When putting together a project like this, you begin to notice some things. And today I have a pretty big one, one that I’m not sure anyone else has ever noticed. The New York Yankees have been a pretty good franchise over the years. I know. Your mind is blown, right?
Okay, maybe not. Still, there are some pretty remarkable things about being a Yankee manager. There are only 24 eligible guys who have ever managed 100 games for the Yankees. Of those two dozen, there are ten Hall of Famers. Not all of them are Hall of Fame managers, of course. But I think it’s pretty remarkable that if you’ve managed 100 games for the Yankees there’s nearly a 42% chance you’re in the Hall of Fame.
Joe McCarthy 1460 Joe Torre 1173 Casey Stengel 1149 Miller Huggins 1067 Clark Griffith 419 Yogi Berra 192 Bucky Harris 191 Frank Chance 117 Bob Lemon 99 Bill Dickey 57
This got me to thinking about other teams. So in today’s post we’re going to review the AL, while we’ll save the NL for next week.
There have been 36 men to manage the Orioles at least 100 games, and seven of them are in the Hall. Earl Weaver leads the way, and he’s joined by Rogers Hornsby, Frank Robinson, George Sisler, Branch Rickey, Bobby Wallace, and Hugh Duffy. Hall of Famer Jim Bottomley also managed 78 games for the O’s in 1937. Stretching things a bit, eligible Orioles who managed at least 78 games have a just over a 22% chance of being Hall of Famers.
Current manager Buck Schowalter is fourth all-time in Oriole wins, training just Weaver, Jimmy McAleer, and Paul Richards. Give him two more seasons, and he’ll trail just Weaver. Maybe he gets in one day?
Boston Red Sox
Boston has had 35 guys manage over 100 games in addition to current manager John Farrell and Cleveland’s active guy, Terry Francona. Joe Cronin is their all-time leader in wins, and he joins Jimmy Collins, Dick Williams, Lou Boudreau, Ed Barrow, Joe McCarthy, Billy Herman, Hugh Duffy, Frank Chance, and Bucky Harris in the Hall. Ten Rex Sox managers of 35 are in the Hall, good for over 28%.
No manager is further over .500 in Red Sox history than 2004 and 2007 champ Terry Francona. But he was really unsuccessful in Philadelphia from 1997-2000, and he’s had decreasing levels of success in his three years in Cleveland. Even with his down year in 2015, he’s going to have averaged over 90 wins his last eleven seasons. Since he’s only 56, he could well have a lot of time left. He’s nearing 1300 wins, and perhaps he can get to 2000. If so, he’ll join nothing but Hall of Famers on the all-time wins list with that many victories.
Chicago White Sox
Jimmy Dykes is the all-time Pale Hose leader in wins, but he finished his career under .500. Next on the list is Hall of Famer Al Lopez. He joins Tony LaRussa, Ted Lyons, Eddie Collins, Hugh Duffy, Clark Griffith, Bob Lemon, Ray Schalk, and Johnny Evers in the Hall. If we drop our cut-off to 87, we add Larry Doby. There have been 32 eligible White Sox to manage 87 games, and ten in the Hall. That’s over 31%.
LaRussa had an amazing career, obviously. He’s one of only three managers ever to win at least 400 games with three different teams. Leo Durocher did it with the Dodgers (738), Giants (673), and Cubs (535). Bill McKechnie got there with the Reds (744), Bees (560), and Pirates (409). And LaRussa got there with the Cardinals (1408), A’s (798), and these White Sox (522). With the third most wins all-time, just 35 behind the immortal John McGraw, he’s a very deserving Hall of Famer.
The Indians haven’t exactly had a storied history. They have only six managers ever more than 37 games above .500. Overall they have 35 eligible managers with at least 100 games at the helm. And for not the greatest team, they sport a reasonable seven Hall of Famers, 20%, among the bunch. Lou Boudreau leads the way in wins. He’s followed by Tris Speaker, Al Lopez, Nap Lajoie, Frank Robinson, Walter Johnson, and Joe Gordon.
Among guys who managed more than three games in Cleveland, Mike Hargrove is third in winning percentage and second to Lopez in wins. After leaving Thome, Alomar, Lofton, and Ramirez in Cleveland, the Human Rain Delay really struggled with weak clubs in Baltimore and Seattle. Had he been given similar quality teams in his other two stops, perhaps he’d still be managing and climbing the all-time win list.
Because of a few very long careers, especially those of Hall of Famers Sparky Anderson and Hughie Jennings, the Tigers have only 28 eligible men to have managed 100 games. And they have comparatively few Hall of Famers. Joining Anderson and Jennings are Bucky Harris, Ty Cobb, Mickey Cochrane, and Ed Barrow. Still, that’s over 21%.
Jim Leyland is second in games above .500 and third in wins in Detroit. He won a World Series with the Marlins in 1997 and a couple of pennants with the Tigers. Fifteenth all-time in wins, there’s a chance that he gets into the Hall one day.
