Worst managers to win a World Series

81usaf92

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It’s an interesting thought of who really has a ring because solely of the talent of their team and for just one month they decided not to manage for once. Everyone gives Bobby Cox hell for winning only one and constantly ranks Torre up there with the best after inheriting Buck’s best team. This is to show how easy it is sometimes to win WS for bad manager

my personal

1) Bob Brenley (2001)- How is there any worse candidate

2) Ozzie Guillion (2005)- Winning a WS for the Chi Sox seems like pulling teeth. So how in the hell did Ozzie break through. It still remains a mystery for me.

3) Brian Snitker (2021)- okay there is a reason he is a “new manager” in his “youthful” 60’s. The guy constantly gets in the way of the greatest Braves teams in history with bad managing. You have to ask… if the Nationals and Braves swap managers in 2019 how many WS do the Braves have with Davey? Answer is probably 2.

4) Ned Yost (2015)- I like Yost but if he wasn’t the Royals manager then he would have never survived as long as he did especially with the talent he actually had. 2014-15 were just magical seasons in which the Royals youngins made a last stand to accomplish something bigger than the organization.

5) Dave Roberts (2020) Dave Roberts to me is a weird case for me. On one hand he is consistently winning his division but he also finds a way to consistently choke with far superior talent. Most of the time it’s his own doing. 2020 was a weird year and his NLCS opponent was Brian Snitker who had a 3-1 lead.
 

selmaborntidefan

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The only thing wrong with your list is it's a bit of recency bias. I personally - and this is just my opinion - think the jury is still out on Snitker. It's TOO SOON to decide whether or not he's the worst to win it but that's just my POV, too. Otherwise, I tend to agree, although Yost is a debatable point because he DID win it in KC, which is not an easy thing to do in modern baseball (or actually the entire history of baseball if we include the Athletics).

So these would be my personal candidates.

(Important: in the EARLY DAYS of baseball, the manager was quite often a player. I have excluded those from a time when things were different because managing wasn't the separate skill set we now know it to be. Hence, Jake Stahl of the 1912 Red Sox isn't here).

Fred Haney (1957 Braves) - if you think Bobby underachieved with what he had (he did, let's admit it), at least give Cox some credit because he built that entire organization from the ground up TWICE. Fred Haney had finishes of last, 6th, and then fired in his third year with the St Louis Browns. But....it WAS the Browns. He then had three straight last place finishes with the Pirates in 1953-54-55....but the Pirates were awful, too. Haney took over a Braves team entering 1956 that finished 2nd to the Dodgers and already had Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn (all 3 all-time greats) plus some borderline HOF candidates like Joe Adcock, Lew Burdette, and Andy Pafko. Here's what he did with them:

1956 - Braves lead Dodgers by 2 with 12 to play. Entering last weekend, Braves up by 1/2 game. Braves somehow lose first game 5-4. Then, Spahn pitches all 12 innings and throws a 5-hitter...and Braves lose, 2-1, to the Cards. Brooklyn what proves to be their last pennant.

1957 - yeah, Braves won it all. What's forgotten is that in the bottom of the 9th of game 7, the Yankees were down, 5-0, and had the bases loaded and Moose Skowron at the plate and got saved by a sensational play by Eddie Matthews on a shot down the line at third.

1958 - Braves became only the 2nd team to blow a 3-1 WS lead because (wait for it) Haney pitched Spahn and Burdette in the final 3 games ALL ON TWO DAYS' REST - and the Yankees won 7-0, 4-3 in 10, and 6-2.

1959 - Braves finished in a tie with the now LA Dodgers, largely because: a) Red Schoendienst missed the season with TB; and b) Haney was a stupid field manager whose teams routinely lost games with his micro-managing. Baseball guru and stats guy Bill James says Haney's 1959 Milwaukee year is the single worst managing job by any manager in baseball history. He rode Spahn and Burdette into the ground, he didn't come up with a solution for Schoendienst being gone, and he platooned Joe Adcock with awful Frank Torre - and folks, Adcock had a better career HR percentage than his teammate, Aaron. Seriously.


Dallas Green (1980 Phillies) - gets a pass for basically taking a team he inherited from Danny Ozark and winning a WS. In eight seasons, he had ONE winning season as a manager. Guess which one? Yup.

Bob Brenly
(2001 Arizona) - let me be clear about this: everyone who got on Brenly's case for using Schilling three times was wrong to jump his case while it was ongoing, just go look at the names behind Schilling and Johnson as pitchers. But he had no business pitching Kim in game 5 after 63 pitches the night before, either. He made bad decision after bad decision over and over - but wound up winning.

