Joe Girardi and the 10 Managers Who Don't Get Enough Credit

Bill Ford@billfordwritesCorrespondent IIIMarch 27, 2012

Joe Girardi and the 10 Managers Who Don't Get Enough Credit

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    Major League Baseball has been filled with a cast of characters throughout the years. Many players retire, but they just can't stay away from baseball for too long. Often enough, they end up managing in the major leagues.

    Some managers are blessed with the privilege of managing a team in a large market which attracts a great deal of attention nationwide. Some managers end up with a team in a small market with a small fan base.

    The success or failure of a team often leads to praise or blame on the manager, whether or not that success or failure had anything to do with the manager's abilities. A smaller-market team may not have enough financial power to fund high-caliber players, which could lead to a dismal season.

    The blame must land somewhere, and all managers realize that their shoulders are the landing ground for that blame.

    Many managers never receive the credit that the deserve. They have a multitude of jobs and responsibilities as managers, and the level of difficulty to bring everything together into one, cohesive unit can be immeasurable.

    Take a look at some managers who don't seem to get enough credit.

Joe Girardi

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    New York Yankees manager Joe Girardi is well known, and is fortunate enough to be in a position to manage the most famous team in baseball in the most famous city.

    Girardi signed on to manage the Yankees on Oct. 30, 2007, and won his first game with New York on April 1, 2008 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

    His first season with the Yankees in 2008 was the first time since 1993 that they had not reached the postseason.

    The 2009 season brought great changes as he led the Yankees to their 40th AL pennant, and led them to their 27th World Series championship.

    Analysts predicted that the Yankees would end the 2011 season behind the Red Sox. The Yankees had not made any significant moves, and they sustained many player injuries.

    Girardi led them to win the AL East anyway.

    Rob Parker of ESPN said that he thought that Girardi should be named American League Manager of the Year for 2011, but he believed that he would not win the award because of an anti-New York bias.

    Yankee fans adore Girardi, but with much of the baseball world being against the Yankees calling them the "evil empire," he doesn't get much credit for such a strong team.

    He is one of the greatest Yankee leaders in a long time.

Buck Showalter

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    Buck Showalter signed on to manage the Baltimore Orioles on July 29, 2010. Before managing the Orioles, he managed the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Rangers.

    Showalter became the Yankees manager in 1992 and stayed with New York for four seasons.

    Over his four years in New York, he recorded a win-loss record of 313-268 and was named the American League Manager of the Year in 1994.

    In 1995 he was named the manager of the AL All-Star team.

    The Yankees won the AL Wild Card in 1995, leading them into the postseason for the first time since 1981.

    Showalter left the Yankees after the 1995 season, and they went on to win the World Series in 1996.

    Joe Torre certainly deserved a great deal of credit, but it was Showalter who helped to develop the team over four years, which led them into a great 1996 season.

    A similar situation occurred after he left the Diamondbacks and they won the World Series the next year.

    When people think of a highly-successful team, they rarely think of a manager like Showalter. That is unfortunate.

Billy Martin

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    Billy Martin was quite colorful as a manager for the Yankees.

    He was well known for his on-field temper tantrum performances toward umpires, kicking dirt at their feet.

    Martin was also well known for taking losing teams and turning them into winning teams with great success.

    He had a habit for getting himself suspended for fights—not only with umpires, but with players. His public arguments with Reggie Jackson could get highly animated.

    Martin managed the Yankees six different times from 1975 to 1977, and parts of 1978, 1979, 1983, 1985 and 1988.

    He helped the Yankees to win the World Series and multiple division championships.

    Martin brought a great deal of success to the Yankees, but when his name is mentioned as a manager, everyone seems to remember his on-field antics getting into fights with umpires and players.

    He deserves more credit and recognition for his accomplishments.

Dick Howser

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    Dick Howser's time as a manager with the Yankees was short-lived, but he had quite an effect on the team.

    Making his managerial debut with the Yankees in 1978, he actually only managed one game in 1978 between Billy Martin's and Bob Lemon's tenure.

    He returned as the manager in 1980 and led the Yankees to win the AL East division championship.

    Owner George Steinbrenner had a reputation as being very controlling, and Howser refused to give in to him.

    Steinbrenner did not allow facial hair on the players, and Reggie Jackson would defy that rule. Howser did not believe that enforcing Steinbrenner's rule was necessary, so he never forced Jackson to shave.

    Jackson must have respected Howser for standing his ground, because he shaved off his facial hair out of respect.

    If Steinbrenner interrupted a meeting by calling Howser, he would say, "I'm busy!" and hang up the phone on Steinbrenner, not allowing him to push him around.

    Steinbrenner eventually fired Howser after Game 2 of the 1980 ALCS. Steinbrenner wanted third base coach Mike Ferraro fired on the spot for what he perceived to be a bad mistake waving Willie Randolph home, only to see Randolph gunned down at the plate.

    Howser refused to follow Steinbrenner's direction and would not fire Ferraro, which led to his termination.

Yogi Berra

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    Yogi Berra managed the Yankees in 1964, and then again from 1984 to 1985,

    Berra is well remembered for being an 18-time All-Star, a 13-time World Series champion and a three-time AL MVP.

    He was hired as the Yankees manager after the 1963 World Series. In the following season in 1964, he led the Yankees to the World Series, although they lost to the Cardinals in seven games.

    Berra was fired after the loss by general manager Ralph Houk, who believed that Berra lost control over the team.

    He became a coach for the Mets for eight seasons, and eventually became the team manager.

    Berra was hired once again to manage the Yankees in 1984. He stayed on to manage the Yankees in 1985 and was assured that he would not be fired again.

