The Standards of a Hall of Fame Manager Part II

February 19, 2013

                What we have essentially done here is to take all of the things that managers do and pound them into one dimension.    We’ve taken the Wins, Losses, Winning Percentage, Championships won and record of teams exceeding expectations, and stated all of that along a common scale to enable us to compare the credentials of a Hall of Fame candidate with those of the managers actually selected to the Hall of Fame.   For Hall of Fame candidates, let’s go back to the 1950s, and start there.

                I’ll list the managers by date of birth.

GROUP ONE—The 1950s

                Burt Shotton as a player was a rail-thin leadoff man in the Dead Ball era who would draw 100 walks a year and steal 40 bases.  He played for Branch Rickey in St. Louis in the 1920s, and Rickey liked him.    He managed those Phillies teams in the late 1920s/early 1930s which had ridiculous hitting totals with Chuck Klein, Lefty O’Doul and Don Hurst, but no pitching; he did manage to win 71 games with the Phillies in 1929 and 78 in 1932, and those were the two best seasons that the Phillies had between 1918 and 1948.   They generally would lose 105.

                When Leo Durocher was suspended by the Commissioner in 1947, Rickey hired Shotton to manage the Dodgers, so Shotton was the manager for Jackie Robinson in Jackie’s first season.   The Dodgers did OK under Shotton. …well, they won the pennant. .. .and decided they could live without Leo’s substandard manners, so Shotton took over for Durocher again in mid-season 1948, and managed the Dodgers to the 1949 NL championship.

                Dick Young, a sportswriter/professional provocateur in the Dan Shaughnessy mold, always referred to Shotton as KOBS, which stood for "Kindly Old Burt Shotton", and Young more or less hounded Shotton from his job.

                Steve O’Neill, catcher for Cleveland in the Tris Speaker era, was, as a player, a combative redhead known for getting into fights on the field and occasionally in the dugout.   As a manager he was still competitive but, like Shotton, in the "likeable manager" category.   He won a World Series with Detroit in 1945, actually the only World Series title for this group of seven 1950s managers.

                When Shotton was fired he was replaced by Charlie Dressen, who for some reason is listed in all modern sources as "Chuck" Dressen, although he was universally referred to as Charlie while he was managing.    Dressen was regarded as very smart, but his ego was a little out of control.

                Dressen got the "smart player" tag during the 1933 World Series.   Cliff Bolton had hit .410 for the 1933 Senators (16 for 39) and was being used as a pinch hitter during the series.   The Giant manager, Bill Terry, went to the mound to tell the pitcher to walk Bolton, but Dressen barged into the conference un-invited and told Terry that he had managed against Bolton in the minor leagues, and that if you threw Bolton a breaking pitch down and away he would ground into a double play.   Terry decided to gamble that Dressen knew what he was talking about; Bolton did ground into a double play, and this became a famous incident that put Dressen on the list of future managers.

                Dressen managed the Cincinnati Reds for several years in the mid-1930s.  The definitive story about Dressen is that one time, with his team trailing by several runs in the early innings, he yelled to his men as they left the dugout to take the field, "Hang in there, boys; I’ll think of something."    That was Dressen; it was all about Charlie.   He managed the great Dodger teams of 1951-1953 very successfully, winning 97, 96 and 105 games, but after the 1953 season his wife insisted that he should hold out and demand a multi-year contract, as other managers had received.   The Dodgers refused to give him a multi-year contract, and tried to finesse the issue, but when Dressen wouldn’t yield he was fired.  After that he was hired to manage the Washington Senators, failed miserably, was hired to manage the Milwaukee Braves, failed there, and managed in Detroit in the mid-1960s.

                 Jimmy Dykes was a Good Ole Boy manager who had quite a bit of success with the White Sox in the 1930s and 1940s, staying employed there for twelve years.   The White Sox hadn’t been competitive in some time, and Dykes did pretty well with them.   After that finally ended he was a "coach" under Connie Mack as Mack was beginning to lose his grip; Dykes was really managing the team, although Mack continued to sit in the dugout and remained officially the manager.  Dykes later managed the A’s, Reds, Tigers, Orioles and Indians, but never really did have a decent team to work with.

