Major League Baseball Managers

By Don Weiskopf

Walter Alston, Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers Manager

Walter Alston was a rugged, quiet-spoken former school-teacher who became one of baseball's most successful managers. He lead the Dodgers, first in Brooklyn and then in Los Angeles, to seven pennants and four world championships. Alston retired at the end of the 1976 season after 23 years.

Walter Alston

In 1959 after moving to California, the Los Angeles Dodgers won their first pennant and World Series victory. In all his 23 years as the team's on-field leader, Alston managed on a series of one-year contracts.

Alston was always flexible. He had the ability to adapt his style and strategy to the gifts and abilities of his players. When he had power with Roy Campanella, Duke Snider and Gil Hodges, Alston managed a power game. When he had speed with Maury Wills, he played small ball and stole bases. Alston was one of the first managers to go to a five-man pitching rotation.

He was a superb technician and was always able to reduce the most complicated techniques and strategies into the simplest terms, and always in a "quiet way."

When asked to sum up his views on managing, Alston replied, "Look at misfortune the same way you look at success. Don't panic. Do your best and forget the consequences."

Dick Williams, who played for Alston and managed many major league teams, said, "Walter was the envy of all managers. He was a man enough to prove himself on the job year after year."

Monty Basgall, who was the Dodgers' infield coach in 1973, said, "When I became a member of the Alston's coaching staff, the first thing I noticed about Walter was how well he ran a ball game. He never missed anything that was going on. He was always two innings ahead of everybody else with his strategy. He never panicked, and he had great patience."

Alston had the benefit of a club owner with the courage and good sense to take the long view. It would have been easy for the Dodgers' owner Walter O'Malley to fire Alston after eighth and seventh-place finishes in 1967 and '68. When asked to explain Alston's survival qualities, O'Malley replied, "Walter is non-irritating. Do you realize how important it is to have a manager who doesn't irritate you?"

The record indicates Alston had many other leadership qualities, too, and just as important, he received the opportunity to use them. The firing rate for managers today suggests that O'Malley's long view was a lot more productive than the win-or-you're gone style of today.

Alston retired with 2,063 wins. He was named National League Manager of the Year six times. He also managed NL All-Star squads a record nine times and won seven of those games. At a time when multi-year contracts were on the rise, Alston's managerial career consisted of 23 one-year contracts. He earned seven National League pennants in that span.

The Dodgers retired Alston's number 24 the year after he stepped down as manager. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983. MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth referred to Alston as one of baseball's greatest managers.

Hall of Fame broadcaster Vin Scully, who announced Dodgers games for many decades, said, "Walter was all man and two yards tall. He was very quiet and very controlled. He never made excuses. He gave the players the credit and he took the blame. He was so solid, so American."

Contributing to this story were Phil Elderkin, The Christian Science Monitor; and The Sporting News. Photograph from Los Angeles Dodgers. Photograph by Don Weiskopf



Casey Stengel, New York Yankees Manager

In 1949, Casey Stengel received a phone call from Yankees Hall of Fame owner George Weiss to manage a team loaded with talent. Featuring stars like Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, Phil Rizzuto and a young Mickey Mantle, Stengel's Yankees found immediate success and became the first team to win five consecutive World Series championships from 1949-1953.

Casey Stengel

Stengel's fifty-four years in baseball spanned everything from the Dead Ball Era to Mantle and Roger Maris' booming home runs. Through it all, Stengel's colorful personality and instantly quotable remarks made him one of baseball's most beloved characters.

While his team hogged the baseball spotlight, Stengel took the opportunity to expand his repertoire of odd sayings that would later be affectionately dubbed 'Stengelese.' His famous sayings included everything from the obvious ("You got to get twenty-seven outs to win") to the head-scratchers ("There comes a time in every man's life, and I've had plenty of them").

The Yankees fired Stengel following a loss in the 1960 World Series, citing Stengel's advancing age. Two years later, Stengel returned to the Big Apple to manage the expansion Mets and captured the hearts of New Yorkers all over again.

