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.
Steve 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.