Late Tuesday towards the end during his second interview in Cleveland, Manny Acta was asked what he would do if both the Houston Astros and the Indians were to offer him a job.
For as impressed as the 40-year-old managerial candidate was with the people he'd met so far in Cleveland, it was the Astros who'd signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1986 out of San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic. And it was Houston for whom he later broke in with as a young coach when he faced the fact that managing was his ticket to the major leagues.
A bit surprised by the question, Acta said he was humbled by the mere mention of the idea but insisted he simply couldn't fathom it.
Just four days later, that exact scenario became reality when the Astros first offered Acta their managerial job Saturday, only to be outbid by the Tribe later in the day.
Realizing Acta was in talks with Houston, the Indians put a halt to their managerial search and quickly swooped in and one-upped Houston by offering Acta a three-year contract with a club option for 2013 against the Astros original offer of two years.
"I knew we might lose him because he got offered a job," Indians general manager Mark Shapiro said. "They offered him a job first (while) we were still working through our process. So we sped up our time frame, since we were headed that direction anyway."
That is how Acta became the 40th Indians manager late Saturday, a decision that was ceremonially confirmed Monday at 4 p.m. when Shapiro slipped a No. 11 jersey on the broad shoulders of the 6-foot-2 Acta in a press room int he bowels of Progressive Field.