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Who is baseball's best manager?

The Orioles are finishing up their four game series with the Los Angeles Angels on Monday night. They won’t see that club again until the Orioles turn on the playoffs sometime in October and watch Mike Scioscia and company on TV.

(Quick shout out: CSB Jack came up to say hi to me in the press box this weekend. I love the opportunity to meet some of the regulars face-to-face. Free drink chip to Jack).

Anyway, Scioscia is considered one of the best managers in baseball. It is a well-deserved reputation. Although some of it has to do with the fact that Scioscia has a whole lot of good players at his disposal.

Really, judging managers is often chicken-and-the-egg. Good managers can’t do anything without good players. And just because a team stinks, doesn’t mean the manager is incompetent.

I have covered four managers with the Orioles, and it’s difficult for me to tell you which one was the best. Because each had to manage with inferior personnel. (I know which one was worst, but I’ll leave that up to your imagination. One hint: He’s not currently in an Orioles’ uniform. Not even close).

All that said, look at the division leaders in the majors right now, and five of the six are led by former managers of the year. The only one that isn’t, Philadelphia’s Charlie Manuel, won the World Series last year. He deserved the award in 2008 and is a serious candidate again this year.

The other five are a who’s who of managing: Scioscia, Jim Leyland, Joe Girardi, Tony LaRussa and Joe Torre.

Of those five, Scioscia is the only one who doesn’t have a Manager of the Year Award with a team besides his current one (which, incidentally, is the only big-league team Scioscia has ever managed. So that stat’s kind of unfair to Mike, who won the 2002 award with the Angels and may get another this year).

The point is the other guys have won in multiple destinations.

So, yeah, good managers need good players. But the real good ones can win with different personnel – so long as it is quality.

I want to know who you think is the best.

Daily Think Special: Who is currently baseball’s best manager?

Comments

It's hard for me not to say Terry Francona after he lead the red sox to 2 world series. Joe Torre is such a classy manager and he truly represents the essence of a big league skipper.

Even though they managed my 2 least favorite teams, I'd take either of them in a heartbeat.

For the last 20 or so years, I've thought Tony Larussa is the best manager in the game. I think this b/c he has won big with everyone: White Sox, A's and Cardinals. Torre would be my second choice, but so far he has only won it all with the Yankees.

It is harder to name the best manager than the worst. Trembley has that honor wrapped up.

My vote for the best manager goes to Joe Maddon of the Rays. He does a lot of creative things to motivate the players. As the New York Times wrote, "he is known as one of baseball's more purely intelligent men in uniform," something that would never be said of the pathetic chump we have managing the O's.

I would love to hear a frank report from former O's Chad Bradford and Greg Zaun about the differences in the way Maddon handles the Rays and the way Trembley handles the O's. I am sure they are significant.

In spite of the fact that Trembley seems to be cowtow to the players, I doubt that he has their respect. He certainly doesn't have mine. It is too bad we can't have one of the smarter men in baseball at the helm instead of one of the stupider.

Best manager? Jim Leyland, hands down!!! Green Leader mentioned Terry Francoma (the "m" is deliberate). I live in the middle of Red Sox Nation and to hear Francoma talk, no player ever made a mistake on the field or gave less than a maximum effort. Francoma isn't a manager, he's an enabler. Witness the kowtowing he did to Manny Ramirez and Pedro Martinez. Give me Leland anytime.

let's see...."one of the stupider" managers is making how much compared to the eloquent commentator?

Joe Maddon, hands down. Everyone thought it was a fluke last year, but he has them winning again this year, and with a small payroll team. Too bad they are in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox.

Dan - it was a pleasure to actually meet you and say hi at the game Saturday. Now if only the game had turned out differently it would have been a perfect night at the ballpark.

I think Scioscia is what a lot of people wish Trembley was - animated, no-nonsense, "old school", dynamic, and has a resume as a tough SOB player as well. I suspect that the next O's skipper will look more like him and less like a career minor league manager who is there to provide a steady hand until the youngsters get their feet wet. I have no idea what Trembley could do with better players, but notice how much better Piniella is in Chicago than he was in Tampa Bay. Francona tells the story of a Phildelphia sportswriter joking with him about how he was so stupid when he was with the Phillies and now he's so smart with the Red Sox. Francona replied that he's still just as stupid, he just has better players now.

I'm going with LaRussa based on his having a winning record with three different teams over more than 30 years. Though if I were picking from the list (or anyone else currently managing) I'd take Scioscia for my team, and wouldn't mind at all "settling" for Leyland.

Joe Torre belongs on any list when talking about the best managers IMO. I really respect how he handles his players. The guy has total class.

However I think its hard to ignore what Jim Tracy has done with the Rockies and Jim Riggleman has done with the Nats.