Celebrated as baseball's lovable losers, the Mets lost 404 games in Stengel's three and a half years at the helm, prompting the old skipper to ask, "Can't anybody here play this game?"

Stengel finally retired in 1965 with seven World Series titles, tied with fellow Yankees manager Joe McCarthy for the most all-time. A year later, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.

"It is fashionable to say that successful people, in any field, could have been whatever they wanted," wrote Mickey Herskowitz in the Houston Post. "But you could not picture Casey Stengel being anything else but what he was, the greatest showman baseball ever knew."

"Casey knew his baseball," said Sparky Anderson, who managed the Cincinnati Reds to many World Series titles. "He only made it look like he was fooling around. He knew every move that was ever invented and some that we haven't even caught on to yet."

Stengel's first full major league season as a player began in 1913 as the first Brooklyn player to bat, and subsequently homer, at Ebbets Field. After nine big league seasons in Brooklyn, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, Stengel was traded to the New York Giants midway through the 1921 season. The young player was already gaining attention for his zany antics on the diamond.

"Stengel is a dandy ballplayer, but it's all from the neck down," remarked scout Mike Kahoe.

The Kansas City native found a home at the Polo Grounds when he became Hall of Fame manager John McGraw's protege and unofficial assistant coach. From 1922-23, Stengel hit .355 as a platoon outfielder with the Giants and homered in Game 1 of the 1923 World Series.

Stengel hit another home run in Game 3 and thumbed his nose at the New York Yankees bench while rounding third base. Baseball commissioner Kennesaw Mountain Landis was in attendance that day and promptly fined Stengel for his antics.

"Casey Stengel just can't help being Casey Stengel," said Landis.

Contributing to this story was the National Baseball Hall of Fame; Photograph from the National Pastime Museum



Al Lopez, Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox Manager

Al Lopez was one of baseball's most prominent managers of the 1950's. He once held the major league record for most games played as a catcher --- 1,918 in 19 seasons. But he is best remembered for managing the 1954 Cleveland Indians and the 1959 Chicago White Sox to American League pennants in an era when the Yankees dominated baseball. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977.

Al Lopez

Lopez managed the 1954 Indians to a league-record 111 victories and the 1959 White Sox to their first pennant victory since 1919, the year of the Black Sox World Series fix. Lopez's teams won 1,422 games and lost 1,026 in 17 seasons for a winning percentage of .581. His hometown honored him in the 1950s, naming the Tampa ballpark Al Lopez Field.

Lopez was a low-key type, his Spanish heritage and his persona leading him to be known in the press as a caballero, or a gentleman.

"He was very fair," said Jim Rivera, an outfielder for the 1959 White Sox. "If you did something good, he would compliment you. If you struck out or made an error, he wouldn't say a word as long as you hustled and worked hard."

Alfonso Ramon Lopez was born August 20, 1908, in Tampa, Florida, a son of immigrants from Spain who went to Cuba, then settled in Tampa's Spanish-speaking Ybor City section. At age 16, Lopez quit school to play for the Tampa Smokers of the Florida State League.

Lopez made his debut in the majors with Brooklyn at the end of the 1928 season and soon gained a reputation as a savvy handler of pitchers. He was a two-time National League All-Star and twice hit more than .300 as a regular. He had a career batting average of .261, playing for the Dodgers, the Braves, Pirates and Indians.

He began his managing career with Indianapolis of the American Association in 1948, then succeeded Lou Boudreau as manager of the Indians in 1951.

Stengel's Yankees won the American League pennant every season from 1949 through 1964 except for the times when Lopez's Indians and White Sox took the title. After his Indians finished second from 1951 to 1953, Lopez beat out the Yankees with a superb pitching rotation led by Bob Lemon, Early Wynn and Mike Garcia. Lopez then left the Indians to manage the White Sox.

Lopez's White Sox teams finished second to the Yankees in 1957 and 1958. But in 1959, Lopez topped the Yankees with the Go-Go Sox, who relied on speed and fine fielding, sparked by the future Hall of Fame infielders Luis Aparacio and Nellie Fox.

