This World Series features two of the more heralded managers right now in Major League Baseball: Chicago’s Joe Maddon and Cleveland’s Terry Francona.
Both are tremendous skippers – and have the statistics to prove it.
Maddon is in his 11th season as a full-time manager. Known as a mad genius for his unorthodox philosophies, he’s taken two different clubs to the World Series: The Tampa Bay Rays in 2008 and the Cubs this year. Three times he’s won the Manager of the Year Award and likely will get some consideration for a fourth in 2016.
Francona has managed for 16 seasons. He’s been to the World Series three times. Twice winning it with the Boston Red Sox and now getting there with the Indians. He was named AL Manager of the Year in 2013 with the Indians and is probably the leading candidate for it this year.
The Orioles have a pretty good skipper of their own in Buck Showalter. He’s been named Manager of the Year three times – in three different decades for three different teams – in his 18 seasons in the big leagues. He hasn’t yet guided a club to the World Series, however, as his detractors will point out.
He has his warts, like any manager, but he also has had a tremendous track record of turning around stalled franchises (or, in the case of the Arizona Diamondbacks, building a contender from scratch).
Showalter, 60, isn’t going anywhere, unless he rides off in the sunset on his own. He’s signed through 2018 and has more job security in Baltimore than any manager since Hall-of-Famer Earl Weaver. Plus, as you can read in this piece, he and his wife, Angela, really have connected with the community here.
Because of all that, I expect you to be partial to Buck. But maybe you aren’t. Maybe you’d trade Showalter, straight-up, for Maddon or Francona or San Francisco’s Bruce Bochy or Los Angeles Angels’ Mike Scioscia.
They are all really good and all really accomplished.
As it stands now, who do you think is the best?
Tap-In Question: Who is baseball’s best manager?