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MLB Power Rankings: Charlie Manuel and the Best Managers in Baseball

MLB Power Rankings: Charlie Manuel and the Best Managers in Baseball

We live in a society where we look at results.

When a team is winning the manager is considered a good leader.  When a team’s losing, well, that manager might be headed for the unemployment line. 

They get paid the big bucks to make the tough decisions.  When to tinker with the lineup, when to make a pitching change, when to pinch-hit, when to pinch-run, when to make a defensive substitution, when to intentionally walk someone, when to call for the shift, when to bunt, when to hit and run.  

It’s all part of the job.

30. Brad Mills (Houston Astros)

Brad Mills served as Terry Francona’s first-base coach in Philadelphia from 1997-2000, and bench coach in Boston from 2004-2009.

After a disastrous 43-59 start a year ago in Houston, the Astros cleaned house and dealt longtime franchise favorites Roy Oswalt and Lance Berkman

Mills turned things around the final 60 games going 33-27 to finish 76-86.

So far this season, the Astros have the worst record in baseball at 24-42.

29. Mike Quade (Chicago Cubs)

Mike Quade spent 17 seasons as a Minor League manager, and went 24-13 once Lou Piniella stepped away last season.

Cubs fans wanted Ryne Sandberg to be named manager, but the club went with Quade.

He’s gotten a lot of scrutiny so far this year for leaving his starters in too long. 

After a 25-39 start, it looks like once again the Cubs will have to wait until next year.

28. Edwin Rodriguez (Florida Marlins)

Fredi Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez had their share of run-ins last season, and after a 34-36 start, Gonzalez and two others were fired.

The Marlins promoted Edwin Rodriguez, then manager of the Triple-A affiliate New Orleans Zyphers.

He signed a one-year contract for the 2011 season during the offseason.

27. Ned Yost (Kansas City Royals)

In a strange and unusual move, the Milwaukee Brewers fired Ned Yost in 2008 with just 12 games remaining.  At the time, the team stood at 83-67. 

The Brewers entered September with a five-game lead in the Wild Card over the Philadelphia Phillies.  After losing seven of eight, including a four-game sweep against the Phillies, Milwaukee and Philly were tied in the Wild Card.

It was the first time since the strike shortened 1981 season that a team in playoff contention fired it’s manager after August.

With Dale Sveum as the interim manager, the Brewers finished 7-5 and beat the Mets by a game to win the Wild-Card.

The Brewers lost to the Phillies in the NLDS.

Yost is 84-109 in two years with Kansas City.

26. Jim Riggleman (Washington Nationals)

As the skipper with the Cubs in the late-90′s Jim Riggleman and Sammy Sosa didn’t always get along.  Riggleman is a disciplinarian who’s never been afraid of speaking his mind.

Sosa liked to pump his latin music on his boombox in the clubhouse.  When Riggleman confronted Sosa about this in 1997, the team became split.

In 1998, Sosa and Riggleman patched things up.  Sosa hit 66 home runs and the Cubbies defeated the Giants in a one-game playoff to win the Wild-Card.  The Cubs finished the regular season at 90-73.

Over an 11-year span, Riggleman’s managed four different teams.  1998 remains his only winning season.

 25. Don Mattingly (Los Angeles Dodgers)

It’s tough to judge a manager in his first season, and in Don Mattingly’s case, his Dodgers have dealt with a lot of injuries.  I won’t even get into the ugly ownership situation.

In 2007, Joe Torre turned down a one-year extension to stay with the Yankees, and many thought that the longtime bench coach Mattingly would get the managerial job.  Instead, the Bronx Bombers turned to Joe Girardi.

Mattingly followed Torre to Los Angeles and finally got his chance to become manager this year after Torre retired.

24. John Farrell (Toronto Blue Jays)

Like John Farrell, when Toronto first brought in Cito Gaston as manager in 1989, he had no previous managerial experience.

