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The resumes of the playoff managers

10.10.12 at 12:56 pm ET

At a time when the Red Sox have a managerial vacancy to fill, it’s worth examining the resumes of the eight managers who are currently working in the postseason. In particular, it is interesting to examine what each manager had done in his career prior to being put in charge of his current club.

The array of experiences is diverse: One never managed at all and one had never been to the playoffs. However, four of the eight managers had gotten to the World Series at least once. Six had managed teams to the postseason. Still, it’s worth noting that four of the eight managers were coming off what could be viewed as failed managerial runs — Joe Girardi (Marlins, one year), Davey Johnson (Dodgers, two years), Jim Leyland (Rockies, one year) and Buck Showalter (Rangers, four years) all failed to make the playoffs in the stint preceding their current managing gigs.

Of particular note from the Red Sox’ vantage point, as the team explores whether it might be able to get John Farrell from the Blue Jays: Bruce Bochy represents a manager who was allowed to move, in the middle of his contract, from the Padres to the Giants without any compensation.


19 seasons
1,581-1,432 (.525 winning percentage)
5 first-place division finishes
6 playoff appearances
0 World Series championships
1 NL pennant (2002, Giants)
8 sub-.500 seasons

Before the Reds: Baker was a three-time NL Manager of the Year with the Giants. He enjoyed eight straight winning seasons with the Giants and Cubs from 1997-2004, but in his last two years in Chicago, the Cubs went 145-179. He spent the 2007 season as an ESPN analyst.


18 seasons
1,454-1,444 (.502 winning percentage)
6 first-place division finishes
6 playoff appearances
1 World Series championship (2010, Giants)
2 NL pennants (1998, Padres; 2010, Giants)
9 sub-.500 seasons

Before the Giants: Bochy managed for a dozen years in San Diego, with his team winning the NL West four times and advancing to the World Series against the Yankees in 1998. The team was summarily swept in the Fall Classic. Bochy had a 951-975 record with the Padres, and was named NL Manager of the Year in 1996.

Notable: With one year left on his contract, Bochy was allowed by the Padres to leave and join the Giants. The Padres did not ask for any compensation.

“The way we have to look at it here, if this is something Bruce wants to pursue, and he wants to be there more than he wants to be here, if that is where his heart is, and this is what he wants to do at this stage of his career, then change is inevitable. You rarely see a Bobby Cox situation where somebody lasts in one place that many year,” former Padres GM Kevin Towers told the San Francisco Chronicle at the time. “Maybe Boch looks at this as a new challenge. Maybe this is a time in his career he wants a challenge. From our standpoint, we can’t be hanging our heads. We allowed him this opportunity. If he decides to be the Giants’ manager, we can’t tuck our heads under our tails and say the Padres have no chance.”


6 seasons
557-415 (.573 winning percentage)
3 first-place division finishes
4 playoff appearances
1 World Series (2009, Yankees)
1 AL pennant (2009, Yankees)
1 sub-.500 season

Before the Yankees: Girardi was a one-and-done manager with the Marlins, going 78-84 and finishing in fourth place in 2006. However, Florida enjoyed a surprising run that kept the team in postseason contention, and while the Marlins fired him for what the team described as an inability to mesh with the team’s organizational structure, he was named the Manager of the Year in the National League. After the Marlins fired him, Girardi spent 2007 as an analyst during Yankees broadcasts on the YES Network.

Notable: Girardi declined an offer to manage the Orioles in June 2007.


16 seasons
1,286-995 (.564)
6 first-place finishes
7 playoff appearances
1 World Series (1986, Mets)
1 pennant (1986, Mets)
4 sub-.500 seasons (though three of those came in partial seasons — after joining teams mid-way through the year, he twice suffered sub-.500 records; he also had a sub-.500 record in a year when he was fired by the Mets with a 20-22 record)

Before the Nationals: In 13 full seasons as a manager, Johnson has never finishes in worse than third place. In fact, his teams have finishes in first or second place in 12 of his 13 full years as a manager. Still, he was fired by the Mets, Reds and Dodgers and resigned from the Orioles after the 1997 season (after which he was named AL Manager of the Year). He spent 10 full years without a big league managing job from 2001-10 before being named interim manager of the Nats last season, after Jim Riggelman quit. … Johnson’s .564 winning percentage is 12th all time among managers with at least 10 seasons of experience. Each of the 11 managers with higher winning percentages is in the Hall of Fame.


21 seasons
1,676-1,659 (.503 winning percentage)
5 first-place finishes
7 playoff appearances
1 World Series championship (1997, Marlins)
2 pennants (1997, Marlins; 2006, Tigers)
10 sub-.500 season

Before the Tigers: Leyland forged his reputation in helping the Pirates to three straight division titles in the early-1990s, then broke through with a title in his first year as the manager of the Marlins in 1997. However, few remember his last managerial job before he joined the Tigers in 2006.

After the Marlins had a post-World Series fire sale that resulted in a woeful 54-108 season, Leyland opted out of the final three years of his contract, saying that he wanted one last shot at managing a winner. He elected to join the Rockies, who went 72-90 in 1999; after that one-and-done season, Leyland quit with two years remaining on his three-year deal. He spent the next six years out of the game before resurfacing with the Tigers in 2006.

Notable: He’s never been fired from a managing job in any of his four cities, instead having chosen to leave while still under contract three times. … He left the Marlins just before John Henry came on board as the Marlins owner after the 2008 season. … Leyland was offered the job of Red Sox manager in 1996 before he opted to take an offer from the Rockies.


1 season
88-74 (.543)
0 first-place finishes
1 playoff appearance
0 World Series
0 pennants
0 sub-.500 seasons

Before the Cardinals: Matheny, as documented at length, had never managed at any level prior to landing the gig at the helm of the Cardinals. Still, he’d been a roving instructor and special assistant to the front office from 2008-11. (In that vein, it is worth noting that former Red Sox catcher Jason Varitek was recently hired to a similar role by the Red Sox.) Still, prior to the hirings of Matheny and Robin Ventura by the White Sox last November, there were few instances in recent memory of big league managers who had never had a full-time coaching job at any professional level.


9 seasons
634-628 (.502)
2 first-place division finishes
2 playoff appearances
0 World Series
0 pennants
5 sub-.500 seasons

Before the A’s: Melvin was named NL Manager of the Year in 2007, when he oversaw a young Diamondbacks team that made a surprising run to the NLCS. After his firing in the middle of the 2009 season, he rejoined the Diamondbacks as a special advisor to CEO/president Derrick Hall. Melvin joined the Athletics last year as the team’s interim manager after Oakland fired Bob Geren.


14 seasons
1,078-1,018 (.514 winning percentage)
2 first-place division finishes (one came in the strike-shortened 1994 season)
3 playoff appearances
0 World Series
0 pennants
6 sub-.500 seasons

Before the Orioles: Showalter guided the Yankees through their early-1990s turnaround and was the manager in 1995 when the team made its first postseason appearance since 1981, but he was fired when New York lost in the Division Series to the Mariners. One year later, the Yankees won their first World Series since 1978 under Joe Torre. He helped build the expansion Diamondbacks from scratch, got the team to the playoffs in their second season and then was fired after his third year. He had a playoffs-free stint as manager of the Rangers for four years before being fired after the 2006 season. He spent more than three years as an ESPN analyst until the Orioles hired him in the middle of the 2010 season. He’s never won a playoff series as a manager.

Read More: bob melvin, bruce bochy, Buck Showalter, Davey Johnson
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