Best Baseball Managers of All Time
Baseball teams need talented players to win games, but someone has to manage that talent. So who are the greatest baseball managers of all time and what makes them stand out?
The finest managers cover many areas. Some managers put up unbelievable numbers that will be hard to break. Other managers earned their way to the top with how they handle players and mold them together into winners. Others were dealt some bad hands, but they made the best with what they had.
These managers led many of baseball's greatest teams while others had to pick up the pieces and turn struggling franchises into playoff contenders. Yes, statistics are important, but managerial greatness is not based on stats alone.
These are the best managers in Major League Baseball history.
Note: Win-loss records for active managers are updated through April 10, 2019.
50. Harry Wright
Experience: 23 years (1871-93)
Teams: Boston Red Stockings, Boston Red Caps, Providence Grays, Philadelphia Quakers/Phillies
Record: 1,225–885-35 (.581)
Pennants: 6 (1872, 1873, 1874, 1875, 1877, 1878)
World Series titles: 0
Harry Wright was one of the pioneers of professional baseball, both as a player and a manager, with the National Association and the National League. His teams won six league championships and finished second three times.
Wright’s contributions were more than just victories and titles as a manager. On the field, he was credited for having infielders back up on plays from the outfield and shifting players on defense to match opponents’ hitting tendencies.
He also introduced baseball as a profession, paying players as much as seven times more than average workers' pay.
49. Bill Terry
Experience: 10 years (1932-41)
Teams: New York Giants
Record: 823–661-12 (.555)
Pennants: 3 (1933, 1936, 1937)
World Series titles: 1 (1933)
Bill Terry had a great career as a player, but after he took over for the legendary John McGraw late in the 1932 season, he held his own as manager of the New York Giants. In his first full season as manager — and playing a big role as a player — he led the Giants to the 1933 World Series title.
Terry’s last season of playing was in 1936 as the Giants made back-to-back appearances in the World Series in 1936 and 1937, only to lose to the New York Yankees both times.
He was regarded as a manager who always was thinking ahead.
48. Lou Boudreau
Experience: 16 years (1942-50, 1952-57, 1960)
Teams: Cleveland Indians, Boston Red Sox, Kansas City Athletics, Chicago Cubs
Record: 1,162–1,224-18 (.487)
Pennant: 1 (1948)
World Series titles: 1 (1948)
For what Lou Boudreau did in 1948 alone should put him on this list. Not only did he win the American League Most Valuable Player award as a player, but as manager, he led the Cleveland Indians to only their second world championship.
How is that for an accomplishment?
Bourdreau posted an overall winning record with the Indians (728-649, .529), but had his struggles with three other teams, including the Kansas City Athletics, which he managed from 1955 to 1957 after the team departed Philadelphia.
47. Wilbert Robinson
Experience: 19 years (1902, 1914-31)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles , Brooklyn Robins
Record: 1,399–1,398-21 (.500)
Pennants: 2 (1916, 1920)
World Series titles: 0
Known as "Uncle Robbie" during his Brooklyn days, Wilbert Robinson spent 18 years with a team that had many team names, including the Dodgers, Bridegrooms and Superbas.
The name Robins came in honor of their longtime manager. In those days, spending that amount of time on a team with Brooklyn’s history was quite a feat.
Robinson was known for spotting good pitchers, which kept Brooklyn in many games. He led the team to two National League pennants, but Brooklyn always found a way to break its fans' hearts with bad defense and failing in the clutch.
46. Alvin Dark
Experience: 13 years (1961-64, 1966-71, 1974-75, 1977)
Teams: San Francisco Giants, Kansas City Athletics, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres
Record: 994–954-2 (.510)
Pennants: 2 (1962, 1974)
World Series titles: 1 (1974)
After a stellar playing career, Alvin Dark proved he could put great players together and make them winners on the field. His managerial ability was on display in his second season with the San Francisco Giants, reaching the World Series with the likes of Willie Mays, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal.
Dark had brief stints throughout his career, but most seasons his teams were in contention. He returned to the World Series as champs in 1974 in his second tour with the Athletics, this time in Oakland, behind the play of Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter and Rollie Fingers, among others.
45. Frank Selee
Experience: 16 years (1890-1905)
Teams: Boston Beaneaters, Chicago Orphans/Cubs
Record: 1,284–862-34 (.598)
Pennants: 5 (1891, 1892, 1893, 1897, 1898)
World Series titles: 0
Frank Selee’s secret to success was his uncanny nature to spot talent that was overlooked by his rivals, and they paid the price. With the Boston Beaneaters, Selee led them to five National League pennants, including a three-peat from 1891 to 1893.
He moved over to the Chicago Orphans in 1902 and didn’t have the success he had in Boston, but he did lay the groundwork for future successful seasons for the team later known as the Cubs.
44. Charlie Comiskey
Experience: 12 years (1883-94)
Teams: St. Louis Browns, Chicago Pirates, Cincinnati Reds
Record: 839-540-29 (.608)
Pennants: 4 (1885, 1886, 1887, 1888)
World Series titles: 1 (1886)
At age 24, Charlie Comiskey was offered the job as manager of the St. Louis Browns of the American Association, and he promptly won four straight pennants, including a playoff win over the National League’s Chicago White Stockings in 1886 that then was considered the "world championship."
Comiskey’s managerial career was short and sweet.
