Top 10 Great Managers Who Were Terrible Players

Vance PennCorrespondent INovember 11, 2011

Top 10 Great Managers Who Were Terrible Players

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    With a few keystrokes you can find the best or worst to ever play the game or manage a MLB team. But you won't find the Top 10 Worst MLB Players Who Became Great Managers anywhere else on the Internet. 

    Every fan has an opinion and there are all time worst and all time best lists offered by authors literally everywhere on the Internet. As fans we celebrate the successes of players, managers and teams we devotedly follow while at the same time reveling in the failures of the players, managers, and teams we dislike.

    After consulting a number of lists of the worst players to every play big league baseball I realized that a number of them had gone on to have great careers as managers, and in a case or two as a team executive. 

    Through exhaustive, well maybe not exhaustive but tiring, research I was able to evaluate the lists of worst players and best managers cross-referencing the two to come to a decision.

    My evaluation of players was based on the following analysis. 1) low batting average for hitters and low win total for pitchers, 2) low on base percentage for hitters and high ERA for pitchers, and lastly 3) being known as a colossal moron, drunk, drug addict, or dirty player.

    Once I established the worst players who would go on to become managers it was time to evaluate them on that side of the equation. 1) total number of wins as a big league manager, 2) played at least one season in the major leagues and 3) having won at least one World Series. 

    The list as you can well imagine is distinguished for its failing as much as it's successes.

Honorable Mention No. 2: Jim Leyland

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    Jim Leyland was born December 15, 1944 in Perrysburg, Ohio. 

    The reason Leyland doesn't make our list is because he never played in the major leagues. That's the only thing keeping him out though. 

    As a player Leyland was bad. His inability to hit for average or power and being slow of foot likely kept him from breaking into the big leagues.

    Leyland's managing career has been a model of stability and success, winning a World Series and having success with several teams.

    Player: 0 Seasons, Minor League Stats: 7 Seasons, 1,221 AB, .222 BA, .261 OBP, 4 HR, 53 RBI, 2 SB

    Manager: 20 Seasons, 1,588 W, 2 Pennants, 1 World Series

Honorable Mention No. 1: Billy Beane

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    Billy Beane was born on March 29, 1962, in Orlando, Florida. Beane was 22 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 13, 1984, with the New York Mets

    Billy Beane doesn't place make the Top 10 on our list because he isn't a manager. Even though he is a General Manager we have to have some principles, right?

    Beane fits all the other criteria, however. He couldn't hit, had no power, and couldn't steal bases. All the makings of a member of our Top 10.

    As an executive Beane has been extremely successful. Many would say that his use of statistics in scouting changed the world of baseball forever. So much so that a book about it, "Moneyball" was recently made into a movie by the same name.

    Player: 6 Seasons, 301 AB, .219 BA, 3 HR, 29 RBI, 5 SB

    Executive: 10 Seasons, 0 Pennants, 0 World Series

No. 10: Ozzie Guillen

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    Ozzie Guillen was born on Jan. 20, 1964 in Ocumare del Tuy, Miranda, Venezuela. Guillen was 21 years old when he first played with the Chicago White Sox on April 9, 1985.

    Before you start screeching about Ozzie's Gold Glove, three All Star appearances, and Rookie of the Year award hear me out.

    Even though Ozzie won several awards, the aforementioned Gold Glove, Rookie of the Year award, and All Star appearances, he was a bad hitter. Additionally, even though his stolen base numbers would lead you to think he was proficient in that category Guillen was caught stealing nearly 40 percent of the time. Ozzie made his last All-Star appearance was at age 27, playing another nine seasons without doing much of anything, at all.

    As a manager Guillen won a World Series in his first, and to date only, appearance. 

    Player: 16 seasons, 6,686 AB, .264 BA, .287 OBP, 28 HR, 619 RBI, 169 SB

    Manager: 8 seasons, 678 W, 1 Pennant, 1 World Series

    Guillen lands in the 10 spot because of his number of wins as a manager.

No. 9: Charlie Comiskey

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    Charlie Comiskey was born on August 15, 1869 in Chicago, Illinois and broke into the major leagues with the St. Louis Brown Stockings on May 2, 1882.

    Comiskey is on this list not only because of his ineptitude in the field, but because for most of his career he was his own manager. Rather than putting in a player who could really play our boy Charlie instead penciled in his own name year after year.

    He's known for being a cheap owner. That cheapness was one of the primary causes of the 1919 Black Sox scandal that nearly brought down the entire sport. So we have Charlie to thank for that.

    Player: 13 seasons, 5,823 AB, .267 BA, .296 OBP, 29 HR, 883 RBI, 419 SB

    Manager: 12 seasons, 841 W, 4 Pennants, 1 World Series

    Comiskey lands in the 9 spot because based on his number of wins.

No. 8: Charlie Manuel

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    Charlie Manuel was born on January 4, 1944, in Northfork, West Virginia. Manuel was 25 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 8, 1969, with the Minnesota Twins.

    And breaking is a pretty accurate way to describe what Charlie did in the big leagues because whatever checks he was cashing was pure stealing. He sure didn't do anything to earn them. Manuel couldn't hit, couldn't run, and didn't have power. 

    As a manager Charlie has been referred to a a player's manager. His support and patience was rewarded with a World Series title in 2008.

    Player: 6 Seasons, 384 AB, .198 BA, .273 OBP, 4 HR, 43 RBI, 1 SB

    Manager: 10 Seasons, 866 W, 2 Pennants, 1 World Series

    Manuel moves to the No. 8 spot based on total number of wins.

