SIOUX CITY | Suspended for the final 13 games of his third season with the team, Stan Cliburn’s stint as field manager of the Sioux City Explorers has come to an end.
Four days after the American Association team finished its 100-game schedule by winning seven of its last nine games, the Explorers announced Friday that Cliburn’s contract will not be renewed for 2014, the team’s 22nd season of professional baseball.
With pitching coach Ty Marotz filling in as interim manager over the final 13 games, posting a 7-6 record despite losing the first four of those, Cliburn’s three-year record with the team was 127-160. Even with the strong finish, the team’s 38-62 mark was the third poorest in franchise history.
“On behalf of the entire Explorers’ organization, I would like to thank Stan for his efforts these past three seasons,’’ said Shane Tritz, the Explorers’ general manager. “As an organization, we felt a change was needed to provide our fans and supports with a more competitive team on the field for the 2014 season and beyond.
“We also wanted to make the decision quickly to ensure that a new manager would have as much time as possible to become involved in the community, alongside the coaches, players and front office staff, before the start of next season.’’
The 2013 campaign was the 24th season as a professional baseball manager for Cliburn, who could not be reached for comment. The 56-year-old Jackson, Miss., native was also a journeyman minor league catcher who made it to the major leagues in 1980, appearing in 54 games with the California Angels. He played 408 of his 950 career minor league games at the Class AAA level.
Cliburn, who has 1,387 wins alongside 1,371 losses, embarked on his managing career in 1988, serving four seasons in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ farm system. He managed the Texas Rangers’ Class AA Tulsa affiliate for two seasons (1993-94) and then spent five years at the helm in Alexandria, La., in the independent Texas-Louisiana League.
Cliburn returned to affiliated baseball in 2000 with Quad Cities, the Minnesota Twins’ Class A Midwest League farm club. He wound up toiling a full decade in the Twins’ organization, managing Class AA New Britain (Conn.) for five years and Class AAA Rochester (N.Y.) for four.
After a year as a coach for Tucson of the independent Golden League, Cliburn returned to managing in 2011, when he guided the Explorers to a 51-49 record. The X’s were 45-55 last season and had a mark of 31-56 when he was suspended Aug. 20 following his arrest for drunk driving. The disposition of that case is still pending, but Cliburn was convicted of another drunk driving charge in Sioux City last year.
Cliburn and his brother, Stew, a former pitcher with the Angels, are among just nine sets of twins to both make it to the majors.