PHILADELPHIA, July 7 -- The Florida Marlins made manager Rene Lachemann -- the only skipper in the team's history -- the first managing casualty of the 1996 major league season when they fired him Sunday morning. The Marlins made the announcement at a news conference at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia, also announcing that hitting coach Jose Morales was fired. The team announced that coach Cookie Rojas would manage the team Sunday against the Phillies in the completion of a four-game series. No permanent replacement has been named. Lachemann was hired to be the expansion team's first manager Oct. 23, 1992. He guided Florida to a 39-47 record this season and has a career managerial mark of 428-559. Florida's all-time record is 231-285 in 516 games. The average term for the first 12 expansion managers was 576 games, or 3 1/2 uninterrupted seasons. 'My biggest regret is that this team is going to win and I'm not going to be around to watch it happen,' Lachamann said. 'When you don't win and you don't execute, the manager goes -- that's part of the territory. 'I leave here knowing I gave this organization my best. I gave everything I possibly could. I tried to do the things I knew were right. We worked hard preparing this team as best we could, but still, we didn't execute and we didn't win. 'I can leave here with my head held up,' he continued. 'I know I did the best I could.
Lach is a survivor.' He added that the organization did not offer him another position and said that he could not get a flight out of Philadelphia Sunday and was allowed to take the team charter back home. 'This was an extremely difficult decision to make at this time,' Florida general manager Dave Dombrowski said. 'Lach has done a great deal for this organization and has been a pleasure to work with. We've shared many special times since the start of this franchise. 'But the club has not played well. We haven't executed and I felt that a change would be for the best.' The Marlins finished in sixth place in Lachemann's first season, improved to fifth in 1994 and came in fourth last season. 'We've got some guys who don't bust their butts everyday,' Marlins third baseman Terry Pendleton said. 'They just come to the ballpark and collect a paycheck. That's not the way it should be.' The 51-year-old Lachemann made Florida the third major-league team he has managed. He took over the Seattle Mariners in 1981 and was fired during the 1983 season. He managed the Milwaukee Brewers in 1984 and spent the next two seasons on the staff of the Boston Red Sox before joining the Oakland Athletics for six years under Tony La Russa. As a player, Lachemann spent just 118 games in the majors. He batted .210 with nine homers for the Kansas City and Oakland Athletics in three separate stints in 1965, 1966 and 1968. Lachemann's brother, Marcel, is the manager of the California Angels.