When MLB Managers Were Players
When MLB Managers Were Players
Over his 16-year MLB career, Counsell played for five different teams. He is a two-time World Series champion and retired with a .255 career average and .342 on-base percentage. The former infielder played for the Brewers in 2004 and from 2007 to 2011. He joined the team's front office in 2012 after retiring, serving as special assistant to general manager Doug Melvin. The Brewers named Counsell the team's new manager on May 4, 2015, following the firing of Ron Roenicke after Milwaukee started the season 4–17.
The Hall of Fame first baseman played 21 years in the major leagues and ranks ninth all-time in hits with 3,319. Molitor played 15 seasons with the Brewers, followed by three with the Blue Jays, with whom he won the World Series in 1993. Molitor played his final three seasons with the Twins, with whom he got his 3,000th career hit. The Minnesota native's first year as a manager comes in 2015 with the Twins.
A longtime Chicago Cub, Ryne Sandberg was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2005 for his many feats as a player. During his playing career, Sandberg was an All-Star ten straight seasons and won the league MVP in 1984. Sandberg made his managerial debut in 2013, coaching the Philadelphia Phillies after the team fired Charlie Manuel in August of that year.
For 14 years as a player, Don Mattingly was perhaps the face of the New York Yankees. Mattingly debuted in pinstripes in 1982 and then proceeded to earn six straight All-Star nods from 1984 to 1989. Throughout his career, he earned nine Gold Gloves and three Silver Sluggers, and was named league MVP in 1985. Mattingly was named manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2011 season and coached the team to an NLCS appearance in 2013 after winning the NL West.
Robin Ventura played for four different clubs during his 16 years in Major League Baseball, most of which were spent with the Chicago White Sox. Throughout his career, he was named to two All-Star games and earned six Gold Gloves. HIs best hitting season came in 1999 with the New York Mets, when he smashed 32 home runs and 120 RBIs while batting .301. Ventura started managing his former Chicago club in 2012 and signed an extension at the start of 2014.
Matt Williams played 17 years in the big leagues for the Giants, Indians and Diamondbacks, winning a World Series with Arizona in 2001. Williams was named to five All-Star games during his career and finished second in the National League MVP voting in 1994 behind Jeff Bagwell. Williams made his managerial debut in 2014 with the Washington Nationals.
Bud Black spent 15 seasons in the big leagues, pitching for six teams, winning one World Series title (1985, Kansas City Royals) and compiling a career record of 121-116 with a 3.84 ERA. After spending seven seasons as the Los Angeles Angels pitching coach (including their World Series championship in 2002), Black got his chance to manage the San Diego Padres in 2007. He won NL Manager of the Year in 2010 after leading the Padres to a 90-72 record, though the team came up just short of the postseason.
Like most current managers, Mike Scioscia spent his apprenticeship as a major league player. In 12 seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers, he was a two-time All-Star, a three-time World Series winner and widely regarded as one of the best minds in the game. He was hired to lead Anaheim in 2000 and led the franchise to its first World Series victory in 2002. He is currently in his 15th season in charge of the Angels and has led the team to five AL West titles and has been honored with two Manager of the Year Awards (2002 and 2009).
Brad Ausmus wasted little time joining the ranks of MLB managers after his playing days were over. As a player, Ausmus spent 18 years in the big leagues as a catcher, playing 10 years for the Houston Astros and a combined nine years with the Padres, Tigers and Dodgers. He was an All-Star in 1999 with the Tigers and later won three Gold Gloves. After retiring in 2010, Ausmus began coaching and landed in Detroit as the team's manager following the 2013 retirement of Jim Leyland.
Walt Weiss spent 14 years in the majors, playing for the A's, Rockies, Braves and Marlins. In 1988, he was named AL Rookie of the Year while playing for Oakland; he later was named to his only All-Star game of his career ten years later while he was playing for the Braves. Weiss landed his first managerial job in 2013 with the Colorado Rockies.
Joe Girardi spent 15 years as a big league catcher. Though he never hit more than eight home runs or 55 RBIs in a season, Girardi won three World Series rings with the New York Yankees (1996, 1998, 1999), caught a no-hitter (Dwight Gooden, 1999) and a perfect game (David Cone, 1999). Following his first season as a manager in 2006, the Marlins fired Girardi, despite him winning Manager of the Year. He returned to the Yankees as their manager in 2008 and led the franchise to a World Series championship in '09.
A 13-year professional player, Mike Matheny was an exceptional fielder, winning Gold Gloves on four separate occasions. Matheny played with the Cardinals, Brewers, Giants and Blue Jays during his career. After longtime Cardinals manager Tony LaRussa retired in 2011, Matheny took over managerial duties of the team and has since had great success. He guided St. Louis to an NLCS appearance in 2012 and led the team to the World Series in 2013.
As a catcher, Mike Redmond played seven years for the Marlins, five years for the Twins and one year with the Indians to finish his career. He made his managerial debut in 2013 with Miami at age 42, and finished the year 62-100 with the club with which he once played.