No. 7: Billy Martin

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    Billy Martin was born on May 16, 1928, in Berkeley, California. Martin was 21 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 18, 1950, with the New York Yankees.

    Martin, almost from the beginning, was well known as what is in baseball terms referred to as a "horse's ass". Not only was Billy a bad player, he was actually traded because he was such a bad influence on good players, namely Mickey Mantle and Whitey Ford.

    As a manager Martin was a fierce competitor who wasn't afraid to beat you with the rule book as well as the bat, right George Brett?

    Player: 11 Seasons, 3,419 AB, .257 BA, .300 OBP, 64 HR, 333 RBI, 34 SB

    Manager: 16 Seasons, 1,253 W, 2 Pennants, 1 World Series

    Martin slides to the No. 7 spot because of his number of wins.

No. 6: Bobby Cox

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    Bobby Cox was born on May 21, 1941, in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Cox was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 14, 1968, with the New York Yankees. 

    Cox spent two seasons with the Yankees and failed to show any promise. His hitting was abysmal and his lack of power couldn't cover up his poor hitting.

    As a manager Bobby Cox was a fiery competitor. Holding the record for ejections by a manager, Cox was the consummate player's manager ready to defend his players at every turn and argue any call.

    Player: 2 Seasons, 628 AB, .225 BA, 9 HR, 58 RBI, 3 SB

    Manager: 29 Seasons, 2,504 W, 5 Pennants, 1 World Series 

    Cox is No. 6 on the list based on his number of wins.

No. 5: Tommy Lasorda

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    Tommy Lasorda was born on September 22, 1927, in Norristown, Pennsylvania. Lasorda was 26 years old when he broke into the big leagues on August 5, 1954, with the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    Lasorda didn't make much of an impression as a pitcher for the Dodgers. He didn't get wins, he didn't get strike outs, and he didn't keep the opponent from scoring. That said his career lasted three season which is longer than a lot of better players.

    Tommy made his mark as a manager through equal parts timing, going to the World Series in his first two full seasons and personality. Tommy is always quotable and willing to talk to fans as well as media.

    Player: 3 Seasons, 26 G, 0 W, 1 SV, 6.48 ERA

    Manager: 21 Seasons, 1,599 W, 4 Pennants, 2 World Series

    Lasorda is No. 5 based on his number of World Series titles.

No. 4: Sparky Anderson

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    Sparky Anderson was born on February 22, 1934, in Bridgewater, South Dakota. Anderson was 25 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 10, 1959, with the Philadelphia Phillies.

    George didn't have a long career in the big leagues. One season to be exact. He didn't hit well, didn't get on base, didn't have power, and didn't steal bases. That all adds up to trouble if you're looking for a long term career.

    Luckily for Anderson he found his calling as a manager. He became the first manager to win a World Series in both leagues.

    Player: 1 Season, 477 AB, .218 BA, .282 OBP, 0 HR, 34 RBI, 6 SB

    Manager: 26 Seasons, 2,194 W, 5 Pennants, 3 World Series

    Anderson moves to the four spot because of his number of World Series titles.

No. 3: Tony La Russa

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    Tony La Russa was born on Oct. 4, 1944, in Tampa, Florida. La Russa was 18 years old when he broke into the big leagues on May 10, 1963, with the Kansas City Athletics.

    La Russa spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues. All quite unremarkable. Early on Tony's claim to fame was passing the Florida Bar in 1979, becoming just the fifth manager in baseball history to become an attorney.

    As a manager La Russa is just the third manager to win a World Series in both leagues. Known as a master of the game, Tony is always thinking and planning his next move.

    Player: 6 Seasons, 176 AB, .199 BA, 0 HR, 7 RBI, 0 SB

    Manager: 33 Seasons, 2,728 W, 6 Pennants, 3 World Series

    La Russa earns the three spot based on his number of World Series titles and total wins.

No. 2: Walter Alston

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    Walter Alston was born on December 1, 1911 in Venice, Ohio. Alston was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 27, 1936, with the St. Louis Cardinals

    In his one season with the Cardinals Alston played in exactly one inning and had one at bat. In the field he had two chances at 1B and made one error. Unremarkable to say the least.

    As a manager Walter was quite the opposite. He led the Dodgers, first Brookly then Los Angeles to four World Series titles amassing 2,040 wins along the way.

    Player: 1 Season, 1 AB, .000 BA, .000 OBP, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB

    Manager: 23 Seasons, 2,040 W, 7 Pennants, 4 World Series

    Alston is in the two slot based on his number of World Series titles.

No. 1: Joe McCarthy

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    Joe McCarthy was born on Christmas Day, December 25, 1881 in Syracuse, New York. McCarthy was 23 years old when he broke into the big leagues on September 27, 1905, with the New York Highlanders.

    McCarthy didn't show much in his two seasons with the Highlanders, particularly from the plate. In fact virtually everything about Joe's career as a player was exactly that, unremarkable.

    As a manager McCarthy really shined, although he is often disparaged and called a "push button" manager. Of course when you have players like Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, and Ted Williams pushing buttons sounds like the smart thing to do.

    Player: 2 Seasons, 39 AB, .231 BA, .268 OBP, 0 HR, 2 RBI, 0 SB

    Manager: 24 Seasons, 2,149 W, 9 Pennants, 7 World Series

    McCarthy is No. 1 because of his number of World Series titles. Who could argue with that?