MLB: The Advice Pete Rose, Earl Weaver and Sparky Anderson Gave to Lou Piniella

Harold FriendChief Writer IAugust 18, 2011

Lou Piniella
Lou PiniellaAl Bello/Getty Images

Pete Rose said it best.

Lou Piniella was starting his first season as the New York Yankees manager. He had never managed before, except for five games in Cleveland in 1985 when he filled in for an ailing Billy Martin.

Pete Rose, like Piniella in 1986, had become a big league manager without having managed in the Minors. Rose thought that managing in the American League was a great advantage for a novice.

Sparky Anderson had spoken to Rose before the deserving future Hall of Famer took over the Cincinnati Reds in 1984.

“If you’re going to become a manager for the first time, without experience, the American League is the place to do it.

“You don’t have double switches, you don’t have many pinch-hitters, you don’t have many defensive changes and you don’t have many pitching changes. It’s not a checkerboard game. There’s less going on.”

Rose was generally on target, but remember, this was 1986, well before the age of pitching specialization.

Earl Weaver, who is considered one of the better managers in the history of the game, piloted only one World Championship team (1970 Baltimore Orioles).

Weaver wasn’t certain that experience was a prerequisite to being successful, but it usually helped. He firmly believed that selecting the right players and then making the right decisions based on their strengths and weaknesses was the key.

The sometimes hotheaded Weaver advised Piniella to avoid losing his temper.

“You don’t want to be a hothead and paint yourself into a corner. There are many ways to handle any one situation, and the more you are in those situations the better you are going to be at it.”

Rose was Piniella’s model. He pointed out that Rose had been second in the voting for National League Manager of the Year in 1985 and that he was a playing-manager.

Piniella understood his challenge quite well.

“Managing is a people business. If you can get along with people, if you have a knowledge of the game, if you’re willing to listen and learn, there’s no reason why that’s a prerequisite [managing experience] for the job.”

Catfish Hunter thought that the older Yankees might try to take advantage of their former teammate. Hunter advised Piniella not to allow anyone to get away with anything because if it happened once, it would happen again.

Rose thought that Pineilla would be successful, but he added one cautionary note. He thought that if Pineilla were going to have any problems at all, they would be related to how he handled his temper and how he reacted to the umpires.

Kansas City coach Mike Ferraro, who knew Piniella from their days in New York together, half-jokingly said that he thought Pinella might be ejected 30 times his first season.

The 1986 Yankees won 90 games under Pineilla, finishing five-and-a-half games behind the ill-fated Boston Red Sox.

Mr. Steinbrenner fired Piniella during the 1988 season, but he still loved him.



"For Lou Piniella, Finally, the Challenge Is His Alone." (1986, Feb 23). New York Times (1923-Current File), pp. S1. Retrieved from