                Charley Grimm, known as Jolly Cholly, was another friendly manager.   He replaced Rogers Hornsby with the Cubs in August, 1932; the Cub players hated Hornsby and loved Grimm, and spurted to the NL championship with a 37-18 record under Grimm.   He won another pennant with the Cubs, in 1935, was fired in mid-1938 (when the Cubs also won, under Gabby Hartnett), came back to win another pennant in 1945, was the first manager of the Milwaukee Braves, and managed the Cubs, for a third time, in 1960.

                Grimm in the 1935 World Series horribly mishandled his starting pitching—and totally got by with it, absolutely scott free.   He had three good starting pitchers, but used all three of them in one game (October 4, 1935), lost the game, and then had to start his fourth starter the next day, which he also lost.   It was one of the worst blunders in World Series history, and the press completely missed it.

                In spite of that, Grimm’s record as a manager does have many highlights.   He managed the Cubs in the era when other teams were building farm systems, and Wrigley was refusing to do so, hanging on to the past as was his nature.    Grimm won 100 games with the Cubs in 1935, 93 games in 1937, 98 in 1945, and won 92 with the Braves in 1953.

                Paul Richards, the Wizard of Waxahachie, was a sneaky, deceptive bastard who was famous for his ability to work with pitchers; there is a recent book about him which is supposed to be very good, although I haven’t read it yet.    He does have a record of making sustained improvement with his teams in Chicago (early 1950s) and then Baltimore (late 1950s); in fact, no other manager in baseball history has been able to sustain progress in his team the way Richards did.    He built both the White Sox and the Orioles from teams that had been "down" for 30 years into teams that could go head to head with the Yankees.   He was able to do this in part by finding value in players that others didn’t want, most notably Nellie Fox, who was small, slow and weak, but who could get 195 hits and draw 60 walks every year, and Jim Gentile, who was a wild swinger trapped in the minor leagues, but who drove in a lot of runs once Richards gave him the opportunity to play.

                Birdie Tebbetts, famous for chirping like a bird, although that actually isn’t why he was called Birdie, was a short, heavy-set catcher, a cheerful, competitive man in the same tradition as Steve O’Neill.   He never got the chance to manage a real team, but won 91 games with the Reds in 1956—by far their best season in the 1950s--and 87 with the Cleveland Indians in 1965, which was their best season of the 1960s.

                Among this group of seven managers, the only one who has any kind of Hall of Fame case at all is Jolly Cholly:




                That’s not 14 Plus Seasons for Grimm; that’s 14 points for plus seasons, seasons in which his team exceeded their expected winning percentage going into the season.  Grimm’s Hall of Fame resume is only slightly weaker than Whitey Herzog’s.   Essentially, none of these men should be in the Hall of Fame based on his record as a manager.


Group 2—the 1960s

                Danny Murtaugh managed the Pirates to their World Championships in 1960 and 1971.   Between those two he left the job twice for health reasons.

                Murtaugh, a small middle infielder, was not aggressively friendly in the mold of Charlie Grimm, Birdie Tebbetts or Steve O’Neill, but he was very well liked by his players, and he had the ability to hold the respect of his team over a long period of time, which is an immensely difficult thing to do.

                Bill Rigney managed the Giants after Leo Durocher and the Twins after Billy Martin.   Martin and Durocher, while great managers, were screamers.   After a couple of years a team gets tired of a screamer, and they’ll almost always hire a "calming presence" to replace him.   Rigney was a calming presence.    The highlight of his career was the first two years of his tenure with the Los Angeles Angels, a 1961 expansion team.    While the other expansion teams of that era lost 100 games or nearly 100 games for years and years, the Angels won 70 games their first season and then won 86 games their second.   Rigney managed the Angels almost to the end of the 1960s.

