Moving on with what is disappointingly becoming all too anti-climactic, we’re going to induct one more of the game’s greatest managers this year. And while I don’t think we chose the very best process from a reader perspective, I continue to realize just how much we have to learn about the tier or three below the game’s greatest to make the managerial wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric as impressive as the main player wing.
Some of the good news this election is that we’re making a final decision on seven of our eight nominees. The one about whom we’re not certain, and who will make it to the second phase of our project, is the man who bled Dodger blue, Tommy Lasorda. Lasorda reached the Hall in 1997. Perhaps he’ll reach the HoME one day, but as of now we’re unsure just how much of the credit for his first two full seasons–and half of his World Series trips–should go to him. Here’s the complete list of those who will be with us in the second phase.
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 Ralph Houk Dick Williams Billy Martin Whitey Herzog Red Schoendienst Tommy Lasorda
Progress is a good thing. And we’re making progress. With Sparky Anderson becoming the eighth manager to get into the HoME and obituaries of six more below, we now have to review just 42 more men in order to find the final 14 managers for our HoME.
Remaining Remaining Year Nominees Elected Obituaries Continuing to Consider to Elect ================================================================================= 2000 8 1 6 1 42 14 1990 11 1 5 5 49 15 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
Known as “Captain Hook” for fondness for removing his starter at the first sign of trouble, Sparky Anderson was one of the best managers ever. But Hook wasn’t just impatient, he was an innovator. Unlike some managers of his day who wanted their starters to go nine innings, Anderson wanted them to pitch all out and let the pen finish the win for the team. And perhaps because he helped to usher in the five-man rotation, his hook came far later as his career developed. In other words, he also adapted. Accolades include leading both the Big Red Machine and the 1984 Tigers. Overall he won three titles to go with his five pennants and an impressive 2194 wins over 26 years in Cincinnati and Detroit. He had his number retired by both of those teams and entered the Hall of Fame in 2000. The next stop for him is the Hall of Miller and Eric.
My lasting memory of Don Zimmer is being thrown down after charging Pedro Martinez in a Sox/Yanks bench clearing brawl in the 2003 ALCS. It shouldn’t be. Zimmer was a true baseball man. During his last year assisting in Tampa, he wore number 66, a number that represented the number of years he’d spent in baseball. With 885 wins and only one playoff appearance, he doesn’t deserve a place in the HoME. Even so, I think it’s awesome that the Rays retired his #66.
The 437 wins of Joe Altobelli mark the lowest number of any manager on our list who retired in 1983 or later. He makes it to this stage due to his work in 1983 winning the World Series with the Baltimore Orioles. That title will have to do for Altobelli; no HoME plaque is coming his way.
In 13 seasons with the Brewers, Expos, and Angels, Buck Rogers won 784 games and made the playoffs in the 1981 split season. His managerial career was ordinary, and his HoME consideration ends here.
In his 19 seasons, John McNamara managed six different teams. But he was probably best known for his time running the Red Sox from 1985-1988, particularly the pennant-winning ’86 squad. Rather famously, Johnny Mac left a gimpy Bill Buckner in the sixth game of the World Series against the Mets even though he had replaced Buck defensively in every other critical late-inning situation in the playoffs. You might remember that Mookie Wilson’s grounder went through Bill Buckner’s legs, not Dave Stapleton’s. McNamara’s no HoMEr.
In his first full season as manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Dallas Green led them to their first World Series title in franchise history. He managed a total of eight years in Philly and with both New York teams, winning 454 games but losing 22 more than that. He doesn’t belong in the HoME.
Jim Fregosi was a much better player than a manager. He had shots with the Angels, White Sox, Phillies, and Blue Jays. He got to the playoffs twice and the World Series once, though he never won. In fact, he was below .500 at three of his four stops and posted a .484 winning percentage overall, winning 1028 games. He’s no HoMEr.