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Managers

Phase II, Election II

Tampa's Al Lopez Field, 1955-1988

Tampa’s Al Lopez Field, 1955-1988

As promised at the start of this project’s second phase, we’re going to elect one manager from our backlog on each of eleven Fridays. Last time we inducted Frank Selee. This time we’re adding the great Al Lopez to the mix. And for the second election in a row, Eric and I just agreed. See, we don’t have to rank these guys and determind that Lopez is, say, exactly the 15th best manager ever. We only have to make sure they’re in our top-22. Eric’s considering both peak and career value, much like he did for players. He’s considering Pythagenpat winning percentages, expected wins, titles, playoff appearances, and a host of other things. Miller is considering the same stuff with different weights. It’s not likely we’ll agree without debate for too many more elections, but for now, so far, so good.

In addition to electing Al Lopez, today we write obituaries for Frank Robinson, Red Schoendienst, and Bill Terry.

But first, there’s some business to conduct. We now have thirteen managers of the twenty-two we’ll ultimately elect in the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Walter Alston       Joe McCarthy
Sparky Anderson     John McGraw
Bobby Cox           Frank Selee
Miller Huggins      Casey Stengel
Tony LaRussa        Joe Torre
Al Lopez            Earl Weaver
Connie Mack         

And there are now just twenty-one men we’ll consider for the remaining nine spots.

                                                          G>	WS    Flags
                  Yrs     From       W      L     %     .500    Won   Won    Teams
===================================================================================
Cap Anson	   21	1875-1898   1295    947	  .578	 348	 0     5       3
Frank Chance	   11	1905-1923    946    648	  .593	 298     2     4       3
Fred Clarke	   19	1897-1915   1602   1181	  .576	 421	 1     4       2
Charlie Comiskey   12	1883-1894    840    541	  .608	 299	 1     4       3
Leo Durocher	   24	1939-1973   2008   1709	  .540	 299	 1     3       4
Clark Griffith	   20	1901-1920   1491   1367	  .522	 124	 0     1       4
Charlie Grimm	   19	1932-1960   1287   1067	  .547	 220	 0     3       2
Ned Hanlon	   19	1889-1907   1313   1164	  .530	 149	 0     5       5
Bucky Harris	   29	1924-1956   2158   2219	  .493	 -61	 2     3       5
Whitey Herzog	   18	1973-1990   1281   1125	  .532	 156	 1     3       4
Ralph Houk	   20	1961-1984   1619   1531	  .514	  88	 2     3       3
Hughie Jennings	   16	1907-1925   1184    995	  .543	 189	 0     3       2
Tommy Lasorda	   21	1976-1996   1599   1439	  .526	 160	 2     4       1
Billy Martin	   16	1969-1988   1253   1013	  .553	 240	 1     2       5
Bill McKechnie	   25	1915-1946   1896   1723	  .524	 173	 2     4       5
Danny Murtaugh	   15	1957-1976   1115    950	  .540	 165	 2     2       1
Steve O'Neill	   14	1935-1954   1040    821	  .559	 219	 1     1       4
Lou Piniella	   23	1986-2010   1835   1713	  .517	 122	 1     1       5
Billy Southworth   13	1929-1951   1044    704	  .597	 340	 2     4       2
Dick Williams	   21	1967-1988   1571   1451	  .520	 120	 2     4       6
Harry Wright	   23	1871-1893   1225    885	  .581	 340	 0     6       4

Hall of Miller and Eric

Al Lopez did everything well as a manager, except the most important thing, which is winning the World Series. The reason he didn’t win was pretty simple. The second Yankee dynasty lasted almost the entirety of Lopez’ career. He managed the Indians from 1951-1956 and the White Sox from 1957-1965. In those fifteen seasons, the Yankees went to the World Series twelve times. Lopez went in 1954 with the Indians and 1959 with the White Sox. Not until Lopez’ final full campaign did someone other than his team of the Yankees get to the Fall Classic. Overall, he finished first twice and second another ten times in his fifteen seasons. He just kept winning year after year, something that’s common only among the game’s greatest managers. And he won at a greater rate than we’d expect given his talent. He was especially adept at getting the most he could out of starting pitchers. So with only two pennants but a .584 winning percentage and 1410 wins, we induct Lopez into the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Obituaries

Frank RobinsonThe first African American manager ever when he was hired to run the perennial also-ran Indians in 1975, Frank Robinson was never really given a team with the chops to compete for a title. In 1976, he brought Cleveland its first winning club since 1968. He oversaw consecutive winning years in San Francisco in 1981 and 1982, the first time they did that since Willie Mays left. He turned the 0-21 Orioles into a second place club in 1989. And in Montreal, he turned a team that lost 94+ for four straight seasons into a team that won 83 for the next two. Overall, Robinson won 1065 games at a .475 clip. Though he was never really given the chance to be great, but he was still pretty impressive.

Red SchoendienstThe second of our three Hall of Fame players to receive obituaries this election, Red Schoendienst won 1041 games at a .522 clip in 14 seasons over four decades, all with the Cardinals. He won the World Series in 1967 and got there again in 1968. Chris Jaffe points out that Red’s most significant contribution was helping to shrink bullpen outings. Maybe he’s the forerunner to Bruce Sutter, Dennis Eckersley, and the champion 2015 Royals. Trivially, Whitey Herzog, he, and Joe Torre managed the 1990 Cardinals, the only time in the game’s history that three 1000-win managers skippered the same team in the same year.

Bill TerryBill Terry led the New York Giants from 1932-1941. In his first full season, 1933, New York won the World Series. They got there again in 1936 and 1937 under Terry. It didn’t hurt Terry the manager that he had a still productive Terry the player at the start of his run at the helm. He retired as a player in 1936. The Giants were still very good in 1937, but they lost it after that. Maybe he did too. Non-great managers are seldom very good over long stretches. And some player/manager types stop being good at the second when they stop doing what they’re really meant to do, play the game. Maybe they lose focus. Maybe they lose passion. Whatever the reason, Terry and his 823 wins and .555 rate won’t see another election.

The results of our third Phase II election will take place next week. We’ll see you then.

Miller

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