    Steinbrenner, known for demanding immediate results, fired Berra after only 16 games in 1985, causing great harm to their relationship for 15 years.

    Berra is one of only six managers who have led teams in both the American League and the National League to the World Series. He has appeared in 21 World Series as a player, a coach and as a manager.

    Known for his sayings, my favorite would have to be when he said, "I really didn't say everything I said."

Bob Lemon

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    Bob Lemon managed three teams after a good career playing for the Cleveland Indians.

    He managed the Royals, the White Sox and the Yankees. After posting a record of 34-40 in 1977 with Chicago, he was fired by owner Bill Veeck. A few weeks later, he was hired by the Yankees to replace Billy Martin.

    During the 1978 Old Timer's Day, it was announced that Lemon would be moved to general manager in 1980 and that Martin would be hired again as the team manager.

    Lemon led the Yankees in 1978 to win the pennant, catching up to the Red Sox and beating them in a four-game series. The Yankees had been down 14 games in July, but they were even with Boston after the four-game series known as the Boston Massacre.

    The Yankees would go on to beat the Red Sox and win the AL East in 1978 in a one-game playoff, famous for Bucky Dent's three-run home run and Reggie Jackson's home run that won the game.

    Lemon led the Yankees to win the World Series.

    Lemon's son died during the offseason in 1979, and many believe that he was distracted by that trauma. The Yankees struggled during the first half of the 1979 season, and Steinbrenner fired him.

    Once again, Steinbrenner rehired Lemon in 1981 and lost in the World Series against the Dodgers. Within a few weeks of the 1982 season, Steinbrenner fired him again.

    Lemon probably would have had greater success as a Yankee skipper if Steinbrenner had been more reasonable. Steinbrenner wanted instant and constant success, and wasn't happy with managers unless the Yankees won by a blowout.

Ozzie Guillén

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    The focus so far has been on Yankees managers over the years who haven't received the credit that they deserved, but there are many managers league-wide who also deserve more credit than they receive.

    Ozzie Guillen is actually one of my favorite managers, even though my heart and soul are all Yankees.

    His energy and personality bring life to the game and to his team. He motivates his players with humor, which, believe it or not, has a huge effect on the team.

    Guillen brought the White Sox their first pennant since 1959, and their first World Series since 1917.

    The Baseball Writers Association of America voted him Manager of the Year in 2005.

    Guillen won his 500th game by defeating the Red Sox 12-2 on Sept. 4, 2009.

    With all of his accomplishments, people seem to only remember him for his controversies. He stated publicly that he believes that the list from the 2003 steroids controversy should be made public.

    Guillen is well-known for his outbursts on the field toward umpires, and fans will remember him kicking a catcher's mask while in a rage against the home plate umpire last year.

    Many people seem to forget his accomplishments when his name is mentioned. People tend to remember the controversies and don't realize the incredible contributions that he has had.

    Whether you love him or hate him for his personality, there is no denying his talent as a manager.

Grady Little

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    Boston Red Son fans have had some pretty strong and harsh words for Grady Little.

    He managed the Red Sox in 2002 and 2003.

    Boston players deeply respected him, and he was popular among players because he was known to be very supportive toward players who were struggling.

    In his short time with Boston, he was very successful and won 188 games in two seasons.

    In an unfortunate turn of events for Little, he will only be remembered for his decision in the 2003 ALCS against the Yankees to  allow Pedro Martinez to continue to pitch.

    Boston had a 5-2 lead in the eighth inning. Jorge Posada hit a two-run double, and Derek Jeter scored a run.

    Little had plenty of relief pitchers ready to go, but he had confidence in Martinez to finish the job.

    The Yankees won the game in the 11th inning, leading them to the World Series.

    Little received the blame for the loss, but everyone seemed to forget that he led the Red Sox to the ALCS all year long.

    Grady took a great deal of heat for his decision, but he should be respected for the incredible season that the Red Sox had in 2003.

Manny Acta

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    Cleveland Indians manager Manny Acta has made quite a name for himself, and fairly quickly.

    Acta played professional baseball in the Houston Astros' minor league system, but never made it to the major leagues as a player.

    Known to have analytical talent, the Astros eventually sent him to train as a scout.

    Acta was hired by the Washington Nationals in 2006 based on his youth and enthusiasm, as well as his knowledge of sabermetrics.

    He had a positive influence on the players and earned votes for NL Manager of the Year.

    The Indians hired Acta on Oct. 25, 2009. The Tribe struggled during his first year, but showed improvement in his second season and spent some time in first place.

    During the offseason this year, Acta has developed a strong and solid team that will likely be highly competitive.

    He deserves more credit for many reasons, and he has developed a highly-talented ballclub for 2012.

Joe Maddon

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    Joe Maddon was a minor-league catcher who never made it beyond Single-A. In the minors, his home run high was three in 1977.

    At different levels, he served in the Angels organization for 31 years.

    In 2004, he was in the lead as a candidate for the job as the manager for the Boston Red Sox. Terry Francona eventually won that role.

    Maddon was hired by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays Nov. 15, 2005, and in 2008 led them to their first AL East Division title.

    Leading the Rays to their first World Series, he helped them to beat the Red Sox in the ALCS. They eventually lost the World Series to the Phillies.

    Maddon turned the team around from the worst record in MLB in 2007 to an appearance in the World Series the next year in 2008.

    Due to that success, he won the AL Manager of the Year Award.

    In 2011, the Rays had a 0-6 start to the season and a nine-game deficit in the wild card race. Maddon led the Rays to their second postseason appearance despite those setbacks.

    For the second time in his career, he was named AL Manager of the Year and was signed to a three-year extension.

    He is well-known for his hair style and his thick-rimmed glasses, but most people don't seem to be aware of all of his success.