How Garner became a candidate

Upon hearing the Astros were in search of a full-time manager with plenty of experience, Phil Garner last week called president of baseball operations Tal Smith to give an endorsement of Bob Melvin, who had coached under Garner in Milwaukee.

Before Garner could even mention Melvin’s name, he became a candidate himself.

“All of sudden on the caller ID it showed Phil Garner was calling and I picked up and said, ‘Are you a candidate?'” Smith said. “I was being facetious. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I wouldn’t mind it, but it’s up to you guys.'”

And that’s how Garner, one of most popular managers in team history and the only one to lead the Astros to the World Series, found himself back in the mix to return to the team that dismissed him with a month remaining in the 2007 season.

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