I reserve the word "best" for someone who does the most with the least. On that basis, I disregard the managers of all the big budget teams since they can buy talent. In my opinion, Ron Gardenhire with the Twins must be put at or near the top. His teams constantly overachieve because he emphasizes fundamentals and demands effort. Contrast that with the O's (AM and DT) who constantly lower the bar for their players and manage to get the least from them.

I would say the best manager in baseball would be either Joe Maddon or Bobby Cox. I sure wouldn't say Joe Torre or a Terry Francona. Its real easy to be a manager when half of your players COME to the team above average and has proven themselves on other teams (i.e. Yankees and Red Sox), but when you start from scratch and develop players like what Joe Maddon did with the Rays or what Cox did with the Braves in the early 90s speaks volumes from a managerial perspective.

There are a handful of great ones, but LaRussa is the only active manager to win a WS in each league.

Other top tier managers = Cox, Torre, Leyland, Maddon, and Charlie Manuel.

Lou Pinella is also a superlative manager but not a genius like others listed above.

Terry Francona led a team that cheated, so it is hard to grade his performance. And he was awful in the Phillies in the late 90's though 2000.

You forgot a big one: Bobby Cox. He's the best of the bunch, with Scioscia taking over the title when Cox finally hangs em up.

I'd say Joe Madden, especially given the division he manages in. Now if only the Orioles could do what the Rays were able to do.

Hey, how about the best (and worst)Oriole manager ? Best would obviously be Earl, but who's next? My nominee for worst is Lee Mazzilli.

I got to say either Joe Madden or LaRussa. Madden has a fun, creative approach just like that awesome teacher everyone had in high school. While LaRussa is more the in your face type of guy, players respect him because of his winning ways and that in itself breeds winning. He could take this team of inferior players and at least have them at .500 or better on his reputation alone.

I think Trembles may be a decent person but he can not manage worth a darn. His minor league approach to planning out when players will play ahead of time boggles my mind. How many times has a guy gone out and had a great game to find himself on the bench the next day. Rule number 1 Trembles: Stick with the hot players and stop trying get everyone playing time this isnt freaking Little League! So the the fact that he managed for 20 years in the minors and no one even sniffed him for a job should have been a big ol red flag for the O's. I think honestly they hired him because he is a yes man and he wouldn't challange Angelos or McPhail. I believe Andy goes out and gets a hard nosed baseball guy that will teach these guys respect and the right way to play this game, ala Cal Sr.

My vote goes to the Twins' Ron Gardenhire. The man has done more with young players and rookies on a yearly basis then anyone I can remember from recent history. Even though he has had players such as Joe Mauer and Justin Morneau and pitchers such as Johan Santana on his teams, he's still managing a relatively young core of players. If these guys were all 10 year veterans who had been established for a while, that would be one thing, but the fact that they all have been in the majors for like 5+ years or less, and have made the playoffs a bunch of times, says a lot about his ability as a manager.

I respect what Torre, LaRussa, and Leyland have all done but they seem to always have a core of all stars or near all stars on their teams, so I feel that their win-loss records are more a reflection of having the higher quality players to manage and play for them then it is a function of their ability to be a manager.

For things to work you have to put the right manager with the right team.

For example....Jim Tracy is doing a great job with the Rockies, but he wasn't so hot with the Dodgers.

Some managers are great with young guys and some manage better with veterans.

What i would really like to discuss is who is the best manager for the O's for next year.

We are not going to get the cream of the crop like Leyland, Larussa, Ozzie Guillen,Maddon, Cox, Torre, .........so who is out there that makes sense and can instill a winning, hustling, passionate attitude?

I also am fond of x catchers being managers....Torre, Scioscia.

Let's go back a few decades to when the Yankees actually had to develop and manage talent -- Casey Stengal. Don't know if I've ever seen a manager who was better at motivating his players. He recognized that each was an individual, and therefore for some it was a kick in the but and for others a pat on the head, whatever it took to get the best performance possible.

Dan,

Putting Joe Girardi in with those other guys is an insult to them. Girardi has a long way to go to prove himself, if he ever does. As far as the O's are concerned, it's probably not Trembley's fault per se, but he just doesn't seem to motivate this group. As all the young players mature, the team will gradually get better, but Trembley just seems like a bad fit to me. Do we have anybody in the minors who's an intelligent, but hard-nosed kind of guy and knows the old "Orioles way"?

Jim Leyland....has always gotten the best out of lineups that have not had the best talent versus the competition.
Not an ounce of Francona/Tremblay "my guys always are right" BS!

that would have to be the manager of the reigning world series champs, philadelphia phillies charlie manuel. a close second would be dave trombone.

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