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Francona recalls being taken in Draft

Francona recalls being taken in Draft

CLEVELAND -- Life came full circle for the Francona family when the hotel phone rang on Draft day more than three decades ago.

Expos general manager John McHale was calling to inform Terry Francona that he had been selected by Montreal in the first round of the 1980 First-Year Player Draft. Terry's father, Tito Francona, could not help but find a bit of humor in the situation.

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McHale was the general manager of the Tigers in 1958, when Tito played for Detroit. Prior to Terry's birth on April 22, 1959, Tito asked McHale for a $500 raise to help with the costs of the Francona's growing family.

"John McHale said, 'That's not my problem,'" Indians manager Terry Francona said with a smile on Saturday. "So one of the first things my dad said to him was, 'Do you remember that son that I wanted the $500 for?' [McHale] goes, 'Yeah,' and [my dad] goes 'Well it's going to cost you a lot more now.' They got a laugh out of it."

The Expos signed Terry Francona for $100,000 after using the Draft's 22nd overall selection to take him out of the University of Arizona.

Tito Francona -- traded from Detroit to Cleveland on March 21 in '59 -- and Terry's mom, Roberta, were both with their son in Omaha, Neb., on the day he was drafted by Montreal. Terry Francona then helped Arizona capture the College World Series championship and was named the Most Outstanding Player for the tournament in the process.

"I've heard [my dad] say it," Francona said, "that that was probably the happiest, most fun week of their lives. It was kind of cool to share it with them."

Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Major League Bastian, and follow him on Twitter @MLBastian. Alec Shirkey is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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