Here's just a sampling of what Brenly did that was mind-boggling:
- hadTony Womack lead off instead of Mark Grace, whose OBP was 100 pts higher
- When Womack reached base to lead off the inning three times, he bunted him over when:
a) the only reason he hadWomack leading off in the first place is because he’s the highest percentage base stealer in THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL!!!
b) El Duque is easy to steal on and getting creamed by lefties all game
c) Gonzalez - the 3rd hitter - had 57 long bombs on the year and walked 100 times.
- pulled Schilling after ONLY 88 pitches despite an exhausted closer and no middle relief.
- in game 7, a clearly tired Schilling is leading off the bottom of the 7th inning, no pinch hitter, goes back out and gives up a home run to the first hitter he faces

Ozzie Guillen (2005 White Sox) - I still don't know what soul he had to sell to the devil but my goodness. Remember - they collapsed coming down the stretch and Cleveland got within 2 games with a week to go before Chicago put them away.
 

81usaf92

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The only thing wrong with your list is it's a bit of recency bias. I personally - and this is just my opinion - think the jury is still out on Snitker. It's TOO SOON to decide whether or not he's the worst to win it but that's just my POV, too. Otherwise, I tend to agree, although Yost is a debatable point because he DID win it in KC, which is not an easy thing to do in modern baseball (or actually the entire history of baseball if we include the Athletics).

So these would be my personal candidates.

(Important: in the EARLY DAYS of baseball, the manager was quite often a player. I have excluded those from a time when things were different because managing wasn't the separate skill set we now know it to be. Hence, Jake Stahl of the 1912 Red Sox isn't here).

Fred Haney (1957 Braves) - if you think Bobby underachieved with what he had (he did, let's admit it), at least give Cox some credit because he built that entire organization from the ground up TWICE. Fred Haney had finishes of last, 6th, and then fired in his third year with the St Louis Browns. But....it WAS the Browns. He then had three straight last place finishes with the Pirates in 1953-54-55....but the Pirates were awful, too. Haney took over a Braves team entering 1956 that finished 2nd to the Dodgers and already had Hank Aaron, Eddie Matthews, Warren Spahn (all 3 all-time greats) plus some borderline HOF candidates like Joe Adcock, Lew Burdette, and Andy Pafko. Here's what he did with them:

1956 - Braves lead Dodgers by 2 with 12 to play. Entering last weekend, Braves up by 1/2 game. Braves somehow lose first game 5-4. Then, Spahn pitches all 12 innings and throws a 5-hitter...and Braves lose, 2-1, to the Cards. Brooklyn what proves to be their last pennant.

1957 - yeah, Braves won it all. What's forgotten is that in the bottom of the 9th of game 7, the Yankees were down, 5-0, and had the bases loaded and Moose Skowron at the plate and got saved by a sensational play by Eddie Matthews on a shot down the line at third.

1958 - Braves became only the 2nd team to blow a 3-1 WS lead because (wait for it) Haney pitched Spahn and Burdette in the final 3 games ALL ON TWO DAYS' REST - and the Yankees won 7-0, 4-3 in 10, and 6-2.

1959 - Braves finished in a tie with the now LA Dodgers, largely because: a) Red Schoendienst missed the season with TB; and b) Haney was a stupid field manager whose teams routinely lost games with his micro-managing. Baseball guru and stats guy Bill James says Haney's 1959 Milwaukee year is the single worst managing job by any manager in baseball history. He rode Spahn and Burdette into the ground, he didn't come up with a solution for Schoendienst being gone, and he platooned Joe Adcock with awful Frank Torre - and folks, Adcock had a better career HR percentage than his teammate, Aaron. Seriously.


Dallas Green (1980 Phillies) - gets a pass for basically taking a team he inherited from Danny Ozark and winning a WS. In eight seasons, he had ONE winning season as a manager. Guess which one? Yup.

Bob Brenly (2001 Arizona) - let me be clear about this: everyone who got on Brenly's case for using Schilling three times was wrong to jump his case while it was ongoing, just go look at the names behind Schilling and Johnson as pitchers. But he had no business pitching Kim in game 5 after 63 pitches the night before, either. He made bad decision after bad decision over and over - but wound up winning.