He is better known as the longtime founding owner of the Chicago White Sox, with the team’s stadium at one point named after him. However, Comiskey always has carried a stain on his record due to the infamous Black Sox Scandal.
43. Cap Anson
Experience: 21 years (1875, 1879-98)
Teams: Philadelphia Athletics, Chicago White Stockings/Colts, New York Giants
Record: 1,295–947-46 (.578)
Pennants: 5 (1880, 1881, 1882, 1885, 1886)
World Series titles: 0
Cap Anson was one of the greatest player-manager’s of all time. In addition to being one of baseball’s first great hitters, he also was innovative and successful as a manager, which led to winning five pennants. He spent most of his time with the Chicago franchise that eventually became the Cubs.
Anson was the first manager to use a third-base coach, have fielders back up each other, signal batters and start a pitching rotation.
However, Anson also was known for his role during racial times. Often, he would not send his team on the field if the opposition had a black player, and he influenced a key vote that brought segregation to professional baseball in 1887.
42. Charlie Grimm
Experience: 19 years (1932-38, 1944-49, 1952-56, 1960)
Teams: Chicago Cubs, Boston/Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs
Record: 1,287–1,067-14 (.547)
Pennants: 3 (1932, 1935, 1945)
World Series titles: 0
Known as a good left-handed banjo player, Charlie Grimm found most of his success early in his managerial career with the Chicago Cubs.
In 1932, Rogers Hornsby was fired as manager, and Grimm made his managerial debut, taking over the Cubs with 55 games to go. He carried a 37-18 record down the stretch, and the Cubs reached the World Series. They were swept by the Yankees.
In 1935, Grimm brought the Cubs back to the World Series after winning 100 games, but came up short again. His Cubs teams didn’t return to the Fall Classic until 1945.
Grimm recorded 945 wins with the Cubs, second in franchise history.
41. Ned Hanlon
Experience: 19 years (1889-1907)
Teams: Pittsburgh Alleghenys, Pittsburgh Burghers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Baltimore Orioles, Brooklyn Superbas, Cincinnati Reds
Record: 1,313–1,164-53 (.530)
Pennants: 5 (1894, 1895, 1896, 1899, 1900)
World Series titles: 0
Some people refer to Ned Hanlon as the "Father of Modern Baseball" due to his innovative style of field managing. Hanlon is credited with inventing the "inside baseball" strategy and the hit-and-run play during his stint with the Baltimore Orioles.
Hanlon had a remarkable run with the Orioles and Brooklyn Superbas, where he produced a record of 635-315 over seven years, with a winning percentage of .668. Overall, his teams won five National League pennants before the World Series was created.
Also of note, Hanlon managed three of the greatest managers of all time when they were players: Connie Mack, John McGraw and Miller Huggins.
40. Al Lopez
Experience: 18 years (1951-65, 1968-69)
Teams: Cleveland Indians, Chicago White Sox
Record: 1,410–1,004-11 (.584)
Pennants: 2 (1954, 1959)
World Series titles: 0
Al Lopez managed to hold his own against the dominant New York Yankees of the 1950s as he piloted the Cleveland Indians and Chicago White Sox to some competitive campaigns. His winning percentage is fourth best in Major League Baseball history for those who have appeared in 2,000-plus games.
In fact, Lopez’s 1954 Indians and 1959 White Sox teams successfully interrupted the Yankees’ run of American League pennants. Remarkably, over his 18 seasons as manager, Lopez’s squads never had a losing record.
39. Chuck Tanner
Experience: 19 years (1970-88)
Teams: Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Pittsburgh Pirates, Atlanta Braves
Record: 1,352–1,381-5 (.495)
Pennants: 1 (1979)
World Series titles: 1 (1979)
Chuck Tanner was a confident and optimistic manager, and this approach led to some successful seasons. Of his stints with four teams, Tanner found his most success with the Pittsburgh Pirates — after the Oakland Athletics traded Tanner to the Pirates for Manny Sanguillén and $100,000 in 1976.
Tanner reached the pinnacle in 1979 with his only World Series title. The Pirates players voted Sister Sledge’s "We Are Family" as the team song and used their chemistry and talent to drive past the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series after being down three games to one.
38. Ron Gardenhire
Experience: 14 years (2002-14, 2018-present)
Teams: Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers
Record: 1,140–1,141 (.500)
World Series titles: 0
Ron Gardenhire had an impressive run as manager of the Minnesota Twins. In his tenure, Gardenhire produced some great Twins teams for the regular season, winning the division title six times.
But he could never get his teams to the World Series. In fact, Gardenhire is the only manager in Major League Baseball history to reach the playoffs six times and not reach the World Series. In 2014, the Twins fired Gardenhire.
In 2018, he was named manager of the Detroit Tigers and got off to a struggling start. Time will tell if Gardenhire can find the success he had with the Twins — and maybe take a step further in postseason.
37. Joe Girardi
Experience: 11 years (2006, 2008-17)
Teams: Florida Marlins, New York Yankees
Record: 988–794 (.554)
Pennants: 1 (2009)
World Series titles: 1 (2009)
After a good playing career, Joe Girardi got off to a start unlike any manager. The former catcher was manager of the Florida Marlins in 2006, was named National League Manager of the Year and was fired at the end of the season.