                Ralph Houk was from my hometown, Lawrence, Kansas.   He was a Major in the Army in World War II. ..that’s five steps up, for those of you who weren’t in the Army.   There’s the enlisted men, which is 90% of the service or thereabouts, then there are the Second Lieutenants (the lowest officers), First Lieutenants, Captains, Majors.    It’s three steps away from a General (Lieutenant Colonel, Colonel, General.)    Houk participated in the Battle of the Bulge and the Battle of Bastogne, and won a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart, and a Silver Star.

                Houk had a command personality.  Although he was a second- or third-string catcher with the Yankees of the 1950s, he was one of the leaders of the team, an assertive man who helped to set the expectations in the locker room—very much as Art Jorgens, the Yankees backup catcher in the 1930s, had done in his day.    When Casey Stengel was pushed out after the 1960 World Series (in large part because Stengel was behind the curve on issues of race), Houk became the Yankee manager, and was tremendously successful for three seasons, 1961 to 1963.  That was probably the best three-year start to a manager’s career in major league history; the Yankees won 309 games and two World Series. 

                After the 1963 season Houk resigned as manager to become the Yankee General Manager, a role for which he was frankly very ill-suited.  He returned to the dugout in 1966 and managed into the mid-1980s, but never again enjoyed any real success. 

                Fred Hutchinson’s biography parallels Houk’s in some regards.   Born in 1919 (as was Houk), he attended college, served in the Navy in World War II, and rose to the level of Lieutenant Commander, which I think must be some kind of decent rank although I don’t know the Navy ranks. Like Houk, he had an air of competence and a command personality.

                He also had command of his pitches—in fact, fantastic command.   In 1950 he walked only 48 men in 232 innings, and you have to remember:  Walk Rates in 1950 were absurdly high.    The Yankees in 1950 had three pitchers who walked 118, 138, and 160 batters—and they won the pennant.    Relative to his era, Fred Hutchinson may well be the greatest control pitcher in the history of baseball.   He was also one of the best-hitting pitchers of all time, hitting .382 in 1939, .315 in 1946, .302 in 1947, and .326 in 1950.    In his career as a hitter he had more than twice as many walks as strikeouts—I believe the best strikeout to walk ratio, for a pitcher as a batter, in the history of baseball.    He won 18 games in 1946, 17 in 1950—a rather remarkable playing career for a man who lost four prime seasons to World War II.

                He got to the chance to manage the Tigers in 1952, only 32 years old.   He was regarded as an extremely tough manager, which in those days meant that he would knock the crap out of you if you gave him any grief.    In spite of this, he was extremely well liked by his players, at least those who would talk about it.  Hutchinson rarely smiled; Joe Garagiola said of him that he was a very happy man, only his face didn’t know it.    After the 1954 season he asked for a multi-year contract and, as Charlie Dressen had been the year before, was forced out as Detroit manager.

                He returned to manage the Cardinals (1956-1958) and the Cincinnati Reds (1959-1964).  In 1961 he guided the Reds to the National League pennant, their first pennant in more than 20 years; he was matched up against Ralph Houk in that series, but Houk had a much better team.   A heavy smoker, Hutchinson was diagnosed with lung cancer after the 1963 season.  It was widely known that he was at death’s door, and, although he remained nominally the Reds’ manager, he had to step aside in June, 1964.   He died in November of that year, widely celebrated for his courage.   Major League baseball to this day gives the Hutch Award, which is given generally to a player who deals courageously with an illness or injury.

