A historic fluke?by Paul Francis Sullivan
February 02, 2011
Jim Leyland, Mike Scioscia and Ozzie Guillen are three very different managers. Leyland is the intense old school manager straight from central casting. Scioscia, descended from the Walter Alston-Tommy Lasorda school of managing, is the calm steady hand of the Angels. And the flamboyant Guillen loves the spotlight and the unusual strategy, many times acting like a Venezuelan answer to Billy Martin.
Each has won a World Series as a manager. And on close examination, there is a strange connection among Leyland’s 1997 Marlins, Scioscia’s 2002 Angels and Guillen’s 2005 White Sox.
Look at past World Series winners throughout history. There is a common thread with almost every single one of them. Going back to the 1903 Boston Pilgrims (or Americans or Red Sox or whatever they were called back then) you are pretty certain to find a Hall of Famer on the roster.
The last winner with a current Hall of Famer on its roster was the 1996 Yankees, who featured Wade Boggs. But more recent teams have all but certain Cooperstown bound players.
Barry Larkin will inevitably get in to represent the 1990 Reds. Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine and John Smoltz will all represent the 1995 Braves.
Mariano Rivera and Derek Jeter are locks for Cooperstown for the 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2009 Yankees. Roger Clemens (from ’99 and ’00) and Alex Rodriguez (’09) will have to run the “What should we do about steroids?” gauntlet but will eventually get in.
Randy Johnson is a first ballot Hall of Famer. His 2001 Diamondbacks teammate, Curt Schilling might join him.
If steroid rumors don’t hound him, Ivan Rodriguez will get in for the 2003 Marlins.
Pedro Martinez will get in for the 2004 Red Sox. Perhaps ’04 and ’07 Red Sox teammates Curt Schilling and Manny Ramirez will go in too. (A lot depends on how people vote regarding PEDs.)
The 2006 Cardinals had Albert Pujols, who is a lock already.
It is too early to see if any of the stars from the 2008 Phillies or 2010 Giants are Cooperstown bound, but chances are someone on those squads will put up the numbers long term. Through history there have been just three World Champions whose players have all retired and been eligible for Cooperstown that didn’t feature a Hall of Famer on their World Series roster:
- The 1981 Los Angeles Dodgers.
- The 1984 Detroit Tigers.
- The 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers.
Now before everyone writes in telling me that I did not do my homework, let me get this out of the way. Yes I know Don Sutton pitched 16 games for the 1988 Dodgers. But he was released by the Dodgers in August and was not part of the playoff roster.
Each of those three championship teams, which had big stars, Cy Young winners and clutch performances, were devoid of a Hall of Famer leading them in October.
Each DID, however, have a Hall of Famer in uniform. Tommy Lasorda managed the Dodgers teams and Sparky Anderson was at the helm for the Tigers.
And even though each of those teams benefited from a Cy Young winner (Fernando Valenzuela in 1981, Willie Hernandez in 1984 and Orel Hershiser in 1988) they were the crown jewels of Lasorda and Anderson’s Cooperstown resume.
Which brings us back to Leyland, Scioscia and Guillen. On the 1997 Marlins, who was the Hall of Famer? Possibly Gary Sheffield, but his BalCo involvement might keep him out of the Hall. The team had a lot of players who had fine careers but nobody is about to vote in Jeff Conine, Devon White, Moises Alou, Edgar Renteria, Al Leiter or Kevin Brown.
That title was looked upon as Jim Leyland’s. Okay, it was also looked at as Wayne Huizenga being true to his Blockbuster Video roots and renting a champion.
The 2002 Angels were unique in how many of the players were either home grown or spent their rookie years with the Angels. But are Tim Salmon, Garret Anderson, Troy Glaus, Bengie Molina, Darin Erstad, Kevin Appier, Jarrod Washburn or John Lackey going to get any Cooperstown consideration? Injuries caught up with Troy Percival who probably had the best chance for a Hall of Fame career. But there is no way he gets in now. Scioscia was the star of that team.
The 2005 White Sox did indeed have a Hall of Famer in Frank Thomas. But the Big Hurt missed all but 34 games that year and didn’t play after July 20. Instead it was players like Paul Konerko, Joe Crede, Jermaine Dye and Jurassic Carl Everett leading the way. Their pitching staff had unspectacular parts yet had tremendous depth. Individually Mark Buehrle, Job Garland, Jose Contreras, Freddy Garcia, Dustin Hermanson, Bobby Jenks and Cliff Politte were all fine. Combined they went 11-1 in the postseason. When you have a team whose whole plays better than what its individual parts would suggest, that credit belongs to the manager, in this case the possibly crazy-like-a-fox Guillen.