Gaston won back-to-back World Series titles in 1992 and 1993.  After firing him in 1997 for starting 72-86, the Blue Jays brought Gaston back in 2008.  He retired after the 2010 season.

Farrell served as Boston’s pitching coach from 2006-2010.  With young arms such as Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek, you can understand why Farrell was brought in.

23. Terry Collins (New York Mets)

After an 11-year hiatus, Terry Collins is back managing in the bigs.

Collins was one of three finalists for the Mets managerial position prior to the 2005 season.  The organization went with Willie Randolph.

He last managed in Japan for the Orix Buffaloes where he went 83-105-5 in less than two seasons before resigning.  He managed China in the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

22. Bob Melvin (Oakland A’s)

After a nine-game losing streak and a 27-36 mark, general manager Billy Beane had enough.  He fired Bob Geren and named Bob Melvin interim manager.

Melvin won the 2007 National League Manager of the Year Award as he guided the cinderella Arizona Diamondbacks to a NL Best 90-72 mark.

They lost to Colorado in the NLCS.

21. Kirk Gibson (Arizona Diamondbacks)

Kirk Gibson took over for A.J. Hinch last season on July 1.  He finished the season 34-48.

So far this season the Diamondbacks have surprised many, currently standing 36-30, one game back of San Francisco for first place in the NL West.

In Spring Training, Gibson wanted to put an emphasis on stopping the running game. 

Last year, they were tied for second most in the NL with 115 stolen bases allowed.  Currently, Arizona is second in MLB with just 25 stolen bases allowed. 

20. Clint Hurdle (Pittsburgh Pirates)

In 2007 led by Clint Hurdle, the Colorado Rockies made a remarkable late regular season run into the postseason.

They won 14 of their last 15 regular season games, which included a one game Wild-Card playoff against the San Diego Padres.

They then rattled off seven consecutive postseason wins to capture the NL pennant before being swept by the Boston Red Sox in the World Series.

Hurdle is known as a positive players manager, which is perfect for a young Pirates squad.

19. Manny Acta (Cleveland Indians)

Although they’ve been on a slide as of late, the Cleveland Indians have been the biggest surprise so far this season. 

Manny Acta is a great communicator and teacher, and the young Indians have listened so far.

His ability to communicate with Latino players is another positive.

18. Eric Wedge (Seattle Mariners)

Speaking of more surprises, Eric Wedge currently has the surging Seattle Mariners a game over .500 and two games back of the first place Texas Rangers.

Wedge spent seven seasons in Cleveland which included a 97 win campaign in 2007.  He was named AL Manager of the Year, and got the Tribe a game within the World Series.

Wedge brings an intensity and edge that former skipper Don Wakamatsu did not provide.

17. Ron Roenicke (Milwaukee Brewers)

Ron Roenicke is in his first year with the Brewers.  Led by Ryan Braun and a solid pitching staff, the Brew Crew currently sit a top the NL Central.

Roenicke is the latest of the growing Mike Scioscia tree which includes Joe Maddon and Bud Black.

During the managerial interview process Brewers General Manager questioned Roenicke’s experience.  Roenicke answered, “I don’t have a lot of experience. But I’ve experienced a lot.”

He compiled a 404-371 minor league record prior to serving as Scioscia’s bench coach for ten seasons.

16. Jim Tracy (Colorado Rockies)

In 2009 the Rockies fired Clint Hurdle after an 18-28 start.  Jim Tracy took over and Colorado surged to a 74-42 finish and a 92-70 record overall.  Tracy won the NL Manager of the Year Award despite taking over during the season.

The Rockies won the NL Wild-Card, but lost to the Philadelphia Phillies in the NLDS.

After a 17-9 April to start this season, the Rockies have floundered to just a 14-26 record since.

15. Fredi Gonzalez (Atlanta Braves)

After 25 spectacular seasons in Atlanta, Bobby Cox called it quits.  When the Marlins let Gonzalez go in the middle of last year, it was immediately assumed that he would become the successor.

