Archive for November 15th, 2010

Ryan Sandberg has returned to the organization where his career began.

After losing out to Mike Quade in his bid to become manager of the Chicago Cubs, Hall of Famer and team icon Ryne Sandberg has left the organization to pursue a managerial opportunity with the Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. Sandberg’s transfer is an ironic kind of homecoming. In one of the worst deals in major league history, the Phillies sent Sandberg and fellow future All Star Larry Bowa to the Cubs for Ivan de Jesus during the winter of 1982.

Had he been awarded the Cubs job, Sandberg would easily have become the current manager with the best playing career (and the best since Frank Robinson retired as manager of the Expos in 2006). Instead, they opted for Quade, who never played above the double-A level. Although likely unpopular in Chicago, history suggests the Cubs probably made the right decision. Not only doesn’t being a better player usually translate to being a better manager, but the opposite seems to be true. With that in mind, below is an “All Star” team of mostly “All Star” managers. To qualify for the list, candidates had to manage at least 700 games, win at least one pennant and maintain a winning percentage above .500. Then, the playing careers of all qualified managers were considered to determine the representative for each position. Listed below are those choices.

RHP: Clark Griffith, 1901-1920, White Sox, Highlanders (Yankees), Reds and Senators  
As Player 3385 2/3 237 955 122 49
  W L W-L% WS Penn
As Manager 1491 1367 0.522 0 1

*Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1946.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Clark Griffith

Clark Griffith was a player/manager for four different organizations, but notably was the White Sox’ first manager as well as the Yankees’ first manager while in New York.  Despite winning only one pennant (in his first season as player/manager with the White Sox), Griffith finished his managerial career with 1,491 victories, which is still good for 20th all-time.

Although Griffith was also a mediocre outfielder, he was most known as a player for his accomplishments on the mound. A seven-time 20-game winner, Griffith, ended his career with 237 victories.

Honorable Mention: Bob Lemon won 207 games as a pitcher and 430 games as a manager, including two pennants and a World Series championship with the Yankees.

LHP: Tom Lasorda, 1976-1996, Dodgers

As Player 58 1/3 0 37 67 -0.2
  W L W-L% WS Penn
As Manager 1599 1439 0.526 2 4

*Inducted into the Hall of Fame as a manager in 1997.
Source: Baseball-reference.com

Tommy Lasorda always liked to say that he bled Dodger blue, and there was no denying he was a blue blood among managers. Lasorda’s 1,599 wins as a manager rank him 17th on the all-time list. He also owns four NL pennants and two World Series victories.

Lasorda makes it to this list solely on the basis of his managerial ability because he actually never won a game as a player. As only one of two left handed pitchers (Eddie Dyer being the other) who met the screening criteria, Lasorda’s competition was light, so this All Star team gets the benefit of including one of the games best ambassadors and entertaining storytellers.


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