Friday, January 6, 2012
Bruce Bochy: Hall of Fame manager?
In writing these Hall of Fame pieces this week, I often find myself going on random tangents. Mostly, I blame Jim Caple. Anyway, I was talking with Caple the other day and I think he brought up Gene Mauch, which in a roundabout way made me realize that Bruce Bochy is 25th on the all-time list for games managed. Plus he's won a World Series title. In other words: Does Bochy have a shot at the Hall of Fame?
Fourteen of the 24 managers ahead of Bochy on the games managed list are already in the Hall of Fame. Of those 14 Hall of Famers, 12 did win at least two World Series titles, the exceptions being Leo Durocher (who won one) and Wilbert Robinson (who won zero). Three managers who managed more games and won World Series are surefire future Hall of Famers: Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre.
That leaves the following guys who have managed more games than Bochy:
- Gene Mauch: 3942 games, .483 win percentage, two playoffs, zero pennants. Mauch is eighth on the all-time list, but the below-.500 record and lack of even a single pennant are the obvious strikes against him.
- Lou Piniella: 3548 games, .517, seven playoffs, one pennant, one World Series title. I don't think Piniella is an automatic selection, but he's 13th on the all-time and did win a World Series. If Whitey Herzog can make it with 1,000 fewer games managed, a .532 winning percentage and just one World Series title, Piniella probably gets in. Like Whitey, he was certainly an iconic manager for his time.
- Jim Leyland: 3175 games, .500, six playoffs, two pennants, one World Series title. Similar to Piniella, but with slightly less success so far.
- Ralph Houk: 3157 games, .514, three playoffs, three pennants, two World Series titles. He won World Series titles his first two seasons as manager of the Yankees in 1961 and '62 and then managed 18 more seasons. Other managers with two World Series titles but not in the Hall of Fame: Bill Carrigan and Danny Murtaugh, plus more recent managers Tom Kelly, Cito Gaston, La Russa, Torre and Terry Francona.
- Jimmy Dykes: 2962 games, .477, no playoffs. He never even finished in second place.
- Dusty Baker: 2852 games, .521, five playoffs, one pennant. Still time for Dusty to win the big one.
- Chuck Tanner: 2738 games, .495, one playoffs, one pennant, one World Series title. He did win a World Series, but that was his only playoff trip in 19 seasons.
In addition, there are seven Hall of Famers elected as managers who managed fewer games then Bochy: Miller Huggins (three World Series titles), Earl Weaver (four pennants, one World Series), Ned Hanlon (five pennants in the pre-World Series era), Al Lopez (.584 win percentage, two pennants, no World Series titles), Frank Selee (four pennants in pre-World Series era) and Billy Southworth (four pennants, two titles).
As for Bochy, his career winning percentage is under .500 (.497) but he has made five playoff appearances and won two pennants and a World Series and accomplished that without managing one of the iconic big-market franchises. If he manages three more seasons, he'll move up to 17th on the list of games managed (assuming Baker and Leyland keep managing). I've never thought of Bochy as a Hall of Fame candidate, but he's done a lot of things that certainly warrant consideration.