The former Colt .45’s have only been around since 1962. That explains why they have only 13 skippers ever with 100 games. Bill Virdon leads the way with 544 wins, and the only Hall of Famer ever running the Astros was Leo Durocher, who led the team to a 98-95 record in the last month of 1972 and 1973.
Kansas City Royals
Younger than the Astros, Kansas City joined the AL in 1969, and they’ve had only 19 managers ever. Just 15 of them managed 100 games. Three of those guys, Whitey Herzog, Bob Lemon, and Joe Gordon are in the Hall of Fame.
Gordon managed for four teams in five years in the bigs. In only 1959 with the Indians and 1969 with the expansion Royals did he manage an entire season. Wally Bunker, Dick Drago, and closer Moe Drabowsky were his only 10-game winners that year for a team that went 69-93.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
I hate their name. With that out of the way, they’ve had just 20 managers since they got started in 1961. The two who lasted the longest were their first manager, Bill Rigney, and their current leader, Mike Scioscia. Of the 16 to manage 100 games, only Dick Williams is in the Hall.
Mike Scioscia is an interesting case. He’s around 1400 wins, he’s only 56, and he won a World Series title in 2002. Ten more years at 80 wins per campaign gets him just ahead of Sparky Anderson for sixth ever. It would seem he has a great chance of getting to the Hall at some point.
The Twins entered the AL in 1901 as the Washington Senators. Yet, they have had only 30 managers ever. Only 26 are eligible and managed 100 games. Hall of Famers include Bucky Harris, Clark Griffith, Walter Johnson, Joe Cronin, and the current skipper, Paul Molitor.
Their two longest tenured managers, Bucky Harris and Tom Kelly, had losing records. In fact, of their nine managers who lasted at least five seasons, only Ron Gardenhire, Clark Griffith, and Sam Mele had winning records.
You may have heard of Connie Mack. He managed the A’s for 50 of the 115 years of their existence. The remaining 65 years have been managed by 29 other guys. Hall of Famers with at least 100 games include Mack, Tony LaRussa, Dick Williams, and Lou Boudreau. That’s four of their 25 eligibles with at least 100 games. Interestingly (or not), two of their three managers with fewer than 100 games are in the Hall, Joe Gordon and Luke Appling. Jeff Newman, a catcher for the A’s and Red Sox from 1976-1984, is the other. He went 2-8 in 1986 right before LaRussa took over. He’d never get another managerial job in the bigs.
Joining the AL in 1977, Seattle has not been a very successful franchise despite having players like Randy Johnson, Alex Rodriguez, Ken Griffey, and Edgar Martinez. As a result of their failings, they’ve gone through a lot of managers. They’ve had 19 in total, though just 15 have managed 100 games. And only Lou Piniella made it through four complete seasons. Dick Williams is their only Hall of Famer, and Seattle is one of frou AL franchises to employ Williams.
Current manager Lloyd McClendon will end his second season in Seattle sixth on their all-time win list. However, it’s no sure thing he’ll be back in the Pacific Northwest after a disappointing campaign. If he’s rehired and makes it through next year at a decent clip, he’ll trail only Piniella in wins.
Tampa Bay Rays
In their 18 seasons, the Rays have never had a Hall of Fame manager. However, there’s a shot Joe Maddon gets some love one day. And there’s a real shot Lou Piniella gets some consideration. I don’t think the same can be said for Larry Rothschild or Hal McRae. The book has yet to be written on the 37-year-old Kevin Cash.
Getting started as the 1963 version of the Washington Senators, you wouldn’t think this team would have gone through so many managers. You’d have thought incorrectly. The Rangers have had 25 managers in their 53 seasons. Only 15 managed a second season. Only Ron Washington, Bobby Valentine, and Johnny Oates managed five full. Only Washington, Oates, and Billy Hunter stand more than six games above .500. And only Ted Williams and Whitey Herzog are in the Hall. Trivially, they’ve had three guys, Eddie Stanky, Del Wilber, and Eddie Yost manage just one game. Only Yost lost.
Toronto Blue Jays
Unlike some other expansion teams, the Blue Jays have had a pretty successful franchise, winning the World Series in 1992 and 1993. Maybe in 2015 too? Time will tell. They’ve had only thirteen managers ever. Only eleven managed 100 games. And only nine are eligible for the Hall. Just Bobby Cox is in.
I was surprised at first when looking at the list of Yankee managers just how many are in the Hall of Fame. But maybe I shouldn’t have been. Sure, there’s a 42% chance you’re a Hall of Famer if you’re eligible and you managed the Yankees for 100+ games. But for a franchise as successful as the Bronx Bombers have been, that’s not a crazy number. The Orioles, Indians, and Tigers are over 20%. The Red Sox are at 28%. And the White Sox are at 31%.
Next week, we’ll look at the National League.