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12/30/10 9:12 PM EST

Ex-Tiger Boros, manager of A's, Padres, dies

Nearly 50-year career began as player with Detroit in 1957

Steve Boros, 74, who spent almost a half-century working in baseball and managed both the Athletics and the Padres, passed away Wednesday night at his home in Deland, Fla.

The cause of death was complications from multiple myeloma, which he had had been fighting for four years, said his son, Steve Boros Jr.

Boros, a native of Flint, Mich., who graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in literature, was originally signed by the Tigers in 1957 and was working for them in various front-office capacities in his last nine years in the game before retiring to Florida in 2004.

"The Detroit Tigers were saddened to hear of the passing of Steve Boros," Tigers president Dave Dombrowski said in a statement. "Steve started and finished his career as a Tiger, first as a player, and most recently with us in the front office. Steve was a life-long baseball man, who we respected for his years of experience as a player, manager and teacher of the game. We've lost another long-standing member of our Tigers' family and the organization extends its heartfelt condolences to the Boros family."

The Tigers lost former general manager Bill Lajoie earlier this week. Hall of Fame broadcaster Ernie Harwell and manager Sparky Anderson also passed away in 2010.

"There was only one Steve Boros," said Glenn Ezell, who succeeded Boros as Tigers director of player development in 2004 and served in that post until this past summer. "You can't make a mold and then produce another one, because he was absoutely one of a kind. Conscientious, wonderful, cared to instruct. Ain't none better, none better at all."

Boros, a well-known proponent of the running game, was one of the first coaches to use a stopwatch to time pitchers moves. He was instrumental in developing Royals outfielder Willie Wilson and Expos outfielder Tim Raines into top-flight running threats.

"Steve might have been the nicest person in the game as a player, coach or manager, whichever direction you want to go," said Rangers coach Jackie Moore, who knew Boros going back to their early days together with the Tigers. "He was a quality individual. I will always remember, as a young player, he took me under his wing and made it a lot easier for me.

"He was a real sound baseball man in all areas. He covered just about everything you could: player, coach, manager and farm director. He obviously had a very sound baseball career."

Boros, primarily a third baseman, made his Major League debut for the Tigers on June 19, 1957. After being named the American Association's Most Valuable Player in 1960, Boros became the Tigers' regular third baseman in 1961 and hit .270 with five home runs and 62 RBIs in 116 games and 485 plate appearances.

The following season he batted .228 with 16 home runs and 47 RBIs in 116 games and was then traded to the Cubs that winter. His last full season in the Major Leagues as a player was in 1964 when he played 117 games for the Reds and batted .257 with two home runs and 31 RBIs.

He continued to play Minor League baseball through 1969 before beginning his post-playing career in 1970 as a manager in the Royals farm system. He was on Whitey Herzog's coaching staff with the Royals in 1975-79, when they won three American League West titles.

In 1983, after coaching for the Montreal Expos, he replaced Billy Martin as manager of the Athletics. He was 74-88 in his first full season in 1983 and 20-24 to begin the following season before being dismissed. He took over as the Padres manager in 1986 and spent one season in that job, going 74-88 again.

Boros then worked for the Dodgers and, along with Mel Didier, was one of their advance scouts who prepared them for the 1988 World Series against Oakland. The Dodgers won in five games.

"He was one of the most thorough guys I have ever been around," Didier said. "When we won the World Series, he was one of the advance scouts and did a great job. He broke down hitters really well and was just a really thorough guy. He was one of the best people I have ever been around. He had fun but was a no-foolishness guy. He took his job seriously."

Boros spent his final nine seasons with the Tigers organization as the Minor League field coordinator (1996-2002), director of player development (2003) and special assistant to the general manager (2004).

"He cared about what he was doing," Ezell said. "Steve Boros absolutely cared about the players. And you know what? He never cheated the players, nor did he cheat his staff. This man was phenomenal. He had a smile on his face from the moment you ever met him. He was a pretty good man that helped a lot of people put themselves in a position to be in the big leagues."

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.