Lopez was a patient manager who adapted to players, stressing pitching and power with the Indians, speed and defense with the White Sox. "This man knows the game, inside and out," Stengel once said of Lopez. But Stengel, remembering the years when he managed Lopez, couldn't resist wisecracking: "And why shouldn't he? Didn't he work for me 10 years or so?"

Contributing to this story was Richard Goldstein of The New York Times. Photograph by Don Weiskopf



Earl Weaver, Baltimore Orioles Manager

Earl Weaver always was up for an argument, especially with an umpire. At the slightest provocation, the 5-foot-6 manager of the Baltimore Orioles would spin his hat back, point his finger squarely at an ump's chest and then fire away.

Earl Weaver

Weaver was among the most successful skippers of his era. In 17 seasons with Baltimore, the Orioles won the American League East title six times, the AL pennant four times, and the World Series once. He assembled a team that had outstanding pitching, sharp fielding, and good hitting. His .583 winning percentage ranks fifth among managers who served 10 or more seasons in the 20th century.

"Earl was a terrific manager," said Orioles vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. "The simplicity and clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball was unmatched. He left a terrific legacy of winning baseball with the Orioles. Earl has a legacy that will live on."

He finished with a 1,480-1,060 record, and won Manager of the Year three times.

Weaver came to the Orioles as a first base coach in 1968. He took over as manager on July 11 and went on to become the most winning manager in the history of the franchise.

He didn't like the sacrifice bunt. Weaver preferred to wait for a three-run homer rather than manufacture a run with a stolen base or a bunt. While some baseball purists argued that strategy, no one could dispute the results. "If you play for one run, that's all you'll get," he said. "Don't play for one run unless you know that run will win a ballgame."

Hall of Fame shortstop Cal Ripken said, "His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can't and won't be forgotten."

Weaver was a great judge of human character, which was one of the reasons why he was loved by a vast majority of his players even though he often rode them hard from spring training into October.

Weaver was beloved in Baltimore and remained an Oriole to the end. The feisty manager entered the Hall of Fame in 1996. Weaver was a brilliant manager, but he never made it to the major leagues as a player. He finally quit after spending 13 years as a second baseman in the St. Louis Cardinals organization.

Orioles owner Peter Angelos said, "Earl Weaver stands along as the greatest manager of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball. Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field.

Bud Selig, former commissioner of Major League Baseball, said, "Earl was well known for being one of the game's most colorful characters with a memorable wit, but he was also amongst its most loyal."

Contributing to this story was Willie Weinbaum of ESPN.com and The Associated Press. Photograph by Bill Zeltman, Baltimore Orioles.



Ralph Houk, Yankees Manager and Battlefield Hero

Ralph Houk managed the powerhouse New York Yankees of the early 1960s led by Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle to two World Series championships. Houk also managed the Detroit Tigers and the Boston Red Sox in a managerial career that spanned three decades.

Ralph Houk

Houk's strong point was building the morale and confidence of his players with an optimistic outlook. He refused to criticize them publicly. "I don't think you can humiliate a player and expect him to perform well," said Houk.

A Kansas native, Houk was born on August 9, 1919, the son of a farmer. He was a star athlete in high school, then was signed by the Yankees as a catcher in 1939. After playing in the minors for three seasons, Houk enlisted in the Army as a private and received a lieutenant's commission after attending officer candidate school.

Houk had displayed his courage as an armored corps officer in World War II, winning the Silver Star. He took part in the invasion of Normandy in June 1944, and the Battle of the Bulge that December. Upon returning to baseball, Houk was known as the Major, a tribute to his commanding presence, whatever the uniform.

In his first game with the Yankees, on April 26, 1947, Houk got three hits against the Washington Senators, and he went on to hit .272 in 41 games. That was his best season. With Yogi Berra en route to the Hall of Fame as the Yankees' catcher, Houk appeared in only 91 games. He spent most of his time in the bullpen.

