Now that we’ve looked at every position on the diamond, as well as relief pitchers, we are nearing the end of our “Crowdsourcing the Greats” series. But before we finish, let’s turn one more time to the internet hoi polloi for answers on who the greatest baseball manager of all time was.
As usual, we used the first ten lists ranking at least ten managers that turned up in a Google search and summed each manager’s rankings on all lists to get a score on a 1000-point scale.
Here is what the internet came up with (first place votes parentheses, *= HOF):
1. *John McGraw – 981 (2)
2. *Joe McCarthy – 977 (3)
3. *Connie Mack – 973 (2)
4. *Casey Stengel – 882 (2)
5. Joe Torre – 855 (1)
6. Bobby Cox – 755
7. Tony LaRussa – 754
8. *Sparky Anderson – 662
9. *Walter Alston – 650
10. *Earl Weaver – 463
Unlike some of the previous entries in this series, it was not at all clear to me how this one would turn out. Would the internets collectively go with Connie Mack for having the most career victories? Joe McCarthy for having the most World Series titles? Casey Stengel for being the career leader in managerial witicisms?
In the end, it was a very close race between Mack, McCarthy, and John McGraw, with McGraw ultimately coming out on top. I was pretty satisfied with this outcome, as McGraw would have been my own pick. McGraw is second all-time in wins to Mack, but did so in a much shorter length of time, and although he has fewer World Series wins than McCarthy or Stengel, those two accumulated those accolades while managing the New York Yankees in highly unbalanced eras when the Yankees went to the World Series almost every year.
Not to mention that McGraw is also credited as a managerial innovator, popularizing plays such as the suicide squeeze and the hit-and-run as well as the use of signs to signal plays. Overall, it’s a great top 10, and it’s hard to argue with any of the names, if not the order itself.
Although less accurate as an indicator of the internet’s true opinion due to smaller samples, just out of interest here’s how the next 10 places shook out:
11. *Miller Huggins – 367
12. *Tommy Lasorda – 363
13. Billy Martin – 282
14. *Leo Durocher – 280
15. *Ned Hanlon – 186
16. *Whitey Herzog – 183
17. Davey Johnson – 182
18. *Al Lopez – 93
19. *Harry Wright – 90
20. Lou Pinella – 87
It’s interesting to see that with Lou Pinella just sneaking into the top 20 on tiebreaker points, as many as 4 out of the top 20 managers of all time were managing in the majors this season, with an amazing 3 present-day managers in the top 10! Not to mention that had I extended this list further, Jim Leyland would have been next at #21.
It seems that with Torre, LaRussa, Cox, Pinella, and Leyland, we have truly been living in an era of legendary managers in recent years. But with Pinella, Cox, and Torre retiring after this season, and the other two perhaps not far behind, this era seems to be at an end, with not to many other particularly legendary managers on the horizon.
Who will become the next legendary manager? Let us know in the comments!
And finally, here are the ten top-10 lists I used to derive these rankings (again, these are the first 10 lists that came up in a Google search):
“The Top 50 Head Coaches Continued: Major League Baseball Managers” (The National Sports Review)
“Out of Left Field: Three Cheers for Joe Torre” (Seamheads.com)
“Greatest Manager in Baseball History” (Baseball Fever)
“All-Time HOF Team: Manager” (Baseball Fever)
“Best MLB Manager Ever” (Rankopedia)
“Rank ‘Em: All-Time Greatest Managers” (ESPN.com)
“Evaluating Managers” (The Hardball Times)
“Rank ‘Em: All-Time MLB Managers” (ESPN.com)
“Who were the greatest managers of all time?” (Baseball Fever)
“10 Greatest Baseball Managers Of All Time” (The David in nj’s MySpace Blog)