- Joe McDonald, Reporter, ESPNBoston.com
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Lamont, 64, spent eight hours with Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington on Saturday at Fenway Park and it went well, according to the GM.
"Real well," Cherington said. "Some of the candidates I've had a preexisting relationship with, but I didn't with Gene. The year he was here I was in a different part of the organization so I didn't get a chance to know him very well."
Lamont joins Toronto Blue Jays first-base coach Torey Lovullo, Cleveland Indians bench coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Philadelphia Phillies bench coach Pete Mackanin and Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach Dale Sveum as the five candidates.
Lamont is no doubt a baseball lifer.
"I've been at it a long time," he said. "Sometimes that's good. Sometimes that's bad. I've been in baseball since '65, of course not all of it managing, but I'd like to think I've seen most things."
Lamont has been in pro ball for 47 years as a player, manager and coach at all different levels. He has eight years of managerial experience at the big league level with the Chicago White Sox (1992-95) and the Pittsburgh Pirates (1997-2000).
He played professionally for 13 seasons (1965-77) and spent 12 of those years in the Tigers organization and one with the Atlanta Braves. Lamont spent a total of five seasons in the big leagues with the Tigers.
After his playing career ended, Lamont began managing in the minors for the Kansas City Royals in 1978 through 1985. In 1986, he joined Jim Leyland's coaching staff with the Pirates as the third-base coach until 1996. After managing in Pittsburgh, he then served as the Red Sox's third-base coach in 2001 before serving in the same role with the Houston Astros from 2002 to 2004.
In 2005, he was the manager for the Phillies' Triple-A affiliate before being named Detroit's third-base coach on Oct. 11, 2005.
"When we were looking for an experienced candidate to include in the process, we did a lot of work on a number of people and just kept getting good stuff back on Gene as a baseball guy, as a person," Cherington said. "His experience in Chicago and Pittsburgh, if you dig deeper into it, I feel like he did a very good job in Chicago and had them in the playoff contention the years he was there. In Pittsburgh, he didn't have the talent, but he got them to overachieve a couple of those years.
"We felt like he was the right experienced candidate to bring in and it was a great chance to get to know him. He's a solid guy, a really good baseball guy with a good sense of humor. I feel like I know him a lot better now than I did eight hours ago and I'm glad we brought him in."
Lamont worked for the Red Sox in 2001 as the third-base coach under then-manager Jimy Williams, and later in that season for Joe Kerrigan.
"It was a tough year," Lamont said. "I came here and a lot of people thought I knew Jimy, but I didn't know Jimy before that. We became really close and Jimy got fired, which I thought probably shouldn't have happened. But it happened and it happens in baseball. It turned out to be a tough year. We weren't very good."
But having that first-hand experience in Boston could help Lamont if he is chosen as the next manager.
"Being here for a year it wasn't quite then like it is now," Lamont said. "It was getting there, but this is the thing to do now. The thing to do is say, 'Hey, I went to the Red Sox game last night.' That's when you really have something, and as a franchise, that wasn't quite there, yet."
Lamont has a close working and personal relationship with Tigers manager Leyland. The two have similar philosophies about the game, but Lamont also has his own.
"If they think they're getting Jim Leyland, they're not getting Jim Leyland, they're getting Gene Lamont," he said. "But I've learned a lot from Jim and how to handle players and how to handle the game some. I think I'll manage a lot like him because I think he's the best. If you don't learn from somebody who you think is really good then you're not very smart."
Lamont is a no-nonsense kind of guy. He made that clear during his interview with Cherington, too.
"I told them every game I watch I manage," Lamont said. "If there's a better opportunity than this with a team, I don't know where it would be. Hopefully things will work out."
Joe McDonald covers the Red Sox for ESPNBoston.com.
2hJohn Fisher, ESPN Stats & Information