Is this a golden age of Hall of Fame managers?
INDIANAPOLIS -- Cubs manager
Piniella has 1,784 wins and one World Series title. As he spoke in the lobby of the host hotel for the baseball winter meetings, Piniella was greeted by Tigers manager
The embrace between two active managers with more wins and as many World Series titles as Herzog made me think: Is this a golden age of Hall of Fame managers, and how many of today's managers someday will follow Herzog into Cooperstown? And just how hard (or easy) is it for a manager to get into the Hall of Fame anyway?
I served on the 16-person Veterans Committee for Managers and Umpires that elected Herzog and umpire
Remember, too, that those of us on the committee are charged with considering the totality of a person's contributions to baseball, so Herzog's front office experiences, especially running the rich farm system of the New York Mets, are relevant to some degree.
Still, a manager's record is by far the single most important factor in his Hall of Fame candidacy. The basic requirement is at least 10 years on the job, the same minimum as for a player. How many of those eligible managers are Hall of Fame material? You might be surprised.
There have been 91 men who have managed at least 10 years in the big leagues, including 11 who are active, and thus not yet eligible for the Hall. Of the 80 eligible managers, 19 have been elected to the Hall of Fame primarily as managers and another 14 as primarily a player or executive. That means 33 of the 80 eligible managers are in the Hall of Fame, or 41 percent of those eligible, including 24 percent specifically as managers. And when you look at the active managers, those percentages almost certainly will rise.
Among today's managers,
Piniella and Leyland have excellent chances to get in, too. Why? Only two managers ever reached 1,300 wins with at least one world championship and are not in the Hall:
But wait; there could be even more company.
(One important disclaimer for Piniella, Baker, Bochy and Scioscia: No manager has made it into the Hall of Fame without getting to the World Series a second time.)
How is it possible that eight or more active managers could be Hall of Famers? It's happened before. In 1982, eight of the 26 managers were Hall material (La Russa, Cox, Torre, Herzog,
Baseballreference.com lists 663 men as having managed in the big leagues. That means roughly three percent of all managers are in the Hall, or between two and three times the rate of players who make it to Cooperstown. The road for managers to get there seems well paved: last long enough to be among the 14 percent with 10 years, because then you have about a one in two chance of getting in. Monday was a great day for Herzog, but it also was a good day for managers such as Piniella, Leyland and Baker.
Former Cubs manager
• There have been 18 managers with three pennants and a career record 200 games better than .500. All of them are in the Hall or, in the case of La Russa, Cox and Torre, on the way in, with one omission: Grimm.
• Grimm and Houk are the only eligible managers with three pennants not to be elected to the Hall.
• The last time the Cubs made it to a World Series without Grimm playing or managing was 1918. He helped get the Cubs to each of their five World Series since then.
• How does Grimm stack up to Herzog? He has more wins, a better winning percentage, more winning full seasons, just as many pennants and, with 2,299 hits, a far more accomplished playing career.
• Only six men had as many hits as Grimm and went on to win 1,000 games as a manager. All six are in the Hall or bound for it:
• This is worth repeating: He went to the World Series five times with the Cubs.
For style points, Grimm was the opposing manager when
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