Here's just a sampling of what Brenly did that was mind-boggling:
- hadTony Womack lead off instead of Mark Grace, whose OBP was 100 pts higher
- When Womack reached base to lead off the inning three times, he bunted him over when:
a) the only reason he hadWomack leading off in the first place is because he’s the highest percentage base stealer in THE HISTORY OF BASEBALL!!!
b) El Duque is easy to steal on and getting creamed by lefties all game
c) Gonzalez - the 3rd hitter - had 57 long bombs on the year and walked 100 times.
- pulled Schilling after ONLY 88 pitches despite an exhausted closer and no middle relief.
- in game 7, a clearly tired Schilling is leading off the bottom of the 7th inning, no pinch hitter, goes back out and gives up a home run to the first hitter he faces

Ozzie Guillen (2005 White Sox) - I still don't know what soul he had to sell to the devil but my goodness. Remember - they collapsed coming down the stretch and Cleveland got within 2 games with a week to go before Chicago put them away.
Recency bias and bias of being there plays into it. There are people in your age group that swear Charlie Manuel and Sweet Lou were bad managers who lucked out into WS rings.

I think Brenley and Ozzie are rather obvious ones in all eras. Brenley just proves anyone who follows Buck wins WS in most cases. Ozzie I just don’t know how he got it.

As for Snitker and Roberts. They are both the same person. However Roberts makes far less impactful decisions that costs him series. I mean Snitker hiding Soroka in 2019 NLDS is just unexplainably stupid beyond belief, Atleast when Roberts did the same thing in the NLCS last year he could Atleast say I have a 7 game series.

Yost is a decent manager. He is only on my list based on who he had and his overall record with them. However his 14-15 October runs were nothing short of amazing. His teams were vastly inferior to who they were playing but how he managed the lineup and bullpen was masterful. But those are two years in a long career.
 

selmaborntidefan

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Recency bias and bias of being there plays into it. There are people in your age group that swear Charlie Manuel and Sweet Lou were bad managers who lucked out into WS rings.

I think Brenley and Ozzie are rather obvious ones in all eras. Brenley just proves anyone who follows Buck wins WS in most cases. Ozzie I just don’t know how he got it.

As for Snitker and Roberts. They are both the same person. However Roberts makes far less impactful decisions that costs him series. I mean Snitker hiding Soroka in 2019 NLDS is just unexplainably stupid beyond belief, Atleast when Roberts did the same thing in the NLCS last year he could Atleast say I have a 7 game series.

Yost is a decent manager. He is only on my list based on who he had and his overall record with them. However his 14-15 October runs were nothing short of amazing. His teams were vastly inferior to who they were playing but how he managed the lineup and bullpen was masterful. But those are two years in a long career.
Thanks for making me feel old (blue font).

There are complete idiots who dismiss Piniella and Manuel, but please. Lou never won another WS - but he wasn’t supposed to win the one he did, either. He built Seattle from a nothing to a 116-win team and developed Griffey and Unit and A Rod. He won slightly over 51% of his games in NY….and 3 small markets and then Chicago. Good manager not great.

Manuel, too, decent. No Sparky but good.

Not every manager gets to inherit the Yankees with no draft or playoffs like Casey Stengel did.
 

81usaf92

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Thanks for making me feel old (blue font).

There are complete idiots who dismiss Piniella and Manuel, but please. Lou never won another WS - but he wasn’t supposed to win the one he did, either. He built Seattle from a nothing to a 116-win team and developed Griffey and Unit and A Rod. He won slightly over 51% of his games in NY….and 3 small markets and then Chicago. Good manager not great.

Manuel, too, decent. No Sparky but good.

Not every manager gets to inherit the Yankees with no draft or playoffs like Casey Stengel did.
It’s really why I don’t beat Cox up on going 1-4 on WS. October baseball is crazy. Manuel probably had the best rotation since the 95 Braves but couldn’t get out of the NLDS because the Cards just hit a stride late. It’s a crap shoot that is more lucky than good sometimes.

I think coaches in football are more tied to championships than baseball managers. Buck and Dusty are probably the best managers in baseball right now but neither have a ring.
 
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selmaborntidefan

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It’s really why I don’t beat Cox up on going 1-4 on WS. October baseball is crazy. Manuel probably had the best rotation since the 95 Braves but couldn’t get out of the NLDS because the Cards just hit a stride late. It’s a crap shoot that is more lucky than good sometimes.

