Friday, January 7, 2011

Baseball's Managerial Trees

It was over a month ago that we started taking an in-depth look at managerial trees.  We've heard much about the NFL coaching trees of Bill Walsh, Bill Parcells, Chuck Noll, and even Marty Schottenheimer.  For a while, I've thought it funny that baseball is influenced by tradition more than any other major sport, yet managerial trees are almost never discussed.

The reason it's taken so long to share with our faithful readers is that we could never really find the best way to present the information we were uncovering.

At first, I wanted to create and share managerial trees from some of the most classic managers in baseball history.  Below are the first five managers that I wanted to analyze to create managerial trees:

"Hi, I'm Ned Hanlon."
Harry Wright
Cap Anson
Connie Mack
Ned Hanlon
Walter Alston

That didn't work at all.  Why?  For example, we started looking at Ned Hanlon.  He managed quite a few influential future managers, like Kid Gleason, Wilbert Robinson, Hughie Jennings, and John McGraw.  Each of those managers has his own exhaustive managerial branch to this tree.  Instead of telling you how complicated this could be, let me show you just Casey Stengel's branches from John McGraw's portion of Ned Hanlon's managerial tree.

Ned Hanlon
- John McGraw
                - Casey Stengel
                               - Billy Martin
                                               - Charlie Manuel
                                                               - Ron Washington
                                                               - Ron Gardenhire
                                               - Jim Fregosi
                                                               - Don Baylor
                                                               - Ozzie Guillen
                                               - Mike Hargrove
                                               - Lou Piniella
                                                               - Willie Randolph
                                                               - Don Mattingly
                                                               - Joel Skinner
                                                               - Bob Geren
                                               - Willie Randolph
                                               - Jerry Narron
                                               - Jim Essian
                                                               - Joe Girardi
                                               - Davey Lopes
                                               - Don Baylor
                                               - Joel Skinner
                                               - Don Mattingly
                                               - Bob Geren

Keep in mind, Hanlon managed at least four more players who would become Major League managers.  From the names listed above, John McGraw, Casey Stengel, even Jim Fregosi, managed several more future managers, who in turn also managed their own disciples.  I don't know about your neighborhood, but in my neighborhood, that is nothing but a big cluster clump of tangled and overlapping regimes.

Instead of scrapping the project, I decided that a neat (yeah, I wrote 'neat') way to look at this would be to look at current MLB managers and figure which managerial tree(s) they belong to.  With that information, we should be able to figure which manager from 40, or 60, or 100 years ago has the most influence on today's game.  And away we go...

Baltimore Orioles
Buck Showalter (1,773 games managed, .517 W%)
Okay, let's see.  Showalter was a left-handed 5'9" catcher who spent seven years in the Yankees farm system.  Who were his more influential managers?

George Costanza could be a
part of Ned Hanlon's lineage.
It looks like Stump Merrill.  He spent 6 years in the Phillies minor leagues before coaching.  Who taught Stump how to be a professional?  He was first-base coach when Yogi Berra managed the Yanks, so I guess that probably puts him in the branch of Casey Stengel and Ned Hanlon (above).  Maybe that's too much of a leap.  Let's get educated on Stump Merrill's minor league managers.  Oh, man...

... on second thought...

This is really taking a long time and, for crying out loud, Stump Merrill's minor league playing career just got involved.  Hate to do this to everyone, but the wait should be worth it...


1 comment:

  1. r u sure this is going to be worth the wait? seems kind of boring. next time do a feature on siblings and family members that have played baseball or any professional sport and see what they've done differently that has enabled them to succeed.