A journeyman big leaguer, Bob Melvin played for seven teams during his 10-year major league catching career. He has also been something of a journeyman as a manager, coaching three teams so far. After managing the Seattle Mariners for two seasons starting in 2003, Melvin led the Arizona Diamondbacks for five seasons. Since 2011, he has managed the Oakland A's, leading them to playoff appearances in 2012, '13 and '14.
Terry Francona grew up at the ballpark, hanging out with his father, Tito, who played 15 years in the big leagues. Though Terry's major league career left much to be desired (he batted .274 with 16 home runs and 143 RBIs in 10 seasons), he has thrived as a manager. After a rocky start in Philadelphia (Francona was 285-363 from 1997 to 2000), the Red Sox hired the former 1B/OF to lead their ''cursed'' franchise. In his first season, Francona led the team to a World Series title and repeated the feat three years later. After he and Boston parted ways following the 2011 season, Francona landed with the Cleveland Indians in 2013, leading his new team to an improbable postseason berth.
Clint Hurdle bounced around Major League Baseball in the late 1970's and throughout the 80's with the Royals, Mets, Cardinals and Reds. As a manager, he has been far more consistent, managing the Rockies for eight seasons starting in 2002 and managing the Pirates since 2011. He has been able to successfully bring limited glory to both franchises, taking Colorado to the World Series in 2007 and leading Pittsburgh to its first playoff appearance in over 20 years in 2013.
Lloyd McClendon spent eight years in the league, debuting at age 28 with the Cincinnati Reds and retiring in 1994 with Pittsburgh, where he spent five seasons. As a manager, McClendon also spent five seasons with the Pirates from 2001-2005, but he never sniffed success and was ultimately fired midway through a dismal 2005 season. It took nine years, but in 2014 the upstart Seattle Mariners hired him as their manager.
John Farrell spent eight seasons as a starting pitcher in Major League Baseball. After a promising 5-1 rookie season, Farrell won 14 games with the Indians in 1988. But after a couple down years and two full seasons spent off the field dealing with injuries, Farrell finished his career with brief stints in California, Cleveland again and finally Detroit. He received his first managerial gig in 2011 with Toronto, leading the Blue Jays to a .500 record. After one more year in Toronto, he took the Boston Red Sox manager job in 2013 and led the Red Sox to a World Series title.
It's safe to say A.J. Hinch was never a star on the field. Despite high expectations coming out of Stanford, Hinch burned out at the major league level -- batting .219 with 32 home runs and 112 RBIs in seven pro seasons with four teams. After retiring in 2005, he was put in charge of the Diamondbacks farm system. In May 2009, Hinch replaced Bob Melvin as manager and led the Diamondbacks to an 89-123 record over parts of two seasons until he was fired in July 2010. Hinch was hired to manage the Houston Astros for the 2015 season.
In nine seasons as a catcher, Bruce Bochy hit a pedestrian .239 with 26 home runs and 93 RBIs playing for the Houston Astros (1978-80), New York Mets (1982) and San Diego Padres (1983-87). His career as a manager has been much more successful. 2014 marked his 20th season as a big league skipper and his eighth with the Giants, with whom he won the World Series in 2010, '12 and '14. Before he arrived in San Francisco, Bochy spent 10 seasons in San Diego, where he won the 1996 NL Manager of the Year Award and led the team to the 1998 World Series.
Cash played eight seasons in the majors as a backup catcher with five different teams. He retired after the 2011 season and joined his former manager Terry Francona in Cleveland in 2012 as the bullpen coach. Cash, 37, was hired to replace Joe Maddon as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2015 season.
Hale spent six seasons as a player for the Minnesota Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers, last appearing in 1997. He played collegiately for the University of Arizona, helping the team win the College World Series in 1986, and has kept an offseason home in Tucson. After serving as the bench coach for the Oakland Athletics since 2012, Hale was named manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks for the 2015 season.
A six-year veteran of Major League Baseball, Ned Yost played for the Milwaukee Brewers, Texas Rangers and Montreal Expos during his career as a catcher. Yost's managerial career has already spanned longer than his playing days: He led the Brewers for six years from 2003 to 2008 and has managed the Royals since 2010. In 2013, he guided Kansas City to its first winning season since 2003 and its best season since 1989. In 2014, he brought the Royals back to the postseason for the first time since their World Series victory in 1985, falling one game shy of a championship with a 3-2 loss to the Giants in Game 7 of the World Series..
John Gibbons only played 18 games in Major League Baseball -- all for the New York Mets -- but his managerial career has already lasted much longer. He took over as Toronto manager in 2004 in the middle of the season and coached the team for five years before he was fired in 2008. He returned to a revamped squad in 2013 with high expectations, but the Blue Jays only finished 74-88. The team did improve to 83-79 in 2014.
Do former players really make the best managers? Take a whirl through this gallery of former players who are now managers and decide for yourself. And while we're on the subject, here are former NFL players as coaches and the same for the NBA.
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College Football All-Name Team
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British Border Patrol Blunder
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Odds & Ends
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Kluwe really gets into the fantasy aspect of fantasy football.
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