By Alan Eskew
July 25, 2002
KANSAS CITY, Mo.–After 23 years with the Royals organization–seven as a player and 16 in the front office–farm director Bob Hegman has been fired.
Hegman had just completed a trip to see the Royals’ short-season Spokane club in the Northwest League. At the end of the day on Tuesday, general manager Allard Baird called Hegman in for a meeting.
“I met with Allard and he told me they were downsizing and streamlining and I wouldn’t have a position, and they didn’t have another position for me,” Hegman said. “I was flabbergasted.
“The Royals are the only organization I’ve ever been with. I feel like it is my organization. I’ve been here through the good times and the bad times. I wanted to be a part of it again when we’re a championship team. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be a part of it.”
Hegman was an infielder in the Royals system from 1980-86 and appeared in one major league game in the 1985 World Series season as a defensive replacement for second baseman Frank White. He joined the front office in 1986 and was director of minor league operations from 1993-98. It was under his tenure in 1994 that Baseball America named the Royals Organization of the Year.
Hegman was named senior director of minor league operations in October 1998, a position he held until this week. He was named the Royals’ associate of the year in 1999.
“I don’t know what to do at this point,” Hegman said. “I’ve played for the Royals, worked for the Royals, always rooted for them. That’s what hurts. I’m 44 and been with the Royals for 23 years.
“I thank Allard for staying with me in difficult times in the past. It’s been a good road and long road, unfortunately that road came to an end.”
Hegman said he has already received several calls from other organizations since he was fired. “Hopefully, someone else can use my services,” he said.
In the restructured front office, assistant general manager Muzzy Jackson will take over the bulk of Hegman’s duties. Jackson’s new title is assistant general manager for player personnel.
Jin Wong, who has been manager of scouting operations since 2001, has been named manager of baseball operations. He will handle some contract negotiations and do research for arbitration-eligible players.
“I wouldn’t call it a shake-up, by no means,” Baird said. “I just think it is streamlining of the operations. Bob Hegman is a quality person and a quality baseball man, and (it is) unfortunate that we had to make this move.”
A possible work stoppage has led to the Royals scaling back.
“There’s a lot of gray area on this season and at the end of this season on where we are going,” Baird said. “I think we’re all optimistic it is going to work out, but I think everybody has to prepare.”