After the Yankees lost the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Stengel was forced out, at age 70, in favor of Houk. Houk made his debut as manager in an epic season: Roger Maris hit 61 home runs to break Babe Ruth's record.

When he became manager of the Yankees in October 1960, Houk stepped into a pressure-filled situation. He was replacing a man who had won 10 pennants and 7 World Series. Houk was known as the Major, a tribute to his commanding presence, whatever the uniform. "There's only one Casey Stengel," he said. "I'm Ralph Houk."

Houk had been the manager of the Yankees' top minor league team, the Denver Bears of the American Association. During the three years at Denver (1955-57), he managed such future Yankees as Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, Don Larsen and Johnny Blanchard. "Ralph had the Yankees' winning attitude," said Kubek. "He had all the qualities that make a special manager."

Managing for 20 seasons, Houk's strong point was building the morale and confidence of his players with an optimistic outlook and a refusal to criticize them publicly. "I don't think you can humiliate a player and expect him to perform," he said.

His players never forgot that Houk was in command. As Kubek put it in his remembrance of the 1961 season: None of us questioned Ralph. He was the Major."

The Associated Press, Richard Goldstein and Richard Sandomir of The New York Times contributed to this story. Photograph by Don Weiskopf



Bobby Bragan, Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves Manager

Bobby Bragan was born with baseball in his blood. He was involved with baseball in some form for nine decades. In a career dating back to 1937, Bragan was a player, coach, and manager at both the Major League and Minor League levels. He was a front office executive for two Major League teams and served seven years as president of the Texas League.

Bobby

During his playing days, Bragan was a shortstop and back-up catcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers. In the 1947 World Series, Bragan hit a pinch-hit double but the Yankees beat the Dodgers 4 games to 3. During seven seasons in the majors (1940-1948), Bragan compiled a career .251 batting average. Branch Rickey, the Dodgers' general manager, liked Bragan's dedication, and he obtained him in a trade. Later, Bragan became one of the most unique and colorful managers in professional baseball. His teams were always competitive.

Bragan was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, and began his professional baseball career in the Alabama-Florida League with Panama City in 1937. In 1942, the team needed catching help due to injuries and military call-ups, and Bragan offered to learn the job.

As the player-manager of the Fort Worth Cats, Bragan's 1948 and '49 teams won the regular season title in the Texas League. His best year with the Cats as a player came in 1949 when he batted .295, along with seven homers and 60 RBI.

When Hank Peters cut short his term in office as the sixth president of the National Association of Baseball Leagues to become general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, friends and fellow baseball executives began urging Bragan to run for the job. He was elected to a three-year term (1976-1978) at the Baseball Winter Meetings in Hollywood, Florida in December of 1975.

"Having spent seven years as president of the Texas League," said Bragan, "I was very aware of the problems that the clubs and leagues were having. I really enjoyed the responsibility of working with the umpires, keeping discipline and talking about their problems. However, I didn't like all the administrative work."

During the 1970s and 1980s, Bragan worked as the Texas Rangers' community director of public relations for the team's speaker's bureau. The Rangers lauded Bragan's "unmatched legacy." In 1992, he wrote his autobiography "You Can't Hit the Ball with the Bat on Your Shoulder: The Life and Times of Bobby Bragan." It chronicled many of the highlights of his baseball career.

In 2005, Bragan, at 87 leading the Fort Worth Cats, earned the distinction as the oldest manager of a professional baseball game.

From 1992 until his death, Bragan served as the CEO/chairman of the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation which provides college scholarships to students in Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas.

Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner issued the following statement regarding the passing of Bragan: "Bobby Bragan had a long and distinguished career in baseball. He served our game in multiple capacities, including as Minor League Baseball President from 1976-78. Bobby was one of the more colorful characters in baseball and he will be sorely missed."

"Our heartfelt sympathies go out to the Bragan family, especially Peter Sr., Mary Frances and Peter Jr. who own and operate the Jacksonville Suns."

