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Terry Francona



The best Christmas gift he ever got
Easy. I was 10, and I got an Oakland A's warmup jacket. My dad [Tito, a 15-year big league first baseman--outfielder] was playing with Oakland. They wore white spikes and green jackets. This was in the day [1969] before they sold those things, but I got a jacket that fit me! It was green, in that shiny, satiny material. I wore it to school every day.

On what he would get his Red Sox players for the holidays
I'd get them back into shape. And I'd give Papelbon dance lessons.

What he would get the Yankees
Nothing good—actually, I didn't know Santa comes to the Yankees.

His New Year's resolutions
Not to eat at two in the morning. But we'd have to go 162--0 for me to keep it. When we lose, I end up eating late—if the minibar's open, it's M&M's; if not, it's a club sandwich from room service.

On when his thoughts switch from winning this year's World Series to next season
They've switched. The losses stay with you longer than the wins. I've been sitting home for the past week doing reports on our players for spring training.

The secret to having gone 8--0 as a manager in World Series games
Good players. Very, very good players.

On his public effort to quit chewing tobacco last spring
I didn't succeed; I lasted until mid-May. I try to quit every year; it's a horrible habit I wish I didn't have. I don't like that children see it, especially my kids. It's something I fight. I don't touch it over the winter.

On life as a big leaguer's son
He retired when I was 11, and from age seven to 11 were some of the happiest days of my life. I hung out at the ballpark, and my favorite players weren't necessarily the stars but the guys who played catch with me. My favorites are players like Al Downing and Rick Monday. They didn't mind a kid running around.