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Phase II, Election IV

Welcome to the HoME, Billy.

Welcome to the HoME, Billy.

As we turn to 2016 and I hope mine is the best baseball manager blog post you’ve read this year, we continue to elect at a pace of one manager per week, but we’ve slowed in our obituaries. After three in each of the first two elections in Phase II, we’ve had just one in the last two. After some tremendous work by Eric looking at what teams lost the most value to World War II, we determined that Billy Southworth’s numbers with the Cardinals are legitimate enough to deserve election into the Hall of Miller and Eric. At the same time, we’re going to bid adieu to Hall of Famer Bucky Harris. Harris blew the 1925 World Series by letting Walter Johnson go the distance, giving up 15 hits in a 9-7 loss in Game 7. While this loss certainly didn’t help him, Harris is gone in our eyes because he was just an average manager.

Before the HoME bio and obit though, let’s update a couple of charts.

Below are the fifteen managers in that wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric

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

And there are now just seventeen men we’ll consider for the remaining seven 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
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
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

In thirteen seasons with the Cardinals and Braves, Billy Southworth went to the World Series four times, winning them in 1942 and 1944. In addition to the two titles and 1044 wins, he posted an outstanding .597 winning percentage. Of all managers since the formation of the American League, that trails only Joe McCarthy in that category. He had to compete against his own success, especially in St. Louis, but he was still impressive compared to expectation. His Pythagenpat numbers are good too, and at his peak they’re excellent. He took over a very strong Cardinals team, and he directed them to new heights. They were better under him than the Gas House Gang ever was. From 1941-1945 he averaged over 101 wins per season, prompting Eric to investigate his losses to WWII. As it turns out, those Cardinal teams weren’t a function of a disparity in wartime losses. Southworth truly did a great job. After leaving St. Louis in 1945, he immediately took over the Boston Braves, a team that hadn’t finished better than fifth in a dozen seasons. He piloted them to fourth, third, and then the 1948 World Series, which they lost against the Indians. Overall, he was an outstanding manager. And how he’s a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric.


Bucky HarrisBucky Harris is seventh all-time in managerial wins. And when he retired from the bench in 1956, he trailed only Connie Mack and John McGraw. Of course, he’s third in losses. And at the time of his retirement, he trailed only Connie Mack. Yes, Harris is in the Hall of Fame, but we find him to be fairly pedestrian as a manager. He won fewer games compared to expectations than the very great, and he’s also clearly behind those getting into the HoME now. Where he really failed was in one-run games. Chris Jaffe points out that his teams went 649-705 for a .479 winning percentage in those contests. Bad luck and bullpen usage are usually the reasons teams struggle in one-run contests. Harris had both Firpo Marberry and Joe Page though. Why did he struggle? Was it just bad luck? If luck is what you find at the intersection of preparation and opportunity, perhaps bad luck is found at opportunity’s intersection with poor preparation. I don’t know. What I do know is that whether through poor luck of mediocre managing, Bucky Harris will not become a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric.

The fifth election in the second phase of our project takes place in a week. See you then.




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