-A teams in Bakersfield and Eugene. In 1968 and 1969, Merrill was at the double-A level with the Reading Phillies, and returned to Eugene in 1970 and 1971 while that team was at the triple-A level. His playing career ended after the 1971 season due to a leg injury.
Merrill's managerial record started in 1978 with the West Haven Yankees of the Eastern League. He led the team to the best overall record in the league that season, and to a first-place finish in 1979. When the Yankees moved their affiliation to the Nashville Sounds team, Merrill moved as well, guiding the team to two more first-place finishes in 1980 and 1981.
In 1982 and 1983, Merrill managed the Fort Lauderdale Yankees of the Florida State League, winning the league championship in 1982. For the 1984 season, he jumped to the triple-A level, managing the Columbus Clippers to another first-place finish.
Merrill joined the New York Yankees in 1985 as first-base coach for manager Yogi Berra, but was recalled to Columbus in mid-season to again serve as that team's manager. He rejoined the major-league team in 1986 as a coach on Lou Piniella's staff.
During the 1988 season, Merrill was sent to the Albany-Colonie Yankees, then the team's double-A affiliate in the Eastern League. He won the league title that season, and did so yet again in 1989, guiding the Prince William Cannons to the Class A Carolina League championship.
In 1990, Merrill began the season with Columbus before getting the call to take charge of the New York Yankees in June when Bucky Dent was fired as manager. Stump finished out what would be one of the worst seasons in Yankees history. The Yankees finished 67-95 (49-64 under Merrill), dead last in the American League and second-worst in baseball. It was only the fourth time that the storied franchise had finished with the worst record in the league. However, Merrill was not blamed for the debacle and was brought back for the 1991 season—the first time in four years that the Yankees had a single manager for the entire season. However, after the Yankees could only improve to 71-91, he was replaced by Buck Showalter prior to the 1992 season and served that season as a roving minor-league instructor.
During 1993 and 1994, Merrill once again managed the Columbus Clippers before spending 1995 as a special assignment scout. In 1996, Merrill guided the Clippers for a third time, winning the International League title, the Governor's Cup. Along the way, Merrill won his 1000th game as a manager on August 2, 1996. He remained with the Clippers for the 1997 and 1998 seasons before returning to New York.
In 1999 and 2000, Merrill had a two-year stint as Special Assistant to the General Manager under Brian Cashman. He returned to the dugout in 2001 to manage the Yankees' double-A farm club, then the Norwich Navigators. When the Yankees changed affiliations after the 2002 season, Merrill moved with the team once more, managing the Trenton Thunder in 2003 and 2004.
Note: Year-by-year career details taken from Norwich Navigators media guide and game programs.
Merrill's nickname, "Stump", was given to him in 1963 by Jack Butterfield, his college baseball coach at Maine. Merrill recalled of the coining: "In my freshman year, we were walking out of the field house. I was with a tall pitcher who was about 6-foot-5. Just as we were outside, Jack Butterfield was trying to get my attention. He hollered at me three or four times and I didn't hear him. Finally he said, 'hey Stump you little devil, turn around.' The pitcher heard it, and I guess it stuck."
- Traughber, Bill (May 9, 2011). "Looking Back: Former Sounds Manager Stump Merrill". MILB.com. Archived from the original on June 22, 2014. Retrieved June 22, 2014.
- Career statistics and player information from The Baseball Cube, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- career managerial record Baseball-Reference.com