Bud BlackA recent AP article pointed out that there are fewer black players than ever before, and even fewer black managers.

Of the 30 MLB teams, only two have African-American managers — the Mets (Willie Randolph) and Rangers (Ron Washington). But if African-Americans think it’s tough getting a job as a major league manager, they should try being a former pitcher.

As Philadelphia Daily News columnist Paul Hagen today points out, former pitchers almost never get hired to be managers. In fact, he says, “in all the managerial changes that have been made since 1964, only 15 of the men hired were pitchers.” Padres manager Bud Black is currently the only former pitcher managing, and he’s the first to hold the job since 2001. Meanwhile, 10 current big-league skippers are ex-catchers.

How do Black and some other pitchers feel about that?

“I don’t know how it works,” said Padres future Hall of Fame pitcher Greg Maddux. “A pitcher shakes off a catcher’s signs 20 times a game. Ten years later, the catcher’s a manager and you’re not. Figure that one out.”

“There’s just a feeling that pitchers don’t know anything about baseball,” Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti told the San Diego Union-Tribune.

“Guy gets pigeonholed, but ultimately should be judged as an individual,” Black said. “There have been many pitchers I’ve played with who have great baseball minds equal to position players, guys who absolutely see the whole baseball universe. Just like there are some position players who can’t see the whole game in front of them.”

I gotta say, I agree with Maddux, Black and Righetti. This pitcher-bias is crazy. It’s almost certainly the reason we’ve never seen baseball genius Danny Jackson in the dugout.

By the way, if you’re black former pitcher Dave Stewart and you’re wondering why you didn’t get considered for that vacant Toronto managing job a few years back, well — and I’m not saying this is cool — but do the math.

2 Responses to “Hard to manage”

  1. Sarah Green says:

    Mmmkay one problem with Maddux’s point. So a pitcher shakes off a catcher 20 times a game…in your average 100-pitch-count game, that means he *doesn’t* shake off his catcher 80 times. That still gives the catcher an 80-20 advantage. Maybe Greg Maddux has unintentionally shown us that even great pitchers have problems, as you put it, “doing the math.”

  2. Coley Ward says:

    I dunno, Sarah. I think it’s telling that, ultimately, the pitcher has the final say over which pitch gets thrown. In football, the offensive coordinator usually calls the plays, but the head coach is the guy in charge. Same thing here. The catcher calls the pitches, but the second Maddux disagrees, we see who’s the boss.

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