Contributions from The Associated Press, and Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation. Photograph by Don Weiskopf



Alvin Dark, San Francisco Giants and Oakland A's Manager

Alvin Dark was the All-Star shortstop and captain of the New York Giants' pennant-winning teams in the 1950s. He went on to manage the team to a pennant in San Francisco. Dark played in three World Series, with the Boston Braves in 1948 and with the Giants in 1951 and 1954.

Alvin Dark

In the 1954 World Series, highlighted by Willie Mays' famed over-the-head catch, Dark hit .412 as the Giants swept the Cleveland Indians. He was the National League's rookie of the year in 1948, when he hit .322 and helped the Braves win the franchise's first pennant in 34 years.

In 1951, Dark was team captain when the Giants trailed the Brooklyn Dodgers 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth inning in the deciding Game 3 of their National League pennant playoff. Dark hit a leadoff single against Don Newcombe, and Bobby Thomson capped the comeback at the Polo Grounds with a home run that became known as "The Shot heard 'Round the World" for a 5-4 victory.

He was an All-Star three times as a Giant, had a career batting average of .289 with 2,089 hits in 14 seasons, and led National League shortstops in double plays three times. He teamed with second baseman Eddie Stanky to form one of the finest middle-infield combinations of their era.

Dark was "the cement that holds the ball club together," said Manager Leo Durocher in 1954, just before the Giants clinched the pennant. He managed the Giants to the 1962 pennant in their fifth year in San Francisco, and he managed the Oakland Athletics to the World Series championship 12 years later.

"Alvin was a true Giant and was a part of our rich history in the 1950s and 1960s," said San Francisco CEO Larry Baer.

Dark was born in Comanche, Oklahoma, on January 7, 1922. He grew up in Lake Charles, Louisiana, and went to Louisiana State University, where he played baseball and basketball and starred in football as a triple-threat back.

After serving as a Marine officer during World War II, Dark was signed by the Braves for a $50,000 bonus. Dark and Stanly were traded to the Giants after the 1949 season in a deal that allowed manager Leo Durocher to reshape his team by giving up power hitters in exchange for scrappy versatile players.

At shortstop, Dark lacked quickness and range but compensated by positioning himself skillfully. As a right-handed batter, he liked to punch the ball to the opposite field.

Dark was an All-Star for the third time in four seasons when the Giants won the 1954 pennant, and he batted .422 in their World Series sweep of the Cleveland Indians. He remained with the Giants until June 1956, when he was traded to St. Louis. He played for the Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies and the Milwaukee Braves, then retired after the 1960 season.

Dark was hired by Charles O. Finley to manage his Kansas City Athletics in 1966. He was fired after two seasons, managed the Cleveland Indians for three and a half years, and was hired by Finley again. He managed Finley's team, which had become the Oakland A's, to a World Series title in 1974 and a divisional title in 1975 before Finley fired him a second time. He managed the San Diego Padres in 1977.

"Alvin was a true baseball man who will always hold a prominent place in our history, both in Kansas City and Oakland," the Athletics said in a statement.

Contributing to this story were Richard Goldstein of The New York Times; and Janie McCauley, The Associated Press. Photograph by Don Weiskopf



Danny Murtaugh, Pittsburgh Pirates Manager

Danny Murtaugh led the Pittsburgh Pirates to two World Series championships in 1960 and 1971. He was one of the most beloved and successful figures in the storied history of the Pittsburgh Pirates. The former second baseman managed Pittsburgh to five Eastern Division crowns over parts of 15 seasons and four stints with the Pirates from 1957 to 1976.

Danny Murtaugh

During the course of his career as the Pirates skipper, the Pirates accumulated at least 90 victories on five different occasions. Murtaugh finished his managerial career with a record of 1,115-950, which ranks second in the long history of the Pirates behind Fred Clarke's 1,602 victories from 1900-1915. Murtaugh's .540 winning percentage ranks higher than eight other managers currently enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Murtaugh died on December 2, 1976, after leading the Pirates to a 92-70 record earlier in the year. One year later in 1977, he became just the fourth person in Pirates history to have his number retired, joining Billy Meyer and Hall-of-Famers Pie Traynor and Roberto Clemente to have the ultimate team honor.