I think coaches in football are more tied to championships than baseball managers. Buck and Dusty are probably the best managers in baseball right now but neither have a ring.
The thing with Cox, though - and I don't think it's fair to beat up on the guy because unlike the managers prior to 1969 that made the World Series if they finished first, Cox managed in an era of division and championship series' that meant you had to tire your rotation again quickly - and anything can happen. I mean, he blows a 3-1 in 1985 that if it was 1984, he's in the World Series. And I don't know if you ever saw that series, but the umpiring was absolutely atrocious, and it seemed every close call went against the Blue Jays. (That's why so many folks who were alive at that time think the Cards got jobbed - because KC benefited from some pretty shady calls in the LCS, although none were as bad as the Denkinger call at first).

Think about it like this - break baseball down into eras.

Who were the "great" managers of 1900-1950?

John McGraw - a reasonable candidate for the greatest manager ever.
Joe McCarthy - he managed the Yankees; how good was he REALLY (though he did get the Cubs to the 1929 World Series, where they blew an 8-0 lead in game four).
Connie Mack - he owned the team
Miller Huggins - he managed the Yankees
Frank Chance - he managed and played first for the Cubs in the player/manager days
Bill McKechine - won a series with Pirates (25) and Reds (40) plus a ring as a coach with Tribe (48)

Of the first 45 World Series champions (1903-48), the six guys above account for 23 (over 1/2) of the World Series titles won. That doesn't mean any of the other guys who won the 22 not accounted for were "bad." Bill Carrigan and Bucky Harris won two (Harris won his 23 years apart). In fact, several of the others who won titles were PLAYING managers because that's how it worked (note: Harris was a playing manager the first time).

The playing managers are below, Hall of Famers as players in bold:

Jimmy Collins, Fielder Jones, Fred Clarke, Jake Stahl, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby, Gabby Street, Bill Terry, Frankie Frisch, Mickey Cochrane

This covers all 45 WS prior to 1949 EXCEPT for: George Stallings, Pants Rowland, Pat Moran, Steve O'Neill, and Eddie Dyer - and the last two were in the WW2 era so really.

Next post - Casey to the 80s
 

selmaborntidefan

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So who won the World Series from 1948-1978?

Casey Stengel - never even finished in the top half of the division in nine years managing the Dodgers and Braves, he goes to the Yankees and wins the WS seven times which - again - proves it was a YANKEE thing, not a STENGEL thing.

Lou Boudreau - playing/manager of the 1948 Indians, in the HOF for his playing career

Leo Durocher - a highly regarded manager who built the Dodgers into a power in the 40s and won with the Giants in 1954

Walter Alston - Dodgers manager before Tommy who won the WS four times from 1955-65

Fred Haney - probably the worst manager to ever win one with the 57 Braves

Danny Murtaugh - won two with the Pirates, he managed them four times, quitting for health reasons, he actually built much of the team that won the 1979 World Series with Tanner; Murtaugh died two months after retiring from a stroke at 59.

Ralph Houk - won 2 with the Yankees but AGAIN.....did nothing in other jobs. He only has a winning record as a manager because the Yankees finished first his first four years leading them; otherwise, he wasn't that good either at NY or Boston or Detroit. He won NOTHING.

Johnny Keane - bizarre case. Won the 64 WS when Philly collapsed and two days after the series replaced the Yankees manager after beating them (Berra). They imploded, and he died of a heart attack after only two seasons managing them. Some folks argue Keane as the worst manager to ever win the WS - but Keane took over a Cardinals team that was so-so and won 56% of his games even though he only finished first the one time. The Yankees began collapsing in 1963, they just had enough talent to beat everyone from years of domination. Keane got there to oversee the implosion.

Hank Bauer - folks make a case for him as the worst, but his record is weighted down by two years as KC's skipper when they were nothing but a Yankees farm team. He laid the foundation that Earl Weaver built into a HOF career - he's the one who got Frank Robinson from the Reds.

Red Schoendienst - almost any idiot could have won the WS with the late 60s Cardinal teams of Gibson, Carlton, Brock, McCarver, Boyer, and Curt Flood plus Orlando Cepeda. Red was undone by owner Gussie Busch trading Carlton over a salary dispute and Carlton becoming the icon of the 70s pitchers.

Mayo Smith - won the 1968 World Series with the master stroke of moving his fourth outfielder (Mickey Stanley) to shortstop to get his bat in the lineup. A daring move, but it worked. Smith and the Tigers were undone by the off-the-field crooked behavior and associations of star pitcher Denny McLain.

Gil Hodges - because he was a nice guy AND managed the 69 Mets, it's considered unfair to even say this.....but YOU CAN make an argument Hodges was ONE of the worst managers to win a WS. In 1969, he was 38 games over .500 - for his career? He was only 30, meaning if you take that one year out, he was a loser as a manager. But because of the two things above and the fact he died just before the 1972 season started, he's considered a great. He wasn't. He never finished in the top 1/2 of the standings with the Senators, and he followed up his stellar 1969 year with two seasons of 83-79 both years.