                Alvin Dark was a very, very good player, a shortstop who would hit around .300 with 20 homers, mentioned in the MVP voting in six seasons.   As a manager he was tactically brilliant, but unable to meet the very high standard of interpersonal skills that managing requires.    He was always suspected of being a racist; "suspected" may be a kind word.   He criticized Orlando Cepeda in the press in 1961, saying that he was tired of players leading the league in home runs and RBI and not doing anything to help the team.   (Yes, that definitely counts as a stupid thing to say.)  He was fired after four seasons although he had averaged 92 wins a season.  His 1966 Kansas City A’s team had a famous incident on an airplane, when several players were apparently spending some quality time in the bathrooms with the stewardesses, and that wound up in the newspapers.   He was fired the next season although the ’66 A’s had had their best season ever.  He managed four years in Cleveland, again with some early success, then, after Dick Williams resigned following the 1973 World Series, Dark was brought back to the A’s by Charley Finley, who had fired him in 1967.

                The next year there were several highly-publicized fights in the Oakland locker room, and a famous incident in which the team captain, Sal Bando, shouted loudly that Alvin Dark couldn’t manage an F’ing meat market, only to discover that Dark was two feet behind him.   In spite of this the A’s won their third consecutive World Championship in 1974, then won 98 games in 1975.  Dark, 91 years old, is still alive.

                Gil Hodges was an immensely popular player, and was the beloved manager of the Miracle Mets of 1969.

                Gene Mauch became famous as a smart guy after an incident in the minor leagues in which the team bus tried to drive through a tunnel and got wedged in the tunnel entrance.  Nobody could figure out what to do until Mauch suggested that they let the air out of the tires and see if they could back out.   They were able to get the bus out of the tunnel.

                Mauch got the chance to manage in the majors at the age of 34, but unfortunately with a terrible team.   The 1961 Phillies lost 23 games in a row, at that time the longest losing streak in the majors since 1900.   Mauch, however, had the reputation of being a genius, and built on that reputation by building the Phillies, over the next several years, into one of the league’s best teams.

                In 1964, of course, the Phillies had all but clinched the National League title, then collapsed and lost it in the last two weeks.   I believe that Mauch got a bad rap in that situation, but we’ve argued about that many times and there is no point in going over it again.   After 1964 the Phillies were weakened when their second-best player, Johnny Callison, flamed out early, and were constantly distracted by interminable disputes with their best player, Dick Allen.  They were never able to get to the top of the league.

                Mauch then took on another building project, the expansion Montreal Expos, and was able to win 73 games with them in their second season, but could never make much progress after that.  Managing in Minnesota in the late 1970s, his teams were around .500, but he finally did win two American League West division championships, with the California Angels in 1982 and 1986.

                After the age of 50, his wife dying of cancer and endlessly criticized for the collapse of the 1964 Phillies, Mauch got the reputation of being a sour, bitter, sarcastic man, hostile to the press, but I interviewed him several times, and he couldn’t have been any nicer to me.   But then, he knew that I had defended his record, and also I had written about his record in finding relief aces, which was remarkable.   Time after time in his career, he took over empty bullpens and was able to find two or three absolutely outstanding relievers.   Among the relievers who had excellent seasons for Mauch with no previous history of major league success:  Mike Marshall, Tom Johnson, Doug Corbett, Jack Baldschun, Donnie Moore.   Numerous other relievers also had big comebacks for Mauch after their careers appeared to be over. 

                OK, summing up.  Among this group of fine managers, Ralph Houk and Danny Murtaugh, who won two World Series apiece, came closest to meeting the standards of a Hall of Fame manager, although they fell short of that standard.    Murtaugh probably would be in the Hall of Fame, had he not been forced to resign every few years to recover his health.



Group Three—the 1970s

Billy Martin, of course, is one of the most colorful figures in baseball history.

                Chuck Tanner was a pioneer of the "Positive Thinking" school of managing.   Whatever the problem was, he attacked it with positive thinking.    He took over a White Sox team that in 1970 had lost 106 games, and in two years had built them into a serious contender—absolutely a remarkable accomplishment.    It was a testimony to positive thinking, Dick Allen, and riding your best pitchers like you were Hannibal and they were elephants; in 1972 Wilbur Wood was 24-17, Stan Bahnsen 21-16, and Tom Bradley 15-14.    Two years later those three pitchers were 40-47, but it was fun while it lasted.

