MLB: Do second basemen make the best managers?
Sports Stats ‘on Tapp’ is a sports statistics blog published multiple times weekly focusing on stats that go beyond the numbers.
Baltimore Orioles skipper Buck Showalter earlier this season became the 58th manager in major league history to win 1,000 or more games in the major leagues. The 56-year-old Showalter, who previously managed the New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks and Texas Rangers, has the Orioles in a tie for first place in the American League East race.
Of those 58 managers with 1,000-plus wins, 51 also played in the majors. Showalter is one of the seven men who did not play in the majors.
So here’s the question: What position has “birthed” the most 1,000-win managers in the majors?
Second basemen top the list with 11. Recently-retired skipper Tony LaRussa played second base in the “bigs” and tops the list of second basemen turned managers with the most wins, 2,728. LaRussa stands third on the all-time list of wins by a manager behind Connie Mack (a catcher) and John McGraw (a third baseman).
Following are the number of managers who have won 1,000 or more games at each position these managers played in the majors. Also listed is the manager who has won the most games at each position.
Position, Number of Managers with 1,000 wins, Most wins
Second Basemen, 11 (Tony LaRussa, 2,728)
Catchers, 8 (Connie Mack, 3,731)
Shortstops, 6 (Leo Durocher, 2,008)
Third Basemen, 6 (John McGraw, 2,763)
First Basemen, 6 (Walter Alston, 2,040)
Left Fielders, 5 (Lou Piniella, 1,835)
Right Fielders, 5 (Casey Stengel, 1,905)
Pitchers, 2 (Tommy Lasorda, 1,599)
Center Fielders, 2 (Ned Hanlon, 1,313)
Here’s a look at the seven managers with 1,000 or more wins that did not play in the majors:
Joe McCarthy, 2,215
Jim Leyland, 1,606 *
Earl Weaver, 1,480
Frank Selee, 1,284
John McNamara, 1,160
Jack McKeon, 1,051
Buck Showalter, 1009
If you take a look at the 30 managers now leading clubs in the majors, 24 played in the majors. Six of the 30 managers were catchers. Another interesting note is that every position is represented in the 24 managers who played in the majors. Here’s a breakdown of today’s 30 managers and the positions they played in the majors. Also noted are the six current managers who did not play major league baseball.
First Base: Don Mattingly
Second Base: Davey Johnson, Ron Washington
Shortstop: Bobby Valentine, Ron Gardenhire, Ozzie Guillen, Dale Sveum
Third Base: Brad Mills, Robin Ventura
Left Field: Dusty Baker, Charlie Manuel, Jim Tracy, Kirk Gibson
Center Field: Ron Roenicke
Right Field: Clint Hurdle
Catcher: Bruce Bochy, Mike Scioscia, Bob Melvin, Ned Yost, Joe Girardi, Mike Matheny
Pitcher: Bud Black, John Farrell
Designated Hitter: Eric Wedge
Did not play in the majors: Jim Leyland, Buck Showalter, Terry Collins, Joe Maddon, Manny Acta, Fredi Gonzalez
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