His limited skills (he had a career batting average of .254) and his small size (5 feet 9 inches, 170 pounds) were combined with a gritty desire that enabled him to last in the major leagues as a player for 767 games, mostly as a second baseman, from 1941 to 1951, with time out for a brief service during World War II.

Having been dismissed in two successive years as a minor league manager, Murtaugh got the chance to head the National league's seventh place Pirates late in the 1957 season as an "interim" manager. The following year he led the Pirates to second place in an eight-team league and was named the manager of the year, an honor he was to gain two more times.

Even during the peak periods of his career, Murtaugh never became overly enthusiastic about his team or himself. With good humor, he recalled stories that ended with him on the verge of disaster.

Murtaugh made the major leagues with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1941. He led the National League in stolen bases, with 18, but was in the Army by 1944. When World War II ended, Murtaugh was back in baseball, having survived a German sniper attack from a farmhouse in Czechoslovakia.

The Phillies soon traded him to the Boston Braves, and then he was shipped to Pittsburgh, where his playing career ended in 1951. Murtaugh asked Branch Rickey, the general manager, for a job managing in the minors, and Rickey gave him one.

He returned to the Pirates as the manager, beginning a remarkable, topsy-turvy association with the club. In 1960, Murtaugh led the Pirates to their first World Series triumph in 35 years, as his squad defeated the Yankees in seven games. Again he was named baseball's top manager. Just four years later, however, Murtaugh stepped down after a heart attack. He remained with the team, and in 1967, he had recovered sufficiently to replace Harry Walker in the middle of the season.

Murtaugh went back to the front office for 1968 and 1969, but the managerial post became vacant again in 1970. He asked for the job, and got it. The Pirates gave the New York Mets a season long battle, and in seven critical games down the stretch defeated the Mets six times to capture the Eastern Division title. Murtaugh received the manager-of-the-year honor again, although his Pirates lost to the Cincinnati Reds in the National League pennant playoff.

The Pirates won the division title under Murtaugh in 1974 and 1975 but lost in the league playoffs both times. Then, in 1976, they slipped to second, and Murtaugh announced his retirement a few days before his 59th birthday.

Contributing to this story were The Associated Press; and The New York Times. Photograph by Pinterest.



Dusty Baker, Washington Nationals Manager

In his first season as their manager, Dusty Baker led the Washington Nationals to a 95-67 record and the National League East Division title. Baker's steady hand guided the Nationals back to the playoffs in 2016.

Dusty Baker

For the third time in five seasons, Baker was a finalist for the National League Manager of the Year Award. The Nationals coasted to the NL East Division crown while enduring a few key injuries and a disappointing year by Bryce Harper, the 2015 Most Valuable Player.

While his peers have increasingly leaned on advanced metrics in baseball, Baker, at 67 the second oldest manager in baseball, remains an unapologetic baseball purist. He doesn't believe bullpen usage requires a revolutionary overall. Although he frequently cites RBI, Baker often goes with his gut.

But Baker's most vital imprint was made off the diamond. His cheerfulness, communication skills and cool demeanor were welcomed in the Nationals' clubhouse after Matt Williams' aloofness had worn thin. The players credited Baker for creating a relaxed atmosphere and letting them play.

Many believe that Baker played an integral part in the first ever high five, which occurred between Baker and Dodgers teammate Glenn Burke on October 2, 1977, at Dodger Stadium, a story featured in the ESPN 30 for 30 documentary "The High Five" directed by Michael Jacobs.

It was the last day of the regular season, and Baker, the Dodgers leftfielder, had just gone deep off the Astros' J.R. Richard. It was Baker's 30th home run, making the Dodgers the first team in history to have four sluggers -- Baker, Ron Cey, Steve Garvey, and Reggie Smith -- with at least 30 homers each. It was a wild, triumphant moment and a good omen as the Dodgers headed to the playoffs.