                After five pretty good years in Chicago Tanner managed the Oakland A’s in 1976, then was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Manny Sanguillen.   It was very, very unusual for a manager to be traded for a player; in fact, I don’t think I had ever heard of it before.  It was a testimony to how highly Tanner was regarded at that time.

                He paid it off with a World Championship for Pittsburgh in 1979, the second highlight of his career but then his team was torn apart by a huge, ugly, players-going-to-prison type drug scandal, and allegations that Tanner had knowingly allowed drug merchants into his locker room.   Although he did get one more gig, he was never able to get his managerial career back on its feet.

                Danny Murtaugh resigned from the Pirates for the third time after the 1971 season, and Bill Virdon got the job.   The 1972 Pirates won 96 games and the National League East.   Murtaugh returned to the dugout for the fourth time in mid-1973, but Virdon was hired to manage the Houston Astros.

                Virdon as a player was an eleven-year regular, based almost entirely on his reputation as a brilliant defensive center fielder.   As a manager he was also all defense all the time.    He always had a couple of .220 hitters in the lineup.   

                Although he apparently does have some personality off the field, Bill Virdon in 81 years has never been photographed smiling.  In the late 1970s and early 1980s I worked with the Hendricks brothers in Houston, and I spent a lot of time in Houston, and I know for certain that several of Virdon’s players thought that Virdon’s philosophy was that if you never said anything it would take people a long time to realize that you’re an idiot.    In spite of this, the Astros built steadily toward a better team, and won the National League West in 1980, losing the playoffs to Philadelphia in what may be the greatest Championship Series ever played, ending with four consecutive extra-inning games.   Virdon was let go by Houston in 1982, and managed Montreal for a couple of years after that.

                OK, this time we do have a manager with a record comparable to that of the Hall of Fame managers:




                Billy Martin is the first manager we have found whose record—not including his record of punching out strangers in bars—would justify his selection to the Hall of Fame.    He’s not overwhelmingly qualified; he would rank near the bottom of the Hall of Fame group.   But he’s qualified. 


Group Four—the 1980s

                Roger Craig was a modest, understated, good-humored man, famous for saying "Hm, Baby" and for teaching his pitchers to throw the splitter.

                Don Zimmer was not actually a gerbil.   My favorite Don Zimmer story has to do with when Pete Rose was hired to manage the Cincinnati Reds.   Everybody was sending him roses to congratulate him, and the Reds’ clubhouse was just overwhelmed with hundreds and hundreds of roses.  Zimmer sent him a card that said "F--- the roses; you’d better win or it’s your ass, just like the rest of us."

                I really never had any sense of who John McNamara was or what he was about, but he was certainly around a long time.

                Dick Howser, robbed of what might have been a Hall of Fame playing career by an injury, was robbed of what might have been a Hall of Fame managerial career by a brain tumor.

                Buck Rodgers managed Milwaukee, Montreal and California, and you probably remember him as clearly as I do.

                None of these men even approached the standard of a Hall of Fame manager, although Dick Howser was making extraordinary progress until stopped by the brain tumor:




Group Five—the 1990s

                All I have here is Tom Kelly and Jack McKeon:



Group Six—Recent Retirees and Managers Who Don’t Have a Job Right Now

                Felipe Alou was regarded by those who knew him as the sharpest manager and the sharpest person that they ever knew in terms of understanding the small details of the game.   He knew when the batter was going to bunt by the way he held the bat.   He knew what pitch the pitcher was likely to throw; he knew where the batter was likely to hit it.    He knew everybody who shied away from contact and everybody who took an extra half-second to get rid of the ball.    He knew everything that any player could not do.

                He didn’t have great teams or phenomenal success.   He won 94 games with the Expos in 1993, had the best record in baseball with the Expos at the time the 1994 season was stopped by the strike, and he won 100 games with the Giants in 2003.   It may be that you cannot build great teams out of small details; it may be that focusing that intensely on the small details is not as productive as some other elements of managing.    But he had his moments.

