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03/14/2006 1:17 PM ET
Red Sox, manager Terry Francona agree to two-year contract extension
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FORT MYERS -- The Boston Red Sox and manager Terry Francona today agreed to terms on a two-year contract extension that covers the 2007 and 2008 seasons. Executive Vice President/General Manager Theo Epstein made the announcement today from the club's Spring Training home in Fort Myers, FL.

Named the 44th manager in Red Sox history on December 4, 2003, Francona in his first two seasons has led the club to back-to-back post-season appearances, won at least 95 games in each campaign and guided the Red Sox to their first World Championship since 1918 in his first year at the helm in 2004. Francona became the first manager ever to lead the Red Sox into the postseason in both of his first two seasons in Boston, and he has won more games during his first two seasons as Red Sox manager (193) than any other in club history.

In 2004, Francona became the winningest manager in club post-season history, as Boston went 11-3 in defeating the Anaheim Angels in the ALDS (3-0), the New York Yankees in the ALCS (4-3) and the St. Louis Cardinals in the World Series (4-0). He led the Red Sox to a 98-64 regular-season record and the American League Wild Card. In the franchise's 105-year history, only one manager has posted a better record in his first season, as Jake Stahl managed the 1912 Red Sox to a 105-47 mark and the World Series championship.

Last year in 2005, Francona managed the Red Sox to a 95-67 record, a tie with the Yankees for first place in the A.L. East and, by virtue of losing the season series with New York, 10-9, the A.L. Wild Card. With a 193-131 (.596) record in 324 games with the Red Sox, Francona should become the second-fastest manager in club history to reach 200 wins. Joe McCarthy needed 323 games to win 2000 between 1948 and 1950.

In his 27th season in professional baseball, Francona begins his seventh as a major league manager and his third with the Red Sox, as he previously guided the Philadelphia Phillies for four season from 1997-2000. Only 37 when hired by the Phillies, he was the youngest manager in the majors at the time. In 2001, Francona served the Indians General Manager John Hart as a Special Assistant to Baseball Operations before returning to the dugout as Jerry Narron's bench coach with the Texas Rangers in 2002. Francona spent 2003 as Ken Macha's bench coach with the A.L. West champion Oakland Athletics.

Francona began his coaching career immediately upon the conclusion of his playing days in 1991, serving as hitting instructor for the White Sox' rookie-level Gulf Coast League club. He managed Chicago's Single-A South Bend affiliate in 1992 and led Double-A Birmingham from 1993-95. Francona made the jump to the major leagues in 1996, when he served as third base coach on Detroit manager Buddy Bell's staff.

A first-round draft pick (22nd overall) by the Montreal Expos in 1980, Francona played 12 pro seasons from 1980-91. He spent 10 years in the majors with the Expos (1981-85), Cubs (1986), Reds (1987), Indians (1988) and Brewers (1989-90) as a first baseman and outfielder, the same positions played by his father, Tito, who spent 15 seasons in the major leagues with nine teams from 1956-70. Terry, his wife Jacque and their four children make their full-time home in Boston.

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