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Managers

Phase II, Election III

Bill McKechnie MagazinePart of the reason we started this process, beyond the love of the game, love of the Hall, and the disappointment in its current state of affairs (How does Bill Dahlen not get in???), is our love of debate. We both debate fir the right reasons, to find truth. We want to get it right. Sometimes, however, we find that we can get it right, at least as far as we see it, without much debate. So for the third election in a row, there’s no controversy between Miller and Eric. There’s no debate to speak of. We just agreed to induct Bill McKechnie and write an obituary for Charlie Grimm.

Before we get to those, let me update a couple of charts for you.

First, here are the fourteen men now in the manager’s wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric.

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

And there are now just nineteen men we’ll consider for the remaining eight 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
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
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

Bill McKechnie was truly one of the all-time greats. He specialized as a turnaround artist. In 1922, he replaced George Gibson in Pittsburgh mid-year, got the Pirates to play .570 ball for three years, then went to the World Series and won in 1925. In 1928, he took over the Cardinals (already a strong team), got them to 95 wins, the most in team history and best percentage since Charlie Comiskey’s AA winners. Then he was let go after losing the World Series in 1928. In 1930, he took over the Braves, an awful team that hadn’t finished higher than fourth since 1916, reaching that lofty height only one in that time. They immediately improved by 14 games over the previous season and climbed to sixth for the first time in eleven years. After slipping back to seventh in 1931, he got this crumby franchise up to fifth and fourth for the next three seasons, before they slid back down the standings. These teams had one star: Wally Berger. Not one of the other players was either a household name or anyone we’ve even given more than scant consideration to. Extremely impressive. McKechnie left for Cincinnati in 1938. There, he took a team that hadn’t finished above .500 in ten years and turned them into a powerhouse. He didn’t finish under .500 for another seven years and went to two World Series, winning in 1940. Before McKechnie, the Reds had mostly finished seventh or eighth. In his first year, they improved by 26 games. After a bad year in 1945 and a bad partial in 1946, he Reds let him go. They didn’t finish above .500 or higher than fifth again until 1956. McKechnie was excellent in his career in terms of Pythagenpat and compared to expectation. He’s in the Hall of Fame, went to the World Series four times, won 1896 games with a .524 percentage, and is now a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Obituaries

Charlie GrimmCharlie Grimm won three pennants and 1287 games at a .547 clip over 19 seasons with the Cubs and Braves. In their reviews of him, both Bill James and Chris Jaffe were surprised by how well Grimm rates. After reading their work, we probably shouldn’t still have been surprised. I was. “Jolly Cholly” saw his most impressive seasons with the Cubs. Finishing 1932 for Rogers Hornsby, they won the pennant. They remained a competitive team until he was sent packing in 1938. Yes, the Cubs went to the World Series that year without Grimm, but things turned worse in a hurry. They finished fourth then next year and then never again higher than fifth until they brought back Grimm in 1944. Another pennant in 1945 and some good work for the Braves, however, isn’t enough to make him a HoMEr.

Our next election is next Friday. One more entrant and at least one more obituary are on their way.

Miller

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