                Joe Torre’s major league managerial career easily exceeds the Hall of Fame standard.    I credit him with 177 points—in other words, 77% more than he needs to be considered a Hall of Famer.

                Bobby Cox is ridiculously over-qualified for the Hall of Fame, with 206 points.   By this method he ranks as the third most-successful manager of all time, behind John McGraw and Joe McCarthy.

                As a minor league player, Lou Piniella was famous (or infamous) for his temper, and his reputation as a hothead probably kept him out of the major leagues for a couple of years.   He could always hit; he hit .310 in the Carolina League in 1963, .308 at Portland in 1967, .317 in 1968.    He hit .300 seven times in the major leagues, and, while he wasn’t fast or showy in the field, he was a very competent fielder.

                As a manager he not quite in the "loudmouth" class, with Leo Durocher and Billy Martin, but he was certainly in the "take no crap" class with Fred Hutchinson, Ralph Houk, Tom Kelly and Gil Hodges.

                While his record is not on the same level as Cox, Torre and La Russa, and he may have to wait a long time because he will be competing with them, Piniella’s record as a manager does meet the Hall of Fame standard.   He won 90 games with the Yankees in 1986, won the World Series with the Reds in 1990, won 92 games with the Reds in 1992, won his division with the Mariners in 1995 and 1997, won 91 with the Mariners in 2000, won 116 games with the Mariners in 2001, and then won two consecutive division titles with the Cubs in 2006 and 2007.    He had nine seasons in his career in which his team exceeded expectations by five games or more, and we credit him with 21 points for those seasons—the same totals as Billy Martin.    He had a very, very good managerial career—better than Herzog’s, better than Dick Williams, and as good as his fellow Tampa Bay native, Al Lopez.

                Tony La Russa is in the same class with Cox—far, far above the practical standards of Hall of Fame selection.   By this method he ranks fifth all-time, behind McGraw, McCarthy, Cox and Connie Mack.    Which I think would make him the greatest manager of all time who isn’t Irish, although "Cox" may be Welsh or Cornish, not sure.  

                Art Howe hasn’t managed since 2004?   You’re kidding?

                I always loved Ozzie Guillen.   OK, sometimes he says stupid shit, but then, so do I. He’s got about one-third of a Hall of Fame resume, and I hope he gets a chance to build on it.

                As I see it, then, there are four recently retired managers who meet the historical standards of Hall of Fame selection, and three who far exceed that level:




                In tomorrow’s article, the last in this series, we will look at the Hall of Fame progress of active managers.


COMMENTS (17 Comments, most recent shown first)

In regard to Trailbzr's comment, it was as random and fluke an occurence as if it happened to Joe McCarthy, Billy Southworth, Earl Weaver, Tony LaRussa, or any other of the great managers who also struggled with alcohol -- and maybe less of one than if it had happened to Weaver or LaRussa. Martin was at least aware enough of his problem that he apparently did little driving while intoxicated. He was never charged with a DUI, unlike Weaver and LaRussa and others. For those who don't know, the reason Martin was not the cause of the accident that killed him is that he wasn't driving. He was a passenger in the truck.

