The Los Angeles Dodgers' firing of 1995 Triple-A manager Rick Dempsey this week marked a sudden fall from grace for the popular former catcher.
The announcement of Dempsey's dismissal took up one sentence in a news release Thursday heralding Phil Regan's hiring to manage the Pacific Coast League Albuquerque Dukes. The Dodgers said Dempsey was "offered another assignment" with the organization.
But Dempsey said he turned down the offer, which would have meant a demotion, and was "at a loss for words" about the way the Albuquerque firing came about.
Dempsey, 46, said he requested a meeting Tuesday with Dodgers executive vice president Fred Claire to ask about his future with the team. Specifically, Dempsey wanted to know whether he was in line for a major-league coaching job and whether he would be a candidate for Dodgers manager when Tom Lasorda retires.
"I asked Fred if there was any future for me in the Dodgers organization," Dempsey said. "He was very honest. He said there probably would be none in the near future."
After that, Dempsey said, Dodgers minor-league director Charlie Blaney "informed me that since I was not going to be considered for the major-league job as manager, there was no sense in me working at the Triple-A level for the Dodgers."
Dempsey said he was offered managing jobs with Single-A San Bernardino and Double-A San Antonio, a coaching position on Regan's Albuquerque staff or a major-league advance-scouting assignment.
"I'm not taking any steps backward," said Dempsey, who wants to manage in the big leagues.
Dempsey said the whole meeting took 15 minutes.
Claire and Blaney could not be reached for comment.
Dempsey, who managed the Dukes to the PCL title in his rookie season, 1994, and came within a game of the playoffs this year, said he had "no hard feelings" but was "very sad things have worked out the way they did."
On the other hand, he said, the firing might work out well for him. He said he has contacted the Orioles, for whom he played 10 years, New York Yankees and Oakland Athletics about coaching jobs.
Last year, Dempsey was interviewed for the Orioles managing job that went to Regan, who was fired after the 71-73 Orioles finished third in the AL East in 1995.