One of our most proud HoME moments occurred several weeks after we wrote an obituary for Dodger great Roy Campanella. See, we didn’t write an obituary for a player until we were certain that he wasn’t going to get into the HoME. Once Campanella got his, he was done. And then we reconsidered. We decided we’d rather get it right than try to support what we eventually deemed to be a mistake. Roy Campanella eventually got into the HoME.
Well, a few weeks ago we reconsidered a manager, Phillie and Red great Pat Moran. And this is another election that makes us incredibly proud. someone we previously decided wouldn’t get a HoME plaque is getting one today.
Let’s get to our obituaries first and then reveal the final manager in the HoME and then the complete HoME manager roster.
If you’re looking for someone who should manage your team, someone nicknamed “The Peerless Leader” is a great choice. Frank Chance managed the Cubs during the best years in that franchise’s history, starting in 1905. Chance’s first full season was a year later. He led the Cubs to a pennant that year, then two straight World Series victories, and then another pennant two years later. In seven full seasons in Chicago, Chance averaged just shy of 102 wins per. He was less successful in two years with the Yankees. And he was really unsuccessful in Boston for one year after his playing days ended. All told Chance won 946 games, but his .593 percentage was outstanding. Ultimately, Chance gets his obituary because there just wasn’t enough depth to his career.
Miller was incredibly impressed that Tommy Lasorda was able to win the World Series with the Dodgers in his fifth season and again in his thirteenth. None but the very best managers seem to be able to win that deep into their careers. Eric was dismayed because Lasorda didn’t really win at a pace greater than you’d expect. His early teams were basically constructed by Walter Alston, and later he had an extraordinary pipeline of talent coming his way. In the end, we decided the 21-year Dodger with 1599 wins, seven playoff appearances, and a .526 winning percentages struggled enough with in-game decisions and had things laid out too nicely for him. Lasorda was very good, just not HoME-worthy.
Eric was incredibly impressed that Billy Martin turned teams around in Minnesota, Detroit, Texas, Oakland, and sort of New York. Martin got more out of his players than just about any manager ever. And if we were only to consider what a manager added to his teams, Martin would be in. Miller was dismayed because of the scorched earth left by Martin when he departed a team. Only once in his career did he last for three full years. And his 1978 Yankees won the World Series with Bob Lemon, not him. He got to the Series twice, winning once. And he made it to the playoffs three other times, with four total teams. His 1253 wins were impressive. So was his .553 percentage given some of the talent he was given. But what he took from a team wasn’t at all insignificant, and that’s why Martin won’t be getting in.
In a bit of a swerve based on the opening paragraphs of this post, we’re not going to elect Pat Moran. What we wrote about him in September when discussing our 1930 election still applies. Bright’s Disease cost him years of managing and many years of life. With only 748 wins, he was worth reconsidering, but not electing.
Hall of Miller and Eric
Not long after we decided to put together a manager’s wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric, we also decided that we’d put together a pioneers wing. As in the Hall, we’re going to induct 28 guys under the broad category of “pioneer”. Several elections ago we decided that Harry Wright was better placed in that category than in the manager category. Then these last elections got tough. We couldn’t agree on Chance, Lasorda, or Martin. And frankly, neither of us loved any of them. But Wright was there waiting for us. So we’ve decided that he’s our 22nd manager, not our 1st pioneer. Wright was essentially the first manager. Bill James says that he was the only successful manager of the 1870s. In the five years of the National Association, he led the Boston Red Stockings to four titles and an impossible .789 winning percentage. Those four titles were consecutive, making him one of only six managers ever with four straight. When the NL began, Wright where he took home two more titles. Boston, Providence, and Philadelphia were all fortunate enough to benefit from his services. Overall, he led teams for 23 seasons, winning 1225 games at a .581 clip. And he’s the final member of the manager wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric.
Here’s the entire manager wing of the Hall of Miller and Eric.
Walter Alston Miller Huggins Frank Selee Sparky Anderson Tony La Russa Billy Southworth Cap Anson Al Lopez Casey Stengel Fred Clarke Connie Mack Joe Torre Bobby Cox Joe McCarthy Earl Weaver Leo Durocher John McGraw Dick Williams Ned Hanlon Bill McKechnie Harry Wright Whitey Herzog
So what’s next? We have 28 pioneers to elect. More on those pioneers coming soon.