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Six Greatest Baseball Managers From the Seventies to Present

Updated on December 14, 2011

Managing a baseball team can be a short lived career but these six managers all had great careers that lasted for years. They all had at least 1400 wins, 4 pennants, and a world series championship. I was going to do the best five managers but I couldn't decide which manager to leave off the list. All these are well deserving and could be arranged in any order.

6. Tommy Lasorda

Tommy Lasordas only Major League managing job was with the Los Angeles Dodgers a title that lasted 21 years. This is an accomplishment in it self, being with one team that long. He compiled a 1599-1439(.526) record (17th all time in wins) with 8 division titles, 4 NL pennants, and 2 world series championships. He was also a two time manager of the year. He has 31 postseason wins,6th all time. In his time he coached 9 NL rookies of the year showing the emphasis Lasorda and the Dodgers put on developing young players.

5. Joe Torre

5th in total wins with a 2310-1977 (.538) career record Joe Torre had a great career with his best years being with the New York Yankees. He also had stops with the New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, St.Louis Cardinals, and the Los Angeles Dodgers all together totaling 29 years as a manager. In his 12 years with the Yankees he won 10 AL East titles,6 pennants, and 4 world series titles. He also holds the record for postseason wins with 84. A little side note on Torre is that he was very good ballplayer as a catcher with a career .297 batting average. He was a 9 time all star.

4. Tony Larussa

Tony Larussa managed for 33 years in the majors with the Chicago White Sox, Oakland A's, and the St. Louis Cardinals. The 33 years puts him tied for 2nd all time behind Connie Mack and tied with John McGraw for most years managing in the majors. Larussa has a 2728-2365 (.536) career record (3rd all time with wins) with 6 pennants and 3 world series. With a world series championship with the A's and two with the Cardinals he was the only second manager to win a title in both leagues. His 70 postseason wins rank him second all time. Larussa became the first manager to win the manager of the year 4 times.

3. Bobby Cox

Bobby Cox ranks 4th all time in wins with a 2504-2001 (.556) career record. He managed the Atlanta Braves and the Toronto Blue Jays having two seperate stints with the Braves sandwiched around the Blue Jays. With his last go around with the Braves he led them to the division title every year, excluding the strike shortened season in 1994, from 1991-2005. He is 3rd all time with 67 postseason wins. He won his only world series in 1995 along with 5 pennants for his career. He won 4 manager of the year awards with his last one coming in 2005. He really turned the Braves around to where they are contenders every year. Bobby Cox has the distinction of holding the record for most ejections by a manager with a 158.

2. Earl Weaver

Earl Weaver has the best winning percentage of the managers on this list with a 1480-1060(.583) record. He coached the Baltimore Orioles for 17 seasons winning 6 division titles, 4 pennants, and 1 world series. He had only one losing season while winning over 100 games five times. Weaver was known for utilizing stats in determining matchups thus making good use of platooning players. He was one of the first to utilize stats to the extreme like he did. He also did not believe in small ball. He couldn't stand the sac bunt or the hit and run claiming that was giving away outs. Weaver was very smart about the game. Weaver's 17 years as a manager in the majors is considerably less than the others on this list but his accomplishments rank him right up there at the top.

1. Sparky Anderson

Sparky Anderson was the first manager to win world series titles in both the AL and NL winning with the 1975 and 1976 Cincinnati Reds and the 1984 Detroit Tigers. He is 6th in all time wins with a 2194-1834 (.545) career record along with 7 division titles and 5 pennants. He managed for 26 years earning two AL manager of the year awards. His Big Red Machine of 1975 and 1976 is considered one of the greatest teams of all time compiling a 14-3 in the playoffs on their way to winning two world series. His .618 winning percentage in the postseason ranks third all time while his 34 postseason wins ranks 5th all time. He is considered the innovator in using relief pitching like we see it now. Any sign of weakness from a pitcher he would pull them from the game thus earning the nickname Captain Hook.

This list could go in any order. All these managers are great and were great for the game. Ten years we will be talking about different managers to add to this list. Someone like Mike Scioscia, Jim Leyland, Terry Francona, maybe Dusty Baker.


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    • catfish33 profile image

      Jeffrey Yelton 6 years ago from Maryland

      Very nice article.

    • gr65 profile image
      Author

      gr65 6 years ago

      Thanks for your comment. It looks like the Dodgers are getting back to the days when Lasorda managed. If they can keep their players they will be good for years to come.

    • Cube Jesters profile image

      Cube Jesters 6 years ago from United States

      GR65,

      I enjoyed your post and, like Feenix, I'm a big fan of MLB and the Dodgers, in particular. Seeing Lasorda on your list made me happy and he's a very deserving person to make your list. I'm a little too young to remember Earl Weaver, but I've seen so much footage of him arguing w/ the umps... cracks me up!

      Great to see so many baseball Hubs, especially during the winter... let's me know the Hot Stove League is alive and well!

    • gr65 profile image
      Author

      gr65 6 years ago

      Dick Williams was next on the list. He had a great career. His career winning percentage was slightly lower than the managers on my list but probably because he managed some poor teams. He had great years with the Red Sox and the A's and improved the Expos and Padres.Probably doesn't get the respect he deserves. Davey Johnson was also close with .561 winning percentage. His teams over his whole career averaged a 2.0 finish in the standings which is high. In 15 years he had one pennant and one world series title

    • feenix profile image

      feenix 6 years ago

      Hello, GR65,

      This post caught my eye because I am a real fan of Major League Baseball. As a matter fact, my two favorite teams are the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankess (the reason why I have two favorite teams is a long story ;-) )

      And interestingly, I am in complete agreement with your list and the order in which you placed the managers.

      Good work.

    • dmccray7 profile image

      dmccray7 6 years ago from Merrimack NH

      gr65, Nice job . Out of curiosity, I have to ask where Dick Williams falls on your list. Albeit his first pennant win was 1967 but overall he won pennants with 3 teams and did win 3 pennants and 2 World Series in 70s and 80s.