So are Leyland, Scioscia and Guillen putting together Hall of Fame resumes to join Tommy and Sparky? Or were they part of a statistical fluke?
Each manager has won only a single World Series title. But guess who also has only one World Series title? Earl Weaver. Leo Durocher. Whitey Herzog. Each is in Cooperstown. (Also Al Lopez and Wilbert Robinson are enshrined without a World Series title.) And Leyland, Scioscia and Guillen have all returned to the postseason since winning the World Series.
The case for Leyland
Of the three, Leyland has the most compelling Hall of Fame resume. He belongs in select company as a manager who has won a pennant in both the American and National League. (The others are Joe McCarthy with the Cubs and Yankees, Alvin Dark with the Giants and A’s, Yogi Berra with the Yankees and Mets, Sparky Anderson with the Reds and Tigers and Tony LaRussa with the A’s and Cardinals.)
He turned around a moribund Pirates franchise and made them a three time division champion. (A well-timed base hit in 1991 and a pop-up by Francisco Cabrera in 1992 and they would have won the pennant!) And he took over a disastrous Tigers team and brought it to the World Series in 2006 and to a one-game playoff in 2009.
In my opinion he belongs in the Hall of Fame. But his resume is not without blemishes. When the stars were taken off the Pirates roster and then the Marlins roster, his teams fell completely apart. His one season in Colorado was a flop. The Tigers looked unprepared and sloppy in the 2006 World Series. The 2007 Tigers collapsed in the second half. The 2008 Tigers were a big-budget disaster. And in 2009 they blew a three-game lead with four to play before losing the heart-breaking playoff against Minnesota.
The case for Scioscia
Scioscia may not be as flamboyant or vocal as his mentor, Lasorda. But he has been the respected and consistent leader for what has quietly been an impressive managerial tenure. The cast of characters has almost completely changed (only Scot Shields remains from the 2002 squad) but the Angels' winning ways keep on going. He has led the Angels (wherever they claim to play) to division titles in 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009.
He beat the mighty Yankees in 2005 and shrugged the (rally) monkey off their shoulders by beating the Red Sox in 2009. And no matter which player is plugged into the lineup, they seem to conform to the Scioscia style of playing hard. (Granted, Kendry Morales celebrated a little bit too hard.)
It is early to coronate Scioscia in Cooperstown now. It would help his cause if he won another pennant. Doing so with a totally new team would make him Lasorda-esque. But compiling lots of division titles over the years certainly helped Earl Weaver’s Cooperstown candidacy.
The case for Guillen
I admit that Ozzie’s Hall of Fame case as of this writing is rather shaky. Forget the Hall of Fame. His grasp on his own job always seems a bit tenuous. His fiery style in the dugout and in public could be his undoing. But then again, it hasn’t cost him his job yet. Maybe he will stick around.
And there is no denying his managerial style was stamped all over the 2005 title. His team took extra bases and ran hard, and the pitching staff was deep and ready for anything. He didn’t stick to strict “use your bullpen closer in specific times” rules. He’d let pitchers complete games or use relievers based on the match-ups. They played Ozzie Ball.
The results of his style of play have been as unpredictable as Ozzie himself. This year might go a long way in building a legacy; the White Sox have retooled for another playoff run.
And maybe Guillen will someday pull a LeBron James and take his talents to Miami. The Marlins have not been subtle about wanting Guillen back. With a new stadium and revenue streams, perhaps Guillen might put on the teal and become the next manager with pennants in both leagues.
Now, perhaps none of the three will end up in Cooperstown. Maybe the 1997, 2002 and 2005 World Series will simply be statistical flukes. Maybe with expanded playoffs there will be more teams without Hall of Famers that make it all the way through October.
But if Leyland, Scioscia and Guillen have any Hall of Fame aspirations, they have already put a very big credit on their resume: A World Series title without the aid of an immortal. They are in select company for that.
Showing my work
Inevitably I know someone out there will wonder if I am correct about every World Series winner save for 1981, 1984 and 1988 having a Hall of Famer on its roster.
I will save you the time of looking it up yourselves. Here are the past winners and their Hall of Famers:
The 1903 Pilgrims had Cy Young and Jimmy Collins.
The 1905 New York Giants had Christy Mathewson, Joe McGinnity and Roger Bresnahan.
George Davis and Ed Walsh were on the 1906 White Sox.
The 1907 and 1908 Cubs had Mordecai Brown, Frank Chance, Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker.
The 1909 Pirates won with Fred Clarke, Honus Wagner and Vic Willis.
The Red Sox teams of the 1910s had Harry Hooper, Herb Pennock, Tris Speaker and some guy named Babe Ruth.
Connie Mack’s first Athletics dynasty of the 1910s had Home Run Baker, Chief Bender, Eddie Collins, Eddie Plank and Herb Pennock.
The Miracle Boston Braves of 1914 had Rabbit Maranville and Johnny Evers.
Eddie Collins, Red Faber and Ray Schalk were on the 1917 White Sox. There would probably be more from this team if not for the Black Sox scandal.
The 1919 Reds won with Edd Roush (and some help from the White Sox.)
The 1920 Indians included Stan Coveleski, Joe Sewell and Tris Speaker.
The Giants teams of the 1920s had Dave Bancroft, Frankie Frisch, Travis Jackson, Ross Youngs and High Pockets Kelly. (Also Casey Stengel was on the squad but he was a Hall of Famer based on his managing, not his playing.)
The Yankee dynasty of the 1920s included Lou Gehrig, Waite Hoyt, Herb Pennock, Tony Lazzeri, Earle Combs and that fellow Ruth whose name keeps showing up.
In 1924, the Senators had Sam Rice, Goose Goslin and Walter Johnson.
The Pirates of 1925 won the World Series with Max Carey, Pie Traynor and Kiki Cuyler.
Grover Cleveland Alexander clinched the stunning 1926 World Series for the Cardinals. Jim Bottomley, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Billy Southworth and player/manager Rogers Hornsby were part of the team.
Connie Mack’s second dynasty, the Athletics of 1929 and 1930, had Mickey Cochrane, Eddie Collins, Jimmie Foxx, Lefty Grove and Al Simmons.
The Cardinals Gas House Gang of the 1930s included Jim Bottomley, Frankie Frisch, Burleigh Grimes, Chick Hafey, Jesse Haines, Joe Medwick, Dazzy Vance and of course Dizzy Dean.
Babe Ruth won his last World Series in 1932. The Yankees champs of the 1930s included Lou Gehrig, Earle Combs, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, Tony Lazzeri, Herb Pennock, Red Ruffing, Joe Sewell, Joe Gordon and. Joe DiMaggio.
The 1933 Giants had Travis Jackson, Mel Ott, Carl Hubbell and player manager Bill Terry.
The 1935 Tigers featured Goose Goslin, Mickey Cochrane, Charlie Gehringer and Hank Greenberg.
The 1940 Reds featured future Hall of Famer Ernie Lombardi.
The great Cardinals teams of the 1940s included Stan Musial, Enos Slaughter and Red Schoendienst.
The 1945 Tigers included Hank Greenberg and Hal Newhouser.
The Yankees who dominated the 1940s included Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez, Joe Gordon, Phil Rizzuto, Red Ruffing, Yogi Berra and Joe DiMaggio.
The 1948 Indians included Lou Boudreau Larry Doby, Bob Feller, Joe Gordon, Bob Lemon and Satchel Paige.
DiMaggio retired in 1951 under Casey Stengel, whose championship teams also included Yogi Berra, Johnny Miza, Phil Rizzuto, Whitey Ford, Enos Slaughter and Mickey Mantle.
The 1954 Giants had Monte Irvin, Hoyt Wilhelm and someone named Willie Mays.
Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, Jackie Robinson and Duke Snider played for Brooklyn in 1955. (So did Sandy Koufax and Lasorda in smaller capacities.)
The 1957 Milwaukee Braves had Eddie Mathews, Red Schoendienst, Warren Spahn and Hank Aaron.
Don Drysdale, Duke Snider and Sandy Koufax were part of the 1959 champion Los Angeles Dodgers.
The 1960 World Series ended with future Hall of Famer Bill Mazeroski homering for the Pirates. Roberto Clemente was also on that club.
Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford and Mickey Mantle were still on the Yankees when they won the 1961 and 1962 titles.
The 1963 and 1965 Dodgers were led by Don Drysdale and Sandy Koufax.
The Cardinals of the mid 1960s had Lou Brock, Steve Carlton, Orlando Cepeda and of course Bob Gibson.
The 1966 Orioles had Luis Aparicio, Jim Palmer and anyone named Robinson, specifically Brooks and Frank.
Tom Seaver and Nolan Ryan were both on the 1969 Mets.
The 1970 Orioles still had Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson and Frank Robinson.
Willie Stargell joined Roberto Clemente and Bill