The Braves made it official on October 13.

Gonzalez isn’t afraid to call out his players for lack of hustle as evidenced by his benching of Hanley Ramirez last year.  Ultimately though, it cost him his job in Florida.

What became the Marlins loss became the Braves gain.

14. Ozzie Guillen (Chicago White Sox)

In only his second season as manager in 2005, Ozzie Guillen guided the White Sox to 99 wins and a World Series Title.  He became the first Latin American manager to win the World Series.  He took home the AL Manager of the Year Award as well that year..

Guillen is known for his outspoken ways, but he’s also known for using his bullpen sparingly.  During the 2005 ALCS against the Angels, the White Sox had a run of four consecutive complete game performances from Mark Buehrle, Jose Contreras, Jon Garland and Freddy Garcia.

13. Joe Girardi (New York Yankees)

In his first opportunity as manager in 2006, Joe Girardi won the NL Manager of the Year Award with the Florida Marlins, despite going just 78-84. 

He won the Manager of the Year Award, but Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria still fired Girardi after the season.

In his first year as the Yankees skipper in 2008, the Bronx Bombers missed the postseason for the first time since 1993.

In his second year, the Yankees won the World Series.

12. Bud Black (San Diego Padres)

Bud Black is the reigning NL Manager of the Year, winning the award by just one vote over Dusty Baker.

Although the Padres collapsed at the end of last season, Black really turned things around in San Diego.

It’s been a struggle so far this season.  With the departure of Adrian Gonzalez, the Padres haven’t been able to score runs.  They sit last in the NL West with a 30-38 record.

11. Jim Leyland (Detroit Tigers)

The carton smoking Jim Leyland has been at it since 1986.  In his illustrious career, Leyland won a World Series with Florida in 1997 and the pennant with the Tigers in 2006.

The three time Manager of the Year Award winner is one of seven managers to win both the NL and AL pennant.

10. Dusty Baker (Cincinnati Reds)

Dusty Baker is a baseball tradionalist.  When his teams are out of contention come August and September, he’ll continue to play veterans to keep the integrity of the playoff races in tact.

He’s been known to overuse pitchers, and some have blamed him for destroying the careers of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior.

Since joining the Reds in 2007, Baker’s turned things around.  Last year by he lead them to their first NL Central crown since 1995.

9. Ron Washington (Texas Rangers)

Ron Washington is the most aggressive manager in baseball.  He isn’t afraid to take the extra base, suicide squeeze or test an outfielders arm.

Although Washington led Texas to their first World Series appearance a year ago, things haven’t always gone well for him in Arlington.

In his first season in 2007, he lost 44 of his first 70 games.  In 2008, the Rangers started just 7-16, but has since righted the ship.

8. Buck Showalter (Baltimore Orioles)

Like Larry Brown in the NBA, there’s no one better at turning a franchise around than Buck Showalter.  The Orioles are in the midst of 13 consecutive losing seasons.

He’s already changed the culture in Baltimore.

Dave Trembley began 2010 as the Orioles skipper, but was fired after an abysmal 15-39 start. 

When Showalter was brought in, he guided the Orioles back to respectability, finishing the year 34-23.

7. Bruce Bochy (San Francisco Giants)

What Bruce Bochy did last season with the San Francisco Giants was simply phenomenal.

During the postseason, he consistently made the correct lineup changes, defensive substitutions and pitching changes.  He guided the Giants to their first World Series win in San Francisco.

Bochy also led the 1998 San Diego Padres to an NL Pennant before losing to the Yankees in the World Series.

6. Joe Maddon (Tampa Bay Rays)

Joe Maddon loves to make the opposing hitters think.  He’s arguably the most unconventional manager in the league.

He’s used five-man infields, and uses the shift as much as any manager in baseball.

But year-in and year-out, despite losing star players every season, he always has the Rays in playoff contention.

