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Mack was 87 when he finally turned in his straw hat and quit managing in 1950. He won 3,731 games, but lost 3,948 in a career that stretched over 53 years.

McKeon, who retired two years after leading Florida to a World Series title in 2003, was watching his granddaughter play softball when he got the call offering him the job. He had been itching to get back in the game again and _ after asking his wife if it was OK _ quickly agreed to return to Florida.

Age, he says, really is just a number. Eighty is the new 65.

“Maybe I’m not hip with the Twitter or Facebook or stuff like that, but outside of that I don’t have any problem disciplining my kids _ or these players,” McKeon said.

Here’s hoping the players who could be his great-grandchildren respond. The best story of the summer could be a senior citizen leading the Marlins to respectability, if not the playoffs.

Then maybe the interim could be dropped from McKeon’s title, and he could get a new contract to help supplement his Social Security.

Something long term would do nicely.


Tim Dahlberg is a national sports columnist for The Associated Press. Write to him at tdahlberg(at) or

(This version CORRECTS Corrects to National League East in 7th paragraph. Adds photos.)