Burke, waiting on deck, thrust his hand enthusiastically over his head to greet his friend at the plate. Baker, not knowing what to do, smacked it. "His hand was up in the air, and he was arching way back", says Baker. "So I reached up and hit his hand. It seemed like the thing to do."

Baker's current contract runs through the 2017 season, the second of a two-year deal he signed in November of 2015. The Nationals are expected to give Baker an extension before Opening Day.

Baker's coaching career started as a first base coach for the San Francisco Giants in 1988, and then he spent the following four year (1989-1992) as the Giants' hitting coach and finally became the manager in 1993, replacing the departing Roger Craig.

In his very first year as Giants manager, Baker won the National League Manager of the Year award, leading the team to a 103-59 record.

Baker's Giants went on to win division titles in 1997 and again in 2000. He won Manager of the Year honors in both of those years as well. It was during Baker's San Francisco tenure that the term "Dustiny" was coined by former Giants pitcher Rod Beck.

Baker made a major impact with the Cubs in his first season as manager for the ball club. With the help of an impressive pitching staff and big gun batters such as Sammy Sosa and Moises Alou, the Cubs were able to claim their first division title in 15 years.

On November 3, 2015, Baker was named the new manager for the Washington Nationals for the 2016 season. At the time of his hiring, he was the only black manager in Major League Baseball (now second with the Dodgers hiring of Dave Roberts. The Nationals would win the NL East in Baker's first season, but lose in the NLDS against the Dodgers.

Contributions by Jorge Castillo, The Washington Post; and Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photograph by Getty Images



Roger Craig, San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres Manager

A successful pitcher with the Brooklyn Dodgers, Roger Craig has had a long career as a pitching coach and a manager. From 1986 to 1992, Craig was the manager of the San Francisco Giants. In Craig's first five full seasons with the Giants (1986-90), they never finished with a losing record.

Roger Craig

Prior to coming to San Francisco, Craig served as a pitching coach for the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers. As manager of the San Diego Padres from 1978-79. he became one of baseball's top pitching coaches, with a knack for teaching the split-finger fastball to his pitchers.

Under Craig, the Giants won the National League Western Division title in 1987. The Giants' divisional title in 1987 came just two years after they had lost 100 games. San Francisco came within one game of going to the World Series that year, but lost to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.

In 1989, the Giants won their first National League pennant since 1962 by defeating the Chicago Cubs in five games in the National League Championship Series. Craig's Giants were swept by the Oakland Athletics in the World Series, which was interrupted by an earthquake.

In his first full year as the Giants' manager, Craig made "Hum Baby" the baseball phrase of 1986. A player he liked was a "hum baby." A good play was a "hum baby of a play". One could merely exhort "hum baby" from the dugout in lieu of a "let's go". The potential uses were infinite.

Craig stepped down from the Giants in 1992 after compiling a 72-90 record. His successor, Dusty Baker, won 103 games the following year and won the 1993 National League Manager of the Year Award. Craig finished with a managerial record of 738 wins and 737 losses.

After leaving San Diego, he was the Detroit Tigers pitching coach from 1980 to 1984, leaving after the team won the 1984 World Series. Craig took over as manager of the Giants in late 1985 and remained with them through the 1992 season, leading the club to the 1989 World Series.

During his 12-year pitching career, Craig won 10 or more games in 1956, 1957, and 1962. A master at throwing the split-finger fastball, Craig started his career with the Brooklyn Dodgers, and closed out his career with the Philadelphia Phillies. He was the starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game One of the 1959 World Series, a series in which he also started Game Four.

Craig was also the starting pitcher for one game apiece in the 1955 and 1956 World Series with the Brooklyn Dodgers. He also pitched in relief in two World Series games for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1964, winning one game. Craig's overall World Series record was two wins and two losses, and his teams won three of the four series.

Craig was perhaps best known after that as a player for being an original 1962-63 New York Met, and for losing the first game in team history. During those two seasons, Craig pitched 27 complete games, while winning a total of only 15, demonstrating that he was one of the best pitchers on the staff.

Contributing to this story was Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photograph by Brad Mangin.



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