5. Ron Gardenhire (Minnesota Twins)

Despite an AL worst 26-39 record, I wouldn’t call the Minnesota Twins out of the AL Central race.

It was just two years ago when the Twins overcame a seven game gap over Detroit heading into September.

Gardenhire emphasises defense, and his squads are always known for being fundamentally sound.

Since taking over the managerial reigns in 2002, Gardenhire’s won six AL Central titles. 

But, he’s won just one postseason series.  That came in 2002 against New York.

4. Mike Scioscia (Los Angeles Angels)

Mike Scioscia won a World Series for the Angels in just his third year in 2002.

Currently the longest tenured manager in the American League, Scioscia guided the Angels to six AL West titles in eight years from 2002-2009.

Last season marked just the second time that his team finished below .500 at 80-82.

Due to his consistent success, Scioscia’s locked up until 2018.

3. Charlie Manuel (Philadelphia Phillies)

Since joining the Phillies in 2005, all Charlie Manuel does is win.  They’ve won the NL East four consecutive times, and currently hold the best record in baseball at 40-26.

Manuel’s always been an offensive guru, but that’s taken a back seat this season due to the Phillies four aces.

2. Terry Francona (Boston Red Sox)

It only took Terry “Tito” Francona one year to do something that hadn’t been done for 86 years…reverse the curse and win the World Series in Boston.  He did that in 2004.

His calmness and composure during the 3-0 series comeback in the 2004 ALCS against New York was remarkable.

To add icing on the cake, the Red Sox added another World Series banner in 2007.

Things haven’t always gone well for Francona.

In his first managerial stint in Philadelphia, he couldn’t muster a single winning season, let alone win 80 games in four years with the Phillies from 1996-2000.  Grant it, the Phils didn’t have much talent back then.

Who knows, if Grady Little didn’t leave Pedro Martinez in game 7 of the 2003 ALCS too long, would Terry Francona even be on this list?

1. Tony La Russa (St. Louis Cardinals)

Tony La Russa is one of two managers ever to win a World Series in each league.  He did it with Oakland in 1989, and St. Louis in 2006.

Sparky Anderson is the only other manager to accomplish that feat.

When ace Adam Wainwright went down for the year in Spring Training, many believed that the Cardinals season was over before it began.

St. Louis is currently 38-29, tied for first in the NL Central.

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I currently work for the Sports Network. It's the best job ever! I am a 2010 graduate of Temple University where I majored in broadcast journalism, I LOVE SPORTS! That's why I am here. I have a vast knowledge and want to share my athletic intelligence with the world. Some people like to spend their time shooting down aliens in Halo; I like to spend my time watching sports, current and old. It's my passion! I got asked one time how I can watch a game over again when I already know the outcome. 5 minutes later, he's watching Happy Gilmore reciting all of the lines from the movie. Hypocrite! As for my favorite sports teams, I've been a lifelong Philadelphia sports fan. My favorite athlete is Allen Iverson. He didn't like practice that much, but when it came to gametime, no one let it all out on the floor like Iverson. He is absolutely beloved in the city of Brotherly Love. For college athletics, obviously I pay close attention to Temple. (Yes, football too) Even before I stepped foot on Temple's campus for the 1st time in 2005, I was a fan. Oh the good old days of John Chaney! Some other tidbits about myself, I love cheesesteaks, I hydrate myself with Welch's Grape Juice and Snapple. I love the HBO show Entourage. Also, when is Kenny Powers making his much anticipated return in Eastbound and Down!

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In response to “MLB Power Rankings: Charlie Manuel and the Best Managers in Baseball”

  1. Christopher Rowe Jun 14 201111:58 pm


    Quite the undertaking… some surprises on this list but I like that you offer reasoning and qualification for the rankings!!!!

    1. Adrian Fedkiw Jun 15 201110:47 pm


      This wasn’t an easy list to make, I flip-flopped with a lot of managers on this list.

      Who would be your top 5?

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