Momentum is an interesting thing in baseball. Maybe it’s just as good as tomorrow’s starting pitcher. Maybe it’s a motivator in the clubhouse or the dugout. And maybe it’s nothing. Whatever the case, I’m beginning to feel some momentum in our managerial Hall of Miller and Eric. Each of the last two elections saw us enshrine one manager, and today we’re going to double the size of our manager wing.
First though, I need to mention that two of our managers this election, Bill Terry and Bill McKechnie, will make it through to the second phase of our project. It will be from the list below that we look to fill the HoME after completing our initial sorting.
Jim Mutrie Harry Wright Charlie Comiskey Cap Anson Frank Selee Ned Hanlon Fred Clarke Clark Griffith George Stallings Frank Chance Hughie Jennings Wilbert Robinson Bill Terry Bill McKechnie
We’ve now reviewed the cases of 43 managers in our six elections. That means we have 57 still to evaluate for the first time. And with the fourteen managers above moving on, we have 71 to consider for our remaining 18 spots in the HoME. Here’s our yearly chart.
Remaining Remaining Year Nominees Elected Obituaries Continuing to Consider to Elect ================================================================================= 1950 6 2 2 2 71 18 1940 4 1 2 1 75 20 1930 6 1 3 2 78 21 1920 7 0 4 3 82 22 1910 7 0 5 2 86 22 1900 13 0 9 4 91 22
Hall of Miller and Eric
To the supreme novice, Connie Mack appears to be the best manager in baseball history. After all, he has as many wins as #2 and #64 combined. More surprisingly, perhaps, is that he has the same number of wins as Bill McKechnie and Lou Piniella, the guys who rank #13 and #14 all-time. On the other hand, Mack lost a lot, enough to get his career mark to below .500. His A’s finished last every year from 1915-1921. And they finished in the second division in all but one year from 1935-1950. One could blame Mack the the owner for letting Mack the manager hang on. Or you could blame Mack the manager for letting others run the club while he held the title. But Mack doesn’t get into the HoMe for what he didn’t do; what he did do was extensive. Around those losing seasons, his quiet management and teaching style led to two mini-dynasties. His A’s won the World Series in 1910, 1911, and 1913, as well as an AL pennant in 1914. After years in the dumps, they won again in 1929-1930, plus another AL pennant in 1931. Add two earlier pennants, and Mack went to the World Series nine times. Only John McGraw and Casey Stengel won more pennants. Only Joe McCarthy and Stengel won more World Series. There is no doubt that Connie Mack is one of the all-time greats, and thus an easy Phase I HoMEr.
Nobody won more World Series than professional manager Joe McCarthy, who took home seven championships with the Yankees from 1932-1943. He left the game fourth all-time in wins, and he remains eighth today. He’s one of six managers with four consecutive pennants. He’s second to John McGraw in games above .500, and he’s first ever in winning percentage among managers with substantial careers. Accolades go on and on. Truly, McCarthy was a master in the dugout. Like McGraw, he could see problems coming a couple of years down the road. Such vision allowed him to take care of issues before they began to hurt his team. In 1925, the Chicago Cubs finished last. They hired Joe McCarthy and began a run of fourth, fourth, third, first, and second. In 1930, the New York Yankees finished third. They hired Joe McCarthy and began a run of second, first, second, second, second, first, first, first, first, third, first, first, first, third, fourth, third. Joe McCarthy joined the Boston Red Sox in 1948. They finished second in both of his full campaigns. After he left, they didn’t reach second place again until 1967. His record of success was truly amazing. It’s probably accurate to call him the best manager in baseball history.
Hall of Fame shortstop Joe Cronin managed for fifteen seasons, thirteen of which were in Boston. However, he won one of his two pennants in Washington in 1933. The other came in 1946. Unfortunately, his teams were unsuccessful both times in the World Series. After the end of his managerial career, he became the general manager of the Red Sox, and after that President of the American League. When you consider that Cronin was also a HoME-level player, it’s clear that not too many had more impressive careers in the game. Still, as a manager, Cronin is out.
Eddie Dyer won the World Series in his first season with the Cardinals, 1946. The next three years he led the team to second place finishes, making it nine straight years for the Cards finishing in the top two. In 1950 St. Louis struggled to a fifth place finish, and Dyer was done, just as Dyer, his 446 wins, and his HoME consideration are now done.
We get through our 1960s crew next week. Eligible managers are revealed on Monday, and results come out a week from today.