He joined the Yankees as manager two years later, and success came rather quickly. After a subpar first season, Girardi turned the Yankees in a playoff contender. His Yankee squads reached the postseason six times, including winning the World Series in 2009.
Girardi’s contract was not renewed after the Yankees lost the 2017 ALCS to the Houston Astros.
36. Charlie Manuel
Experience: 12 years (2000-02, 2005-13)
Teams: Cleveland Indians, Philadelphia Phillies
Record: 1,000–826 (.548)
Pennants: 2 (2008, 2009)
World Series titles: 1 (2008)
Charlie Manuel had a lengthy career as a minor league manager, before he got his chance in the bigs with the Cleveland Indians. He led the Indians to a American League Central Division title in 2001, but a contract dispute ended his tenure after the 2002 season.
Manuel joined the Philadelphia Phillies in a front-office role. In 2005, he took over as manager and turned the Phillies into a playoff contender. At one stretch, the Phillies won four consecutive division titles, and Manuel was the only manager in Phillies history to reach the World Series in two consecutive years.
In 2008, he was the toast of Philadelphia as the Phillies won their second world championship in team history.
35. Davey Johnson
Experience: 17 years (1984-90, 1993-97, 1999-2000, 2011-13)
Teams: New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Dodgers, Washington Nationals
Record: 1,372–1,071-2 (.562)
Pennants: 1 (1986)
World Series titles: 1 (1986)
Davey Johnson had a solid major league career as a player with four teams, then held his own as a manager with five different teams. His best season came in 1986 when he led the New York Mets to the World Series championship.
Beside the Mets, Johnson also led the Baltimore Orioles and Cincinnati Reds to their respective League Championship Series. In 2012, he piloted the Washington Nationals in 2012 to their first division title since 1981.
He also was named Manager of the Year in both leagues.
34. Cito Gaston
Experience: 12 years(1989-97, 2008-10)
Teams: Toronto Blue Jays
Record: 894–837 (.516)
Pennants: 2 (1992, 1993)
World Series titles: 2 (1992, 1993)
Cito Gaston brought success to the Toronto Blue Jays franchise by being a player’s manager. Players responded to his laid-back leadership style, and the Blue Jays were a perennial powerhouse under Gaston.
He won four American League East Division titles, two American League pennants and two World Series titles, becoming the first African-American manager to win a World Series title.
That success also carried over to the fans, as the Blue Jays were among MLB's leaders in attendance during Gaston’s tenure.
33. Tom Kelly
Experience: 16 years (1986-2001)
Teams: Minnesota Twins
Record: 1,140-1,244 (.478)
Pennants: 2 (1987, 1991)
World Series titles: 2 (1987, 1991)
Tom Kelly is arguably the best manager in Minnesota Twins franchise history. With some of the best players the Twins have had, including Kirby Puckett and Kent Hrbek, Kelly led the Twins to their first World Series championships since the franchise moved to Minnesota, winning in 1987 and 1991.
Notably, the 1991 World Series against the Atlanta Braves was voted by ESPN the greatest World Series ever played, led by Jack Morris’ Game 7 performance, where he pitched 10 scoreless innings before the Twins won.
After that, Kelly found himself in constant rebuilding mode until he left for a front-office position after the 2001 season.
32. Clark Griffith
Experience: 20 years (1901-20)
Teams: Chicago White Stockings, New York Highlanders, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Senators
Record: 1,491–1,367-59 (.522)
Pennants: 1 (1901)
World Series titles: 0
Clark Griffith’s career victories rank 25th all-time in major league history, and those victories were important for the American League. Griffith was part of the team that formed the American League, and he convinced a number of National League players to jump ship.
That’s when Griffith took over as manager of the New York Highlanders, and it was critical for him to deliver wins in the nation’s biggest city for the AL to have any future. And Griffith came through.
After a brief stint with the Cincinnati Reds, Griffith came back to the AL with the Washington Senators. However, unlike any other manager on the list, Griffith and a partner bought 40 percent of the Senators and eventually became the team’s majority owner in 1920. He remained there until his death in 1955.
31. Frank Chance
Experience: 11 years (1905-14, 1923)
Teams: Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox
Record: 946–648-26 (.593)
Pennants: 4 (1906 1907, 1908, 1910)
World Series titles: 2 (1907, 1908)
Frank Chance was one of the most successful player-managers in history. His best years as a manager were with the Chicago Cubs, where he won back-to-back World Series titles in 1907 and 1908, the only world championships the Cubs won until 2016.
As a player, Chance was part of the Cubs’ famed infield with Joe Tinker and Johnny Evers, and were immortalized known as Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance for their knack of turning double plays.
Chance’s .664 managerial winning percentage with the Cubs is still the best in franchise history.
Chance also was a player-manager with the New York Yankees and later managed the Boston Red Sox for one season. In 1924, he signed to become manager of the Chicago White Sox, but he fell ill before he took over the team and died later that year.
30. Billy Southworth
Experience: 13 years (1929, 1940-51)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Braves
Record: 1,044–704-22 (.597)
Pennants: 4 (1942, 1943, 1944, 1948)
World Series titles: 2 (1942, 1944)
Billy Southworth was a solid player in his days, but his on-again, off-again managerial career produced some notable winners. He won three pennants and two World Series titles in his second stint with the St. Louis Cardinals, and he had another playoff appearance with the Boston Braves, the last time a Boston team would win the National League pennant.
