Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) - Terry Francona was introduced Monday as the new manager of the Cleveland Indians.
Francona will be a big league skipper for a third time, following stints in Philadelphia and Boston. He guided the Red Sox to a pair of World Series titles, but did not return after the 2011 season and spent this year as a baseball analyst with ESPN.
After thanking people at ESPN, Francona said his relationships with Indians team president Mark Shapiro and general manager Chris Antonetti factored heavily into his decision to take the job. He spent the 2001 campaign with the Indians as a special assistant to then-GM Shapiro.
"When I was let go by the Phillies in 2000, Mark reached out to me and I ended up taking the job as special assistant to baseball (operations)," Francona said. "I met Chris and immediately struck up a friendship that has lasted through today.
"I value their friendship and guidance, and their leadership. I know we have challenges ahead of us, but I look forward to tackling these challenges together."
The Indians finished 68-94 this past season, better than only the Minnesota Twins in the American League. Manny Acta was fired with six games remaining and Sandy Alomar Jr. guided the club for the final week. Alomar was also a candidate for the full-time position.
Francona will inherit a team that was just 3 1/2 games out of first place in late July and went just 18-45 over the final two-plus months of the season.
"We're going to compete. We'll always compete," Francona said about guiding a young club. "We may not win every game, but we won't back down from anyone.
"The goal here is for me to spend all my energy trying to ensure these players play the game correctly and with respect, so people in Cleveland can say they're proud to be an Indians fan."
Francona has a career managerial record of 1,029-915. After a four-year run in Philadelphia, he spent eight incredible seasons at the helm of the Red Sox, ending the franchise's historic 86-year World Series title drought in 2004 and taking the club to another Fall Classic triumph in 2007.
It was Francona's Red Sox that kept the Indians out of the 2007 World Series, as Boston rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat Cleveland in the ALCS.
Francona has Cleveland roots. His father, Tito, played for the Tribe from 1959-64, and Terry played for the Indians in 1988.
"I kind of cried a little bit," Terry said about when he told his father he was taking the Indians job. "I didn't want to, but I did. My dad spent six years here. It was little emotional."
Francona signed a four-year contract with the Indians.