Earl Weaver - a great manager with great philosophy and seven pennants.

Dick Williams - won the first two with Oakland, took Boston in 67 and San Diego in 84, he was the Buk Showalter/Dusty Baker/Davey Johnson of his time. He also drank a lot, which is why after the teams got bad, he got canned.

Alvin Dark - won the third of Oakland's three as a hanger-on, but he did take the Giants to within one swing of beating the Yankees in 1962, too. Rumor was always that he was a racist.

Sparky Anderson - in my opinion, the greatest manager in my lifetime.

Billy Martin - should be in the HOF, basically Dick Williams with a more violent temper

Bob Lemon - a HOF pitcher, he was above average as a manager, winning the 78 Series after Martin got fired for his tirade against Reggie and Big Stein


The only two candidates on this list are Haney and Hodges.


But I reiterate: Casey Stengel was massively overrated. He, Houk, and Torre were average managers at best when they weren't with the Yankees. Joe McCarthy, by contrast, is a legit all-time manager.
 

selmaborntidefan

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And now we're up to modern times where you have few repeat winners.

1979 - Chuck Tanner - I haven't made up my mind about him yet.
1980 - Dallas Green - to me? A legit worst manager to win it all candidate.
1981 and 1988 - Tommy Lasorda - no need to talk about this
1982 - Whitey Herzog - generally considered a very good, Bobby Cox-type manager. Won SIX penannts in 12 years in two different leagues, blew a 3-1 series lead in 85 and 3-2 in 87, but key injuries hurt his team both times
1983 - Joe Altobelli - I've seen his name as a candidate, but I disagree. Consider the context of his record, and he was pretty good.
1985 - Dick Howser - deprived of the opportunity to build on it...but Howser finished first four times in six years...and second the other two. That's pretty good, especially in KC.
1986 - Davey Johnson - I think he's massively overrated, but he has been successful even if he hasn't won it all again.
1987 and 1991 - Tom Kelly - folks want to rip him, but he's a typical Minnesota hire.
1989, 2006, 2011 - Tony LaRussa - nobody thinks he's lousy as far as his managing
1990 - Lou Piniella - discussed already
1992 and 1993 - Cito Gaston - cannot reasonably be on the bad list, accomplished a lot
1995 - Bobby Cox - no comment necessary
1996, 1998, 1999, 2000 - Joe Torre - I don't think he's as good as his record but do you really think a guy with four WS wins can possibly be the worst to ever win it all?
1997 - Jim Leyland - always overrated in my view, but he was a decent manager
2001 - Bob Brenly - definite candidate
2002 - Mike Scioscia - six first-place finishes, he only won one, but he won at a .536 clip.
2003 - Jack McKeon - folks mention him....but go look at his record with lousy teams. He did quite well.
2004 and 2007 - Terry Francona - not a chance
2005 - Ozzie Guillen - another candidate
2008 - Charlie Manuel - I just don't agree
2009 - Joe Girardi - no
2010/2012/2014 - Bruce Bochy - again, you're not gonna say a guy who won 3 was the worst
2013 - John Farrell - actually has a decent record even if they did crash hard in 14, they rebounded
2015 - Ned Yost - another popular candidate, but I just can't see it
2016 - Joe Maddon - not a chance
2017 - A J Hinch - he built a monster
2018 - Alex Cora - may get fired after this year....but he's won 57% of his games.
2019 - Dave Martinez - well, maybe an argument for him???
2020 - Dave Roberts - seems clueless
2021 - Brian Snitker - able to spot talent, makes delusional decisions, "thou shalt not have middle relief worth a damn" is his religious view

My candidates from this list?
Dallas Green
Bob Brenly
Ozzie Guillen

Those for sure. And Haney and Hodges from the earlier list.

Maybe Martinez, Roberts, and Snit.


My choice?


Bob Brenly....and here's why: despite winning a World Series followed by a first-place finish, Brenly has never been hired by anyone else, and he had only one interview (Brewers) after getting the heave-ho from the D-backs.

Arizona won 51 games started by either Schilling or Johnson, which means they also won 41 started by other pitchers. But other than Miguel Batista's 11, no other pitcher on that staff won more than six games, and their closer only saved 19. Brenly always argued that that team was more than the two pitchers, but they were 41-55 in games started by "not Johnson/not Schilling." As documented above, he made a ton of brain dead decisions.
 

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