With the Cardinals, Southworth produced a .642 winning percentage, which was the highest in franchise history since 1900, and he carries the fifth-highest winning percentage of all time.
He later became a scout for the Braves and signed future Hall of Famer Hank Aaron.
29. Buck Showalter
Experience: 20 years (1992-95, 1998-2000, 2003-06, 2010-18)
Teams: New York Yankees, Arizona Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles
Record: 1,551–1,517 (.506)
World Series titles: 0
Buck Showalter has the reputation of turning bad teams into playoff contenders in a short period of time. In 1994, he led the Yankees from worst to first in the American League East, only to be stopped by a players strike. With the Diamondbacks, Showalter led them to postseason in only their second year of existence.
While he hasn’t reached the World Series, Showalter was named American League Manager of the Year three times, and he reached postseason five times.
At the end of the 2018 season, Showalter’s contract with the Orioles was not renewed.
28. Dusty Baker
Experience: 22 years (1993-2006, 2008-13, 2016-17)
Teams: San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Washington Nationals
Record: 1,863–1,636-1 (.532)
Pennants: 1 (2002)
World Series titles: 0
After a 19-year playing career with the Atlanta Braves and Los Angeles Dodgers, Dusty Baker had a successful career as manager. Baker’s teams reached the playoffs nine times, and he led the San Francisco Giants to the World Series in 2002. His victory total ranks 15th all-time.
While Baker’s career record is one of the best for managers in baseball history, he also drew criticism for some of his decisions in the postseason.
Still, his overall numbers put him among the finest in the game.
27. Mike Scioscia
Experience: 19 years (2000-18)
Teams: Anaheim Angels/Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels
Record: 1,650–1,428 (.536)
Pennants: 1 (2002)
World Series titles: 1 (2002)
After a solid playing career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, and time within the organization, Mike Scioscia moved south to take over as Angels manager and made them a perennial playoff contender.
Under Scioscia, the Angels ended a 16-year playoff drought and reached the playoffs in 2002, and he delivered the franchise’s first world championship.
Overall, Scioscia’s Angels teams made seven playoff appearances, and he currently stands 18th in career victories.
26. Fred Clarke
Experience: 19 years(1897-1915)
Teams: Louisville Colonels, Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 1,602–1,181-43 (.576)
Pennants: 4 (1901, 1902, 1903, 1909)
World Series titles: 1 (1909)
Fred Clarke was a manager with Louisville at the age of 24 and spent most of his career as a player-manager. His best success came with the Pirates. Of the nine pennants won in Pirates franchise history, four were won by Clarke as player-manager.
The highlight came in 1909 when Clarke, joined by fellow Hall of Famer Honus Wagner, beat Ty Cobb and the Detroit Tigers to win the World Series title.
Clarke ranks 20th in total wins by a manager. Clarke also batted over .300 for 11 different seasons.
25. Gene Mauch
Experience: 26 years (1960-82, 1985-87)
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Montreal Expos, Minnesota Twins, California Angels
Record: 1,902–2,037 (.483)
World Series titles: 0
Known as "The Little General," Gene Mauch is best known for managing the most years without winning a league pennant. In many cases, however, he rebuilt a number of teams into contenders.
To illustrate the type of career he had, examine his first managerial assignment with the Philadelphia Phillies. At one point in 1961, the Phillies lost 23 straight games. The next year, the Phils finished above .500 for the first time since 1953, and he was named Associated Press Manager of the Year.
Later, Mauch took over the Montreal Expos in their first year of existence and pretty much did what he could with an expansion team.
He reached the postseason twice in his final two stints with the California Angels in the 1982 and 1986, but two agonizing losses to the Milwaukee Brewers and Boston Red Sox in the American League Championship Series, respectively, prevented his teams from getting to the World Series.
24. Bucky Harris
Experience: 29 (1924-43, 1947-48, 1950-56)
Teams: Washington Senators, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Yankees
Record: Wins-losses 2,158–2,219-33 (.493)
Pennants: 3 (1924, 1925, 1947)
World Series titles: 2 (1924, 1947)
Bucky Harris had a mediocre career as a player, but as a manager, he held his own.
Success came early for Harris after he was named player-manager with the Washington Senators in 1924, making him the youngest manager in major league history at the age of 27. In that season, he led the Senators to their only World Series title, and he was christened "The Boy Wonder."
In 1928, Harris was traded as a player-manager to the Detroit Tigers, and 1929 was pretty much his last season as a player.
Harris bounced around quite a bit, but he always made teams better. His better days came with a short period as manager of the New York Yankees, which came under unusual circumstances.
In 1946, Yankees co-owner and general manager Larry MacPhail went through three managers. The following year, he brought Harris from the front office to the field, where he promptly led them to a World Series title. MacPhail left the Yankees, and Harris finished third in his second season. New Yankees management was so disappointed Harris was replaced by Casey Stengel.
23. Bill McKechnie
Experience: 25 years (1915, 1922-26, 1928-46)
Teams: Newark Peppers, Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Boston Braves/Bees, Cincinnati Reds
Record: 1,896–1,723-28 (.524)
Pennants: 4 (1925, 1928, 1939, 1940)
World Series titles: 3 (1925, 1940, 1948)
Bill McKechnie is one of only two managers in major league history to win three pennants with three different teams (Dick Williams is the other), and was the first manager to win World Series titles with two different teams, the 1925 Pittsburgh Pirates and 1940 Cincinnati Reds.