10:27 AM Feb 28th
I can't believe you've ever said the kind of stupid shit that Ozzie Guillen seems to say every day before he has even had breakfast.
11:32 AM Feb 26th
In Martin's case, I don't think dying in an alcohol-related traffic accident (even if he didn't cause it) should be treated as a random fluke occurrence.
11:22 AM Feb 21st
It seems fitting in evaluating Billy Martin to note that he might have built up his total significantly if he had not died as a passenger in a truck accident in Dec-1989. At that point he was Steinbrenner's manager-in-the-wings serving as a consultant, and there were expectations were that he would return to managing the Yankees that very next season, 1990.
9:24 AM Feb 21st
That's quite an impressive 1914 list. And rather suggests that it's difficult to compare manager's accomplishment from the era in which they were often part of ownership, to the era in which they aren't.
3:09 PM Feb 20th
For the best collection of managers ever, it would be hard to beat 1914. 10 of 16 are in the HOF (Mack, McGraw, Jennings, Griffith, Clarke, Robinson, Huggins, O'Day, Chance, Rickey). 2 others - Carrigan and Stallings - won 3 championships between them.
1:37 PM Feb 20th
I think 1 pennant rather undermines the case for Piniella.
2:09 AM Feb 20th
I didn't punch that doggie!
1:28 AM Feb 20th
I wonder if the best collection of managers ever was the American League in 1982. West: Billy Martin, Tony Larussa, Gene Mauch and Dick Howser. East: Earl Weaver, Sparky Anderson, Ralph Houk and Bobby Cox.
11:40 PM Feb 19th
After decent success with the White Sox and Orioles from 1951-61, Paul Richards came back at 67 to manage the Sox for one more year in 1976. In a "the game had passed him by" moment, he made Rich Gossage a starter, and went 9-17. The Sox improved 26 games the following season.
10:50 PM Feb 19th
This is fun and instructive. But wow, for all that Paul Richards did - not even including being on the cover of Wheaties for many years - he sure doesn't get many points compared to Joe Torre who had an unimpressive record with three teams before establishing the Yankees dynasty. There's no question that what Torre did was great, but something doesn't smell right to me: that Torre out-managed Richards 177 to 37. How could that be?
A) As I mentioned in Part I, perhaps, more weight should be given to surpassing expectations and fewer from wins and W-L - perhaps - just an instinctive notion;
B) Also mentioned: including negative seasons of expectations that fall before or in the middle of a tenure.
C) This is quite a bit of work that I don't blame anyone for not trying to include but what about having an additional measure against expectations that relates to Wins/avg. salary? Baseball Prospectus did an article on that claiming the relation was virtually linear, although, I believe they fudged that finding at the extreme end of average salaries. Thus, I don't think their analysis gave Torre enough credit for winning so many games and championships even with the Yankees' off-the-chart salaries.
8:29 PM Feb 19th
Cepeda had an .849 WPA in high-leverage situations and .880 in low-leverage ones (and .817 in medium-leverage situations), so there's a little something to it, but not a lot. His overall clutch score was -4.8.

I love Baseball Reference.
4:59 PM Feb 19th
Weaver's already in the HOF. I think the point of this article is to look at managers who are not yet in the HOF.
3:00 PM Feb 19th
Did we overlook Earl?
2:30 PM Feb 19th
Two points about Alvin Dark:

1) He was a southerner born in the 1920s managing in the early 1960s, so it's likely that he was a racist by today's standards, but not particularly so by the standards of his day. According to columnist Glenn Dickey, who covered the Giants as a beat writer in the early 1960s, there were a lot of divisive racial/ethnic cliques on the Giants in those years, and Dark was wholly incapable of overcoming those cliques to unify the team, but that doesn't make him a racist per se. To his credit, black players like Mays and McCovey publicly supported Dark.

2) Dark argued that Cepeda fattened his stats in low leverage situations by hitting home runs when the Giants already had big leads while failing to get a runners home from third with less than two outs in close games. Apparently Dark used game logs to argue his point, but it's pretty clear to me that he did this selectively rather than systematically. I'm sure that Dark didn't use sophisticated mathematics like Markov Chain analysis, and I'd even go so far as to say that Alvin Dark couldn't tell the difference between a Markov Chain and a pearl necklace, so I'm inclined to share Bill's skepticism. In any case, with Retrosheet data we can analyze Cepeda's plate appearances systematically and put the question to rest for good. One of these days I'm going to do this if somebody hasn't already done so.
1:31 PM Feb 19th
Alan Stewart
On What's My Line ( Mr Dressen signs his name as "Chuck Dressen".

His identity was guessed by Arlene Francis, who asked him, "Are you Chuck Dressen?"
9:02 AM Feb 19th
Lieutenant Commander is the same as a Major. Equivalent rank.
8:35 AM Feb 19th
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