By Bill Shaikin
October 22, 2001
ANAHEIM–The Angels fired minor league director Darrell Miller, abruptly terminating his association with the team that had employed him for more than half his life.
“I was crushed,” Miller said. “I was so shocked. I still can’t get over it.”
The Angels replaced Miller with baseball operations manager Tony Reagins, 34, who assisted Miller and scouting director Donny Rowland during the past two seasons.
Miller’s contract was not renewed. Miller said he was stunned the Angels did not offer severance pay or another position in the organization, particularly since he has two children and a third due in February.
General manager Bill Stoneman promoted Miller from the scouting staff in December 1999, six weeks after the Angels hired Stoneman. “Unfortunately, it just didn’t work out,” Stoneman said.
Stoneman declined further comment; Miller said Stoneman did not provide a specific reason for the dismissal. According to sources, personality conflicts existed between Miller and several members of the minor league staff.
“There are some people with agendas out there, but that’s all I want to say about that. I want to stay positive,” Miller said. “I want to thank Bill Stoneman for giving me a chance. I want to thank Mr. and Mrs. Autry (former owners Gene and Jackie). Everything I have is because of what they did for me.”
Miller is the brother of NBA star Reggie Miller, the shooting guard for the Indiana Pacers, and of Cheryl Miller, the former Southern California women’s basketball star and current basketball broadcaster.
Miler, 42, spent 22 seasons in the organization, starting as a catcher. The Angels selected him from Cal Poly Pomona in the ninth round of the June 1979 draft; he played in Anaheim during five seasons, including the last division championship one in 1986. The team released him in 1989, and he played in the minor leagues for three other organizations before returning to the Angels as director of community relations in 1990.
He started the Angels’ rookie programs in Southern California, directed the Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities (RBI) World Series at Anaheim Stadium in 1994 and served as special assignment scout and inner-city coordinator before Stoneman promoted him to minor league director.
In that capacity, Miller said, he is proud of securing five new affiliates last year and helping to revive a poorly-regarded farm system. The Angels’ Double-A Arkansas affiliate won the Texas League championship this year.
“My goal was to die an Angel,” he said, “but I’m sure better things are around the bend. There’s a reason for everything. I can’t see the reason for this right now, but I’ll see it someday.”