When McKechnie ended his managerial career in 1946, his win total of 1,896 games ranked fourth overall and second in the National League at the time. That total is currently 14th best.
But he sure traveled a lot. He was a third baseman during the dead ball era, played for seven teams, and piloted five teams as a skipper.
22. Red Schoendienst
Experience: 14 years (1965-76, 1980, 1990)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 1,041–955 (.522)
Pennants: 2 (1967, 1968)
World Series titles: 1 (1967)
Red Schoendienst had three managerial stints with the St. Louis Cardinals, but he was best known for his first go-around from 1965 through 1976. Besides being a Hall of Fame second baseman named to 10 All-Star teams, he produced perennial contenders as a manager.
During his first turn as a manager, he won consecutive National League pennants for the Cards in 1967 and 1968, with St. Louis beating the Boston Red Sox in the '67 World Series. That was his fourth world title and third with the Cardinals. He won two rings as a player with the Cardinals (1946) and Milwaukee Braves (1957) and one as a Cards coach (1964) before becoming manager.
After two years as a coach for the Oakland A’s, he went back to St. Louis as a coach and special assistant to the general manager where he won his fifth world title in 1982, counting his years as a player, coach or manager. (As a side note, all five World Series titles went the full seven games.)
But there was no question that baseball was in his blood. He remained with the Cardinals as a special assistant coach until 2017, when he completed 72 straight seasons as a player, coach or manager.
21. Billy Martin
Experience: 16 years (1969, 1971-83, 1985, 1988)
Teams: Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers, Texas Rangers, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, New York Yankees
Record: 1,253-1,013 (.553)
Pennants: 2 (1976, 1977)
World Series titles: 1 (1977)
Any manager who could put up with George Steinbrenner — for multiple stints — deserves to be recognized. And Billy Martin was one-of-a-kind manager with his fiery attitude, perhaps a by-product from his days as a scrappy player.
Martin had a knack for building winners with great players and marginal ones, too. He also was known for his drunken brawls and conflicts with management.
He was hired and fired many times. It began in 1969 when he led the Minnesota Twins to a division title and was let go. He joined the Detroit Tigers in 1971, won a division title in 1972 and was fired in 1973. He was hired by the Texas Rangers and made them a winner in 1974 before being fired in 1975.
Thus began his time with the Yankees and Steinbrenner. He won consecutive American League pennants in 1976 and 1977, winning the World Series in '77 despite run-ins with superstar Reggie Jackson. Martin was forced to resign in 1978. He returned in 1979, but was fired again.
He joined the Oakland A’s from 1980 to 1982, where he won a division title with an aggressive style known as "Billyball." After he was fired in 1982, he managed the Yankees three more times.
20. Ralph Houk
Experience: 20 years (1961-63, 1966-78, 1981-84)
Teams: New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox
Record: 1,619-1,531 (.514)
Pennants: 3 (1961, 1962, 1963)
World Series titles: 2 (1961, 1962)
Often times in sports, a manager or coach has to take over for someone who had great success. That was Houk, who took over the New York Yankees for Casey Stengel in 1961. However, in this case, Houk enjoyed success right off the bat.
The 1961 team was highlighted by Roger Maris' incredible 61-home run season, Mickey Mantle’s 54 homers, and pitching ace Whitey Ford, who won 25 games. That ride began three straight trips to the World Series, winning two.
After some time in the front office, Houk returned to managing the Yankees, but he did not enjoy his early success, finding himself in rebuilding mode not just with the Yankees, but with the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox.
19. Dick Williams
Experience: 21 years (1967-69, 1971-88)
Teams: Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, California Angels, Montreal Expos, San Diego Padres, Seattle Mariners
Record: 1,571-1,451 (.520)
Pennants: 4 (1967, 1972, 1973, 1984)
World Series wins: 2 (1972, 1973)
Dick Williams was one of those managers who didn’t hold anything back and expected nothing but the best from his players, and it certainly showed as he produced winners year after year. Williams was one of only two managers to lead three different franchises to the World Series (Bill McKechnie was the other).
After some time as a minor league manager, Williams took over the struggling Boston Red Sox and led the team on an unbelievable run to the 1967 American League pennant in the "impossible dream" season. But he couldn’t sustain that success due to injuries and conflicts, and he was fired.
His next stop took him to the Oakland A’s in 1971, a team loaded with talent, and Williams managed the A’s to two straight world titles. But due to constant conflicts with eccentric owner Charles Finley, Williams said so long.
After not-so-great stints with the California Angels and Montreal Expos, Williams returned to the World Series with an amazing run by the San Diego Padres in 1984.
18. Whitey Herzog
Experience: 18 years (1973-90)
Teams: Texas Rangers, California Angels, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 1,281-1,125 (.532)
Pennants: 3 (1982, 1985, 1987)
World Series wins: 1 (1982)
Whitey Herzog was best known for his success with the Kansas City Royals (1975-79) and St. Louis Cardinals (1980-90). He developed "Whiteyball" — a style of baseball that focused more on defense, pitching and speed than going after the long ball —utilizing his skills in player development as a scout and coach to his advantage.
