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Clashing Personalities Cost Mets’ Gm His Job

Thu., July 17, 1997

Joe McIlvaine was fired Wednesday as general manager of the surprising New York Mets, the apparent victim of a personality conflict with co-owner Fred Wilpon and manager Bobby Valentine.

Steve Phillips, 34, was promoted from assistant general manager to the GM job, and will be given a contract through the 2000 season. McIlvaine, who was offered another job in the organization, was the Mets’ scouting director when they picked Phillips in the 1981 June draft.

Wilpon and Valentine both praised McIlvaine’s skill in player evaluation and development. McIlvaine was offered an unspecified job in that area, and has not yet decided whether to take it.

Wilpon said it was in other areas, such as finance, traveling with the team and meeting with the media, where McIlvaine was not as strong.

This much was true, though: Wilpon, Valentine and Phillips all have precise, detail-oriented personalities, while McIlvaine has a more laid-back style.

Fielder out 6-8 weeks

New York Yankees designated hitter Cecil Fielder will miss six to eight weeks after fracturing his right thumb during a head-first slide in Tuesday’s win over Cleveland.

Fielder, placed on the disabled list for the first time in his career, will undergo surgery today in New York.

“It’s just part of the baseball season. They’re saying six to eight weeks but you never know until they operate,” Yankees manager Joe Torre said.

Bumpy road for Phillies

After a stunning victory by the worst team in baseball over the best team, the Philadelphia Phillies may have tempted fate one too many times. On the way home, the team’s charter bus ran into an airplane.

The Phillies - 4 for 47 since May - landed at Philadelphia International Airport early Wednesday following an 8-1 victory over the first-place Atlanta Braves. The team bus was driving off the airfield when it scraped against the wing of an American Airlines 727 charter plane.

No one was injured.

Catchers swapped

In a trade of backup catchers, the San Francisco Giants sent Marcus Jensen to the Detroit Tigers for Brian Johnson.

Johnson, 29, batted .237 with two home runs and 18 RBIs in 45 games with the Tigers this season before he was optioned to Triple-A Toledo last week. He’s a career .359 pinch-hitter (14 for 39).

Ripken ails

Cal Ripken has been receiving treatment for back spasms this week, although the pain wasn’t enough to stop him from starting in his major-league record 2,407th consecutive game Wednesday night.

Ripken’s streak began on May 30, 1982.

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