The Cubs' Joe Maddon won his 1,000th game as a Major League manager on Tuesday, celebrating with a glass of red wine. It looks incredibly strange to watch someone still in a baseball uniform drink red wine. The MLB uniform is specifically designed for beer, I think.
Anyway, Maddon became the 63rd manager to reach the plateau. He's now tied with Charlie Manuel, who was fired by the Phillies shortly after winning his 1,000th game, forever securing him at that spot (assuming no one will be hiring the 73-year-old anytime soon). Maddon also became the eighth active manager to win 1,000 games; Oakland's Bob Melvin (currently at 972) and the Mets' Terry Collins (941) should also get there this year.
The Cubs, even when they're in third place, are still the biggest story in baseball, so Maddon reaching the milestone resulted in more fanfare than Melvin or Collins will. (That glass of wine was particularly telegenic.) But it did beg the question: Is Maddon a Hall of Famer? Are any of these managers Hall of Famers?
It's tough to get into the Hall of Fame solely as a manager. The last three to get in were Joe Torre (who was an excellent player, in addition to his time as a manager), Tony La Russa and Bobby Cox. Having the three of them in the Hall assures that 12 of the 13 winningest managers in baseball history made it in; only poor Gene Mauch, who famously never won a World Series, is on that list but on the outside looking in.
There are four active managers in the top 25 of wins all time. Are any of them going to make the Hall of Fame? Let's take a look at any possible Hall candidates among today's active managers.
Dusty Baker. Baker is 16th all time in managerial wins, and even though he's currently 15 wins behind Bruce Bochy, the way the Nationals and the Giants are playing, he may catch him this season. Baker has been successful everywhere he has been -- he took the Reds to the playoffs three times this decade, for crying out loud -- but it's the postseason where has been consistently tripped up. He's 21-29 in postseason games, with just one World Series appearance out of eight postseason tries. Plus, people still blame him for what happened to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Even with all those wins and a solid playing career, Baker is going to need a World Series title to receive any Hall of Fame consideration. He may have no better chance than this season.
Bruce Bochy. Fifteenth all-time in wins, which is just a happy little bonus when you have won three World Series. What Bochy has done in the postseason is particularly impressive considering none of those Giants teams were considered the favorites to win. There's no bigger cinch on this list than Bochy. Three titles, top 15 in wins, respect and adoration of his colleagues -- he's in.
Terry Francona. If Francona had won the World Series with Cleveland last year, there would have been no doubt. All told, there probably isn't much doubt anyway: Winning a World Series with the Red Sox after decades of falling short -- not to mention winning another one three years later -- should be enough for him. Right now, only Pedro Martinez has made the Hall of Fame from that 2004 Red Sox team. David Ortiz should be next, with Francona likely soon afterward.
Joe Maddon. Winning the World Series with the Cubs -- even if they seemed to win that particular series in spite of Maddon's moves rather than because of them -- is going to go a long way for Maddon, probably all the way. Unless he and the Cubs totally collapse, which is highly unlikely, he should be able to rack up a ton of wins over the next half decade, and he might even get himself another championship. I bet Maddon makes it.
Mike Scioscia. He's 22nd all time in wins, just behind Hall of Famers Tommy Lasorda and Dick Williams, and he does have a World Series championship under his belt. He also has a .540 lifetime winning percentage, higher than Baker, Bochy, Francona, Buck Showalter and Maddon. But it's also worth noting that Scioscia has been steward over Mike Trout's whole career and has yet to win a postseason game with him. More than anyone else on this list, the next three years are critical.
Buck Showalter. He'll pass Earl Weaver in wins later this year, and he has won everywhere he has been. (Well, other than Texas.) It's unlikely any other manager in baseball does more with less than Showalter, and these past few years with Baltimore are widely considered his best work. (Last year's American League Wild Card Game aside.) But Showalter has still never even reached a World Series and continues to be plagued by the fact that the Yankees and Diamondbacks both did right after he left. (And the Rangers almost did.) He needs to win a World Series with Baltimore. That's what it'll likely require.
Other possibilities: Clint Hurdle (more wins than Maddon but little postseason success; he also has a losing record for his career); Ned Yost (also has more wins than Maddon and a World Series title; still, though, Ned Yost?); Bob Melvin (almost 1,000 wins, but who has noticed any of them?); Terry Collins (if he survives another five years in Queens, he deserves more than just Cooperstown; he deserves sainthood); and Joe Girardi (young enough to build onto this resume, and remember, he already has one title; consider him your growth stock).
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