With the Royals, Herzog led three straight division title campaigns from 1976 to 1978. Later, he moved a short distance to the St. Louis Cardinals, where he delivered a World Series title in 1982 and two National League pennants in 1985 and 1987.
Herzog’s managerial career ended with the Cardinals in 1990. After that, he had a brief run as general manager for the Angels.
17. Leo Durocher
Experience: 24 years (1939-46, 1948-55, 1966-73)
Teams: Brooklyn Dodgers, New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros
Record: 2,008-1,709 (.540)
Pennants: 3 (1941, 1951, 1954)
World Series titles: 1 (1954)
Known as "Leo the Lip" for numerous run-ins with umpires (he was ejected 100 times in his career), Leo Durocher was a fan favorite and won his share of games — his career victories rank him 10th all-time. He also had some stormy relationships with owners and commissioners.
Durocher was not one of baseball’s good guys. He coined the phrase "nice guys finish last," and he would often instruct his pitchers to hit an opposing batter if he felt the need — which was quite often. He also was suspended for the entire 1947 season for his "association with known gamblers."
However, Durocher did have his winning teams with the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants, and he fully supported bringing blacks into the major leagues.
16. Danny Murtaugh
Experience: 15 years (1957-64, 1967, 1970-71, 1973-76)
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates
Record: 1,115-950 (.540)
Pennants: 2 (1960, 1971)
World Series titles: 2 (1960, 1971)
Danny Murtaugh was all about the Pittsburgh Pirates during his managerial career. He managed the Bucs in all or part of 15 seasons, and he piloted some memorable Pirates squads.
The 1960 team was one of the biggest surprises in World Series history as the Pirates beat the Yankees in seven games thanks to Bill Mazeroski’s dramatic walk-off home run in Game 7. That was Murtaugh’s third season as skipper, but health problems came into play, and Murtaugh was an on-again, off-again skipper of the Pirates, splitting time in the front office.
But baseball fans can forget the Pirates' 1971 run with Murtaugh at the helm. After being down 2-0 to the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series, the Pirates stormed back to win the series in seven games. That would be Murtaugh's last time in the World Series.
He died at the age of 59 due to a stroke in 1976.
15. Earl Weaver
Experience: 17 years (1968-82, 1985-86)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1968–1982, 1985–1986)
Record: 1,480-1,060 (.583)
Pennants: 4 (1969, 1970, 1971, 1979)
World Series title: 1 (1970)
Earl Weaver put the Baltimore Orioles among the elite of baseball with an emphasis on great pitching, solid defense and wide-open offense. He managed some of the greatest players of all time and is the O's winningest manager.
Weaver was a ballplayer who never played in the major leagues, but he had success as a minor league manager that brought him to the Orioles. His teams won 100-plus games five times, and the Orioles averaged 96 wins a season under Weaver from 1969 to 1980.
His Orioles team of 1969 was known as the team who lost to the Miracle Mets, but the following year, he beat Cincinnati’s Big Red Machine team for his lone World Series championship.
Weaver also was one of the game's all-time great hotheads and could chew out an umpire with the best of them.
14. Tommy Lasorda
Experience: 21 years (1976-96)
Teams: Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 1,599-1,439-2 (.526)
Pennants: 4 (1977, 1978, 1981, 1988)
World Series titles: 2 (1981, 1988)
Tommy Lasorda was the one who said he "bleeds Dodger blue," and his enthusiasm and outgoing personality made him one of the most popular managers in baseball history (although he was not too popular in places such as San Francisco.)
Lasorda took over for Walter Alston and continued the tradition of winning teams in Los Angeles. One of his most memorable moments came in the 1988 World Series, when he gambled and sent an injured Kirk Gibson to the plate in the ninth inning of Game 1, trailing by a run. Gibson shocked A’s relief ace Dennis Eckersley with a walk-off two-run homer. The underdog Dodgers went on to win the Series.
Lasorda has been with the organization in some capacity for 69 years and now serves as the special adviser to the chairman. It would be hard to see Lasorda calling any other place home but Dodger Stadium.
13. Jim Leyland
Experience: 22 years (1986-99, 2006-13)
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, Florida Marlins, Colorado Rockies, Detroit Tigers
Record: 1,769-1,728 (.506)
World Series appearances: 3 (1997, 2006, 2012)
World Series wins: 1 (1997)
Jim Leyland was considered one of the game’s great skippers, finding success at different destinations. A quick trip through his resume illustrates how he’s one of the great managers of all time.
Who would’ve thought the Florida Marlins could win a championship in such a short period of time, but that’s what Leyland brought in 1997. Throw in three straight division titles with the Pittsburgh Pirates and a World Series appearance with the Detroit Tigers in 2006, and there’s enough evidence to support Leyland’s place in baseball history.
He is one of only seven managers to win pennants in the National and American leagues. He also won manager of the year awards in both leagues. Leyland also led Team USA to the World Baseball Classic title in 2017, becoming the only manager to win a World Series and WBC title.
12. Terry Francona
Experience: 18 years (1997-2000, 2004-11, 2013-present)
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians
Record: 1,581-1,344 (.541)
Pennants: 3 (2004, 2007, 2016)
World Series titles: 2 (2004, 2007)
Terry Francona had a rough start with the Philadelphia Phillies, but after a four-year hiatus from managing, Francona came into his own when the Boston Red Sox took a chance on him in 2004. That’s when sweet history was made in Beantown.
