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Managers

Phase II, Election VI

Leo Durocher Magazine

Anyone surprised that Durocher’s mouth is open?

Today we pass the three-quarter post in the Hall of Miller and Eric’s managerial project. Leo “The Lip” Durocher gets the nod to make it seventeen of our twenty-two managers enshrined. Just five more managers to go, and still there has not been a lot of debate between me and Eric. That’s a good thing if the top managers really separate themselves. It’s a less good thing if we’re involved in groupthink.

So what I wanted to do was look at where we are with managers compared to the same level of players. With 17/22 in, we’re at 77.3%. That means of our 215 players, we’d be looking at about the 166-level. Guys around that level include Kenny Lofton, Dwight Evans, Bill Terry, Ozzie Smith, Willie Keeler, Luis Tiant, Old Hoss Radbourn, Joe McGinnity, Dazzy Vance, and Red Faber. On very few of these guys did we hesitate much at all. So I’d guess we’re in similar shape with managers. I had been okay with Durocher a couple of elections ago; Eric wanted to wait. No big deal. The take-away here is that we’re not any more agreeable on managers than we were on players, not really. It’s good to be able to verify that we’re still taking this process very seriously.

Again, Leo Durocher is in, and we’re writing an obituary for one more, Steve O’Neill.

But before we report on those two, let’s update our situation.

There are now seventeen managers enshrined in the Hall of Miller and Eric.

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

And there are now just thirteen men we’ll consider for the remaining five 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
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
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

Over parts of five decades, Leo Durocher managed the Dodgers, Giants, Cubs, and Astros to 2008 wins, which was good for second most among NL managers at the time of his retirement. His .540 winning percentage was both indicative of a manager who had talent as well as someone who got the most out of his players, particularly his hitters. He was on the right side of the 1947 Jackie Robinson debate saying he would trade anyone who objected to playing with Robinson. Of course, “The Lip” wasn’t Jackie’s first manager, as he was suspended for the 1947 season because of his gambling associations, which may or may not have been real. He was also one of the forerunners in lefty-on-lefty bullpen match-ups. Elsewhere on the field, he won 100 games for the Dodgers in both 1941 and 1942. In the former season, he took Brooklyn to the World Series where they lost to the Yankees. A decade later he got back to the Fall Classic. This time his Giants lost to the Yankees. It wasn’t until 1954 when Willie Mays, Johnny Antonelli, and the Giants brought Durocher his first title when they swept the Indians in four games. His next to last act may have been his most impressive on some levels. He took over the Cubs in 1966 and finished tenth. This marked the 20th consecutive year the Cubs failed to finish in the top-three. But Durocher turned things around in Chicago, seeing the Cubs to finishes of third, third, second, and second in the next four seasons. An all-time great manager, Leo Durocher is now a member of the Hall of Miller and Eric.

Obituaries

Steve O'NeillSteve O’Neill is one of the more under-the-radar outstanding managers we’ve ever seen. He led four teams in parts of fourteen seasons. His Indians, Tigers, Red Sox, and Phillies won 1040 games behind O’Neill, and they played at an impressive .559 rate. Trivially, only he and Joe McCarthy managed for more than five years without ever posting a losing record. The peak of his success came from 1944-1947 in Detroit. The Tigers finished second during three of those years, and in the other they won the World Series. Ultimately, O’Neill gets an obituary because of a lack of depth to his career. Others turned more teams around to make them winners, or they lasted longer with a high-quality club, or they won more titles, or they won more games. Still, O’Neill had a heck of a managerial career.

That’s it for this election. Just five more until our manager’s wing is filled.

Miller

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