Brian Goff, Contributor, 5/30/2013
Last week I listed the best managers over the past 40 years in MLB. These estimates flow out of each manager’s impact on winning percentage after taking into account the GM, owner, performance prior to the manager, and population. Here, I’m looking at the flip side of the same coin – the ten worst managers over 1970-2011. That’s not exactly right – it’s the worst ten who managed at least 7 years.
An oddity in sports management, and, for that matter, any management setting is the mediocre or bad manager who keeps landing good jobs. I’ve labeled it the “Kevin Loughery Syndrome” after the former NBA coach who parlayed 3 successful ABA seasons into a 5-team NBA career with an overall winning percentage of 0.417 – a number well below his closest coaching peer. Somehow, employing a coach with experience, even bad experiences, seem to carry the day for various general managers and owners.
The MLB manager’s on my list don’t come close to approaching that kind of futility. In fact, while all of the “worst” of these long tenured managers on my list had a net negative contribution to winning, the size of the negative impact is very small. In this respect, a better title is most mediocre long-tenured MLB managers. The number of seasons includes partial seasons.
- Darrell Johnson (3 teams, 8 seasons)
- Phil Garner (3 teams, 15 seasons)
- Buddy Bell (3 teams, 9 seasons)
- Jim Riggleman (4 teams, 12 seasons)
- Jim Fregosi (4 teams; 15 seasons)
- Tom Kelly (1 teams, 16 seasons)
- Rene Lacheman (4 teams, 10 seasons)
- Ralph Houk (3 teams, 21 seasons)
- Eric Wedge (2 teams, 10 seasons)
- Pat Corrales (3 teams, 10 seasons)