Francona did something many predecessors wished they could have done — deliver a world championship to Boston for the first time since 1918. But to show that was no fluke, Francona brought another world title to Boston in 2007. Since then, the Red Sox have established themselves as a World Series-winning contender.
Francona’s contract was not renewed after the 2011 season, and in 2013, he joined another team with a huge drought, the Cleveland Indians. In 2016, he led the Indians to the American League pennant. In 2017, he led them to a record 22-game winning streak.
Who knows? Maybe he can deliver a world title for the Indians, too.
11. Miller Huggins
Experience: 17 years (1913-29)
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees
Record: 1,413-1,134-23 (.555)
Pennants: 6 (1921, 1922, 1923, 1926, 1927, 1928)
World Series titles: 3 (1923, 1927, 1928)
After some so-so seasons with the St. Louis Cardinals from 1913 to 1917, Miller Huggins' first stint as a manager, he gained fame by leading legendary New York Yankees to the World Series in the 1920s.
Despite some questionable trades, and many run-ins with Babe Ruth, Huggins managed the Murderers Row clubs and boasted some of the most dominant teams in sports history. In one stretch, they swept back-to-back World Series in 1927 and 1928.
At the end of 1929, Huggins fell ill and was hospitalized due to erysipelas as well as a high fever from the flu. Five days after going to the hospital, Huggins died from pyaemia at the age of 51.
10. Bobby Cox
Experience: 29 years (1978-85, 1990-2010)
Teams: Atlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves
Record: 2,504-2,001 (.556)
Pennants: 5 (1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1999)
World Series titles: 1 (1995)
Bobby Cox managed some of the best Atlanta Braves teams and had success with the Toronto Blue Jays. His career victories rank fourth in baseball history, and he made a record 16 playoff appearances.
However, it took awhile for Cox to see success. His first stint with the Braves saw steady improvement until the 1981 baseball strike ended that stay in Atlanta. The Toronto Blue Jays hired him, and he won one division title in four years before departing.
Cox returned to the Braves as a general manager in 1986 and named himself manager in 1990. That appointment began a parade of playoff appearances for the Braves.
Unfortunately for Cox, the Braves managed just one World Series title in 1995. Still, his credentials are among the greats of all time.
9. Sparky Anderson
Experience: 26 years (1970-95)
Teams: Cincinnati Reds, Detroit Tigers
Record: 2,194-1,834 (.545)
Pennants: 5 (1970, 1972, 1975, 1976, 1984)
World Series titles: 3 (1975, 1976, 1984)
Sparky Anderson was a fiery manager who just knew how to win. He orchestrated the Cincinnati Reds' great Big Red Machine teams during the 1970s and later found success with the Detroit Tigers.
In Cincinnati, Anderson was one of the first managers to utilize his bullpen. He was nicknamed "Captain Hook" for his many replacements on the mound, something that’s common today.
Anderson’s Reds teams dominated the National League, led by back-to back World Series titles in 1975 and 1976, and he ranks sixth on the all-time career victory list.
8. Walter Alston
Experience: 23 years (1954-76)
Teams: Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 2,040-1,613 (.558)
Pennants: 7 (1955, 1956, 1959, 1963, 1965, 1966, 1974)
World Series titles: 4 (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965)
While some managers in baseball are fiery, Walter Alston was the complete opposite. But the "Quiet Man" sure made some noise when he took over as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1954.
Alston did something no other manager had done, deliver a world championship to Brooklyn. He accomplished the feat in 1955, clinching the National League pennant earlier than any NL team in history. The old Dodgers saying was "Wait 'til next year" — well, next year finally arrived.
The Dodgers moved to the Los Angeles in 1958, and Alston continued to bring success to the team with the likes of Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale. Under Alston, the Dodgers produced dominating pitching and great defense, managing to win with average offense.
The one quirk during his Dodgers stint was that he signed one-year contracts from 1954 to 1976.
7. Bruce Bochy
Experience: 24 years (1995-present)
Teams: San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants
Record: 1,930-1,953 (.497)
Pennants: 4 (1998, 2010, 2012, 2014)
World Series titles: 3 (2010, 2012, 2014)
Bruce Bochy might be one of the most underrated managers in baseball history. Although his overall record hovers around .500, he is a master tactician whose his teams often overachieve.
The current San Francisco Giants plans to retire at the end of the 2019 season, his 25th as a big league skipper. Under Bochy, the Giants became what could be the greatest team in the 2010's decade, winning three World Series titles, the franchise's first titles since moving from New York.
Before joining the Giants, Bochy had success as manager of the San Diego Padres over 12 seasons, culminating with a World Series appearance in 1998.
6. Tony La Russa
Experience: 33 years (1979-2011)
Teams: Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, St. Louis Cardinals
Record: 2,728-2,365 (.536)
Pennants: 6 (1988, 1989, 1990, 2004, 2006, 2011)
World Series titles: 3 (1989, 2006, 2011)
Tony LaRussa was a model of success throughout his managerial career. He understood how to handle big-name ballplayers and get players to buy into his system of winning. He ranks third all-time in victories by a manager.
His success included winning 12 division championships. La Russa also became the first manager in major league history to win a World Series in the same year he retired (2011). But he did come back to manage the National League in the 2012 All-Star Game.
