Backman fired by Diamondbacks, four days after he was hired; replaced by Melvin

Friday, November 5th 2004, 12:33 pm
By: News On 6

PHOENIX (AP) _ Arizona Diamondbacks manager Wally Backman was fired Friday just four days after he was hired following revelations he was arrested twice and struggled with financial problems.

Former Seattle manager Bob Melvin will replace Backman. Melvin, fired by the Mariners the day after the season ended, was Bob Brenly's bench coach on Arizona's World Series championship team of 2001.

Arizona's management had been unaware of Backman's problems until media reports that followed his hiring. Diamondbacks officials said they failed to do a criminal or financial background check on Backman.

``It's obviously a mistake on our part to have made a decision without having done the proper background work,'' managing partner Ken Kendrick said. ``I take full responsibility for that.''

Backman, Sporting News minor league manager of the year this season, had agreed Monday to a two-year contract.

After Backman's problems were first revealed, Arizona said it would stick with him. But, after several days, the team changed its mind.

``He's very disappointed but he understands and respects our decision,'' Kendrick said.

Backman was arrested in 2001 after a fight at his home involving his wife and one of her friends in Prineville, Ore. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanor harassment and was sentenced to 12 months' probation, ordered to undergo an anger management evaluation and donate $1,000 to the local Boys and Girls Club.

He was arrested on a driving under the influence charge in Kennewick, Wash., in 2000. He pleaded guilty after fighting that charge for two years.

Backman has also had financial problems, filing for bankruptcy several years ago.