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The great philosopher Bum Phillips once said of legendary NFL coach Don Shula: "He can take his'ns and beat your'ns, or take your'ns and beat his'ns."

Given Wednesday's "draft" of all-time teams ended with Jack Bauer and Morris Buttermaker being chosen to lead the respective squads, we come to the current ...

Question of the Day: Who is the greatest tactical manager in the history of the game? Think of it this way ... you have your choice of two absolutely evenly-matched teams, any era, and get first choice of a manager for the seven-game series. Who do you pick and why?
QOTD: Manage Your Expectations | 18 comments | Create New Account
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Craig B - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 10:12 AM EST (#16925) #
Earl Weaver.

First reason - well, read _Weaver on Strategy_. It's utterly brilliant, one of my favorite baseball books. Weaver had a clear vision of what strategy is supposed to accomplish - rather than emphasizing the "psychological" aspect of strategy, he emphasized the nuts-and-bolts aspects... the importance of using strategy to score and prevent important runs.

Second reason - the care and dedication he put into preparing himself for every eventuality. Bill James, in one of the abstracts, went into some detail about how Weaver prepared relentlessly, in the spring, for the most outlandish situations he might face during the season, ensuring that he and his roster were ready to meet those challenges.

If I can't have Weaver, my choice would absoltuely be Casey Stengel, a man of unabashed genius with a pitching staff.
_Matthew E - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 10:13 AM EST (#16926) #
Probably Weaver. I could see myself taking Herzog, though.
_coliver - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 10:35 AM EST (#16927) #
I'll take Roy Hartsfield!
Mike Green - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 10:44 AM EST (#16928) #
Probably Stengel. In a 7 game series, I figure that managing a pitching staff is probably more important than preparing for unusual situations. His results were pretty good, too!
Craig B - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 10:46 AM EST (#16929) #
Well, Weaver was awfully good with his pitchers himself. He did have a bit more talent to work with.
Mike Green - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 11:47 AM EST (#16930) #
I'm a big Weaver fan too. If it was a Weaver vs. Stengel matchup with evenly matched teams, I'd figure that blind chance would probably more important than any very small differences between the managers.
_Mick - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 12:21 PM EST (#16931) #
On pure fan-biased opinion, growing up in Ohio in the '70's and going to high school and college 75 miles from Detroit in the'80's, I gotta go with Sparky Anderson.

Don Gullett would surely disagree with me.
_Mick - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 12:27 PM EST (#16932) #
Spike Lundberg has returned to the Box with more detailed answers to your followup questions.
_Jdog - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 12:47 PM EST (#16933) #
Here is a link about the jays interest in Matt Clement. CAN'T believe its not being talked about already!

http://www.tsn.ca/mlb/news_story.asp?id=105124
_John Northey - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 01:04 PM EST (#16934) #
To me the manager of choice for a short series is Billy Martin. He was hell on his own teams long term, but dang could he get the best out of them short term. The odd answer is Cito Gaston for a short series as he is good at adjusting to a playoff vs regular season mind-set (see using pinch hitters in the playoffs when he never did in the regular season).

Longer term? Hmm. Bobby Cox has his pluses (just look at Atlanta's long run) but can't figure out how to adjust to the playoffs. Earl Weaver is a strong choice. Whitey Herzog though would be my choice, in part because I love watching the running game (even if it isn't as effective as the 3 run homer) and he never seemed to hesitate to put in a rookie if the rook has the talent to play.

I'm not forgetting the old-time managers, but felt like sticking to ones I saw manage at the time rather than ones who appear to have done well in retrospect.
_Magpie - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 01:30 PM EST (#16935) #
I agree that Gaston did a superb job in 92 and 93 in changing his approach from Regular Season Mode to Short Series Mode - one of the biggest advantages his 92 team in particular had was the depth and quality of the bullpen, and Gaston rammed that advantage down Atlanta's throat. They gave Pat Borders the MVP, but the true MVP of that series was the Toronto bullpen: in the six games, Gaston used 19 relievers. They worked 18 IP and allowed 1 run (Henke, 9th inning, game 6.)

But Gaston just had his two year run - overall he was 4-2 in post-season series. Tom Kelly's record was even better. Kelly was undefeated in the post-season. But there's just the two years to work with.

LaRussa, of course, is notorious for NOT adjusting to the changes circumstance of the post-season, and it doesn't seem to be one Bobby Cox's virtues either. Billy Martin's post-season record is not all that impressive - he was 2-3 in the LCS and 1-1 in the WS. As much as I admire Weaver, I don't think he did his best work after September 1. Weaver was successful when he built teams that destroyed the rest of the league...

So I think we're left with Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel. And I'll take the Ol' Perfesser. McCarthy's teams look so much better than Casey's....
_Magpie - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 01:43 PM EST (#16936) #
As much as I admire Weaver, I don't think he did his best work after September 1.

Quickly, before someone says "But Weaver's teams typically struggled out of the gate, pulled themselves together, and played GREAT in September."

I know. But I think that was because of Weaver's work before September 1. He was always focused on the 162 games, and willing to enbdure some bumps in April... his record in close pennant races (as Bill James also noted) was not that great (all but one of his division victories was by more than 8 games; if the race was closer, the Orioles had a habit of finishing three games back.) His overall post-season record is 5-5 (4-2 in the LCs, 1-3 in the WS.)

That said, both of his books ought to be Required Reading for everyone interested in baseball. Hell, they should teach them in school.
Mike Green - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 01:48 PM EST (#16937) #
That said, both of his books ought to be Required Reading for everyone interested in baseball. Hell, they should teach them in school.

Baseball Strategy taught in Grade 7? What a great idea! In 1970, I took the bird course of all time, "Greatest Sports Teams". Once a week, I took public transit on school time to Molson's Brewery to pick up a film to be shown to the class. "Those were the days..."
_Matthew E - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 02:05 PM EST (#16938) #
I agree that Gaston did a superb job in 92 and 93

Remember against Atlanta when he deked Cox into taking a red-hot Deion Sanders out of the game? Just like Howser did against Cox with Mulliniks and Oliver in 85 with Gaston on the bench watching.
Mike Green - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 02:16 PM EST (#16939) #
I do remember, and the joy of 92 does erase the pain of 85. It's odd though that the 85 and 87 clubs were in my view clearly better ones that the more successful 92 and 93 squads. Managers do matter.
_Rob - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 02:20 PM EST (#16940) #
http://retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B10240ATL1992.htm
Remember against Atlanta when he deked Cox into taking a red-hot Deion Sanders out of the game?

I didn't, but now that I look it up (COMN):
BRAVES 7TH:[...] WELLS REPLACED STOTTLEMYRE (PITCHING); GANT BATTED FOR SANDERS


Heh...Ron Gant...

Somewhat related, it's strange to see one of the greatest moments in Blue Jays history summed up like this:
TIMLIN REPLACED KEY (PITCHING); Nixon grounded out (pitcher to first)
_Magpie - Friday, November 19 2004 @ 02:31 PM EST (#16941) #
I know I already cast my lot with Stengel, but Joe McCarthy was the greatest manager who ever lived, and he was 7-2 in the post-season... which, you know, ain't too shabby.

The worst McCarthy team over a full season was his very first team - the 1926 Cubs, who went 82-72 (.532).

Of course, they were 68-86 the year before. McCarthy's Cubs allowed 170 fewer runs than they had the year before.

In 1931, he took a Yankee team that had won 86 games the year before and finished third. McCarthy won 94 and a WS with them, mainly by cutting 130 runs allowed.

In his last gig, he took a Bostom team that had won 83 games and improved them to 96. This time, the improvement was on offense and keyed by a huge trade with the Browns that netted them 3B Vern Stephens and SP Jack Kramer in exchange for 6 warm bodies (one of them was Al Widmar!) and a big whack of cash.
_Jabonoso - Saturday, November 20 2004 @ 02:04 PM EST (#16942) #
There is not much to add. Mc Carthy is the insider coach par excellence, Weaver the strategist, the one that revealed it all and old Casey, the one that won it all...
I enjoyed reading the comments about Cito, La Russa and Cox ( bright )
And here are some thoughts on the jays post Cito era:
The one and only strategist i really liked ( as to better his team chances ) was Tim "i'll kick your butt" Johnson( too bad that alcohol had taken his reality check amock ). Suffered with the players' coaches Fregosi and Buck ( worsening their team chances ) and also quite did not enjoyed the little Napoleon campaign. My impression is that the one we saw wasn't him: with his bosses rules ( no outs given away, no running game, get to his pen the fastest, take the most pitches, pitch strikes, do it fast etc. etc. ) he could not be himself, and the result was one of the most pathetic usages of bench and bullpen ( i know i'm in the territory of coach's " you armchair coaches, do not dare to downgrade real baseball people...", but still is an opinion, words and thoughts )of memory.
Do not know enough of Gibson as to have an opinion. And hope he has a saying about whom should be in the team ( bench and pen ) and how to ultimately play...
From the last decade or so, there are two strategists i want to commend:
-The team ( player selection )formation by Showalter ( Torre's Yankees a team that do play with the rules Tosca was supposed to implement, D'Backs and now Texas )
-The bench and bullpen management of Scioscia ( everybody seems to excell there and certainly that championship was not expected )
QOTD: Manage Your Expectations | 18 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.