One fun fact about La Russa: He earned a law degree from Florida State in 1978. He said he wanted to ride buses in the minor leagues rather than practice law. Baseball fans are grateful for that.
5. Connie Mack
Experience: 53 years (1894-96, 1901-50)
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Athletics
Record: 3,731-3,948-76 (.486)
Pennants: 9 (1902, 1905, 1910, 1911, 1913, 1914, 1929, 1930, 1931)
World Series titles: 5 (1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930)
Connie Mack has some impressive numbers as a manager and owner of the Philadelphia Athletics, mainly because he lasted 50 years with the A’s. He also was the ultimate players' manager, and his dedication to the game was second to none.
He holds numerous records as a manager, including most career victories, losses and games managed with 7,755. The way managers come and go nowadays, it’s unlikely any of those records will ever be broken.
Mack is the only manager to win consecutive World Series titles on different occasions. He also won nine American League pennants, second most in league history. On the flip side, he also finished in last place 17 times.
4. Joe Torre
Experience: 29 years (1977-84, 1990-2010)
Teams: New York Mets, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Los Angeles Dodgers
Record: 2,326-1,997 (.538)
Pennants: 6 (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003)
World Series titles: 4 (1996, 1998, 1999, 2000)
It took a little time, but Joe Torre followed a great career as a player with a successful one as a manager. His experience allowed him to relate well to his players. As a manager, he also brought a professional-type demeanor and always was a step ahead of his opponents.
After starting his managerial career with brief stints, and some success (mixed in with a broadcasting gig), he landed as New York Yankees skipper in 1996, and things took off in the Bronx.
He lasted 12 seasons with the Yankees under owner George Steinbrenner, an incredible feat considering Steinbrenner’s knack of firing managers. Torre left the team due to a contract dispute, and he managed the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2008 to 2010.
He stepped down to take a job in the commissioner’s office and ended his managerial career with the fifth-most victories in baseball history.
3. Casey Stengel
Experience: 25 years (1934-36, 1938-43, 1949-60, 1962-65)
Teams: Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Bees/Braves, New York Yankees, New York Mets
Record: 1,905-1,842-19 (.508)
Pennants: 10 (1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1956, 1967, 1958, 1960)
World Series titles: 7 (1949, 1950, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1956, 1958)
Yes, we remember Casey Stengel for his glory days with the New York Yankees and the horrible days with the expansion New York Mets, but Stengel was one of the most colorful characters in all of sports. He was one of a kind and certainly earned the right to included among the greats of the game.
He had his struggles in the early going of his managerial career with the Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves, but things took off when he was hired by the New York Yankees in 1948. Stengel’s Yankees won five straight World Series titles, still a record. Talk about a dynasty. In 12 seasons, Stengel won 10 American League pennants and seven World Series titles. His final two years brought struggles, including a stunning loss in the 1960 World Series, and he was fired at age 70.
During that time, Stengel was known to bring humor, mixed with his unique style of communication, which, in part, made him an attractive candidate to join the expansion Mets in 1962. His first season, he lost 120 games, and the team finished last in all four of his seasons as skipper, but there were enough memorable moments to make the Mets the most popular losing team in history.
2. John McGraw
Experience: 33 years (1899, 1901-32)
Teams: Baltimore Orioles, New York Giants
Record: 2,763-1,948-58 (.586)
Pennants: 10 (1904, 1905, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1917, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924)
World Series titles: 3 (1905, 1921, 1922)
John McGraw earned equal success as a player and manager, more than any figure in baseball history. As a player, he had a lifetime .334 batting average, and as a manager, he had a remarkable winning percentage. He had a knack for finding solid players that other teams overlooked.
He was fearless and didn’t back down to umpires as a manager, with the majority of his glory days with the New York Giants. Overall, McGraw is second all-time in victories, and his 2,669 wins is still tops in the National League. He’s the only manager to lead a NL team to four consecutive pennants.
Over 33 seasons, including his start with the Baltimore Orioles, his teams also posted 11 second-place finishes and only two losing seasons. But he always made a stand for his teams and was ejected 131 times (122 times as a manager), which stood as a record until Bobby Cox broke it in 2007.
1. Joe McCarthy
Experience: 24 years (1926-46, 1948-5)
Teams: Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox
Record: 2,125-1,333-29 (.615)
Pennants: 9 (1929, 1932, 1936, 1937, 1938,1939, 1941, 1942, 1943)
World Series titles: 7 (1932, 1936, 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, 1943)
Joe McCarthy managed perhaps the greatest teams in baseball history when the New York Yankees were known as "The Bronx Bombers" from 1931 to 1946, racking up victories at a time when the United States needed heroes as it endured the Great Depression followed by World War II.
McCarthy was the first manager to win pennants in both the American and National Leagues. He still holds records for the greatest winning percentage of all time overall and postseason (.698). He still is the Yankees’ all-time leader in victories with 1,460.
It would be easy to say that McCarthy was blessed with talent, but he also had to mold these players together to make them winners year after year. He was a tremendous teacher with a low-key style that was pretty rare among managers of the era.
McCarthy resigned in 1946 due to conflict with management. In 1948, he returned to the dugout to manage the Boston Red Sox and posted consecutive 96-win seasons.
What might be most impressive about McCarthy is that he never had a losing season as a manager.