Thursday, November 09, 2006
Fred Haney Born
About a fortnight ago I did an entry on managers, the gist of which is that a manager's "quality" is largely determined by the "quality" of his players. Fred Haney represents another example of this; he managed the Browns and Pirates to a combined 288-526 record (.353) over the course of five seasons (and a tad of another) then took over the Braves in 1956 and promptly guided them to a World Championship in 1957 and a pennant in 1958.
Something else that tells you a lot about managers and their quality being linked hand-in-hand with their team's quality is the list of all-time victories. The all-time victories list also gives a lot of credence to the notion that when it comes to raking up the wins, the best feature a manager can have is longevity. Someone named Jimmy McAleer, whountil this point I had never heard of, managed for eleven seasons. He has fifty-two more wins than Cito Gasten, although Cito managed his team to back-to-back World Series while McAleer's team had an average finishing position of sixth. Jimy Williams, who has been fired by three teams that would either win or go to the World Series within three years of his departure has nearly a thousand wins; while Bill Rigney who led his teams to one division title in eighteen years of trying actually has one thousand, two hundred and thirty-nine. That's more than Fred Haney and Branch Rickey, combined.
With the longer modern schedules, it only seems a matter of time before much of the top ten is dominated by recent skippers. (It already has three active managers--Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre--while Lou Pinella has an outside shot at reaching in the near future to say nothing of younger managers like Mike Scioscia.) When looking over that list however, it is important to look beyond the mere number of wins and instead try to find a better way to judge a manager.