By design, our elections in this first phase are pretty easy. Guys who are no-brainers get into the Hall of Miller and Eric, and those who might possibly be among the top-22 move onto our second phase. It’s only if we know you’re not in that group you receive an obituary. Maybe our list of HoMErs is small now, and maybe our list of those continuing is growing faster than it should for folks who might fancy themselves experts in the field.
And that’s just the thing. We’re not experts yet. We have to hone our processes and debate our inputs as we move along in the process. Basically, it’s more important that we get it done right than it is that we get it done.
With that said, we have two more mangers, Leo Durocher and Danny Murtaugh, who will be moving to our next phase. That means we have a total of 21 guys so far on that list. Here they are.
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 Billy Southworth Steve O'Neill Bucky Harris Charlie Grimm Al Lopez Leo Durocher Danny Murtaugh
Overall, we started with 100 managers this round, and at the start of this election there were still 60 remaining to consider. Today Walter Alston becomes our sixth manager in the HoME. And since two are moving to the next phase, that means four more will receive obituaries today. That means, in all, we have 55 managers to consider for the final 16 spots in the HoME.
Remaining Remaining Year Nominees Elected Obituaries Continuing to Consider to Elect ================================================================================= 1980 7 1 4 2 55 16 1970 8 1 6 1 60 17 1960 8 0 4 4 67 18 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
Walter Alston managed the Dodgers from 1954-1976, which means he has more wins, 2040, managing for only one team than anyone else ever. Overall, he won seven pennants and four World Series because he was patient, thoughtful, and never willing to criticize a player in public. Were history a little different, or Charlie Dressen a little more modest, it’s possible Walter Alston never would have managed in the bigs. A guy who struck out in his only ML at-bat against Lon Warneke might actually have had a more extensive playing career than managerial career. Dressen, someone who thought a lot of himself, managed the Dodgers to 105 wins and an NL pennant in 1953. In the off-season, he demanded a three-year deal. The Dodgers wanted to keep him, but they wouldn’t give him more than a single season. Dressen wouldn’t take it, but Alston did. Twenty-three times. He never got to select his own coaches, and the great Dodger farm system was absolutely constructed by the front office, not the manager. While Alston had some great talent, it was his patience that allowed him to get the most out of his players. Bill James says that only Alston and Connie Mack would have stuck with Sandy Koufax and all of his control problems. He gave up 4.4-6.0 walks per nine every year from 1955-1960. But Alston was patient, and he and the Dodgers reaped the rewards. He showed similar patience with Don Sutton, a mediocre pitcher for five years before turning the corner. Alston used his whole roster and employed every strategy in the book, keeping his bench involved and clearly basing his strategies on his talent. Clearly Alston is one of the best managers ever and should absolutely be a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric.
Over the years Gil Hodges has received more than his fair share of Hall support as a player. And I have to think that his leadership of the 1969 Miracle Mets has contributed to that support. An interesting case could be made for Hodges as a combination candidate. But at this point in the HoME, we’re not looking for combination candidates. He was a good manager who improved the Senators and then the Mets by employing his entire bench and his bullpen. However, Hodges won only 660 games at a .467 clip. For the second time, we’re ending Hodges’ chances.
As the first manager of the Los Angeles Angels and the guy who managed the Giants as they moved from New York to San Francisco, I’d say that Bill Rigney should be somewhat more notable than he is. Though he never won a playoff game, only making the ALCS with the 1970 Twins, Rigney did manage 1239 victories overall. The wins are nice, but there were more losses, and there’s nothing too special about Rigney, unless you consider being the last guy to routinely bring your ace out of the pen on throw days and going with starters on two-days rest more than anyone of his time. Rigney won’t move on.
In a dozen years managing the White Sox and Orioles, Paul Richards won 923 games but never made the playoffs. Of note, when he took over as manager of the Orioles in 1955, he was also given the General Manager role, something no other manager had been given since John McGraw. And in his GM role, he put together a 17-player trade with the Yankees in which New York acquired both Don Larsen and Bob Turley. Perhaps he grew into the GM role. I don’t know. As a manager, he should be complimented for turning weak White Sox and Oriole teams into contenders. But he didn’t do enough in that role. No HoME plaque for him.
The Swamp Fox, Al Dark, can make a case for inclusion in the Hall as a combo candidate. He was an underrated shortstop, not all that different in value from Luis Aparicio, Phil Rizzuto, and Travis Jackson. And he managed four teams, including the A’s in both Kansas City and Oakland. He took home the 1962 NL pennant with the Giants and the 1974 World Series with the A’s. Overall he won 994 games and is close to moving to our next round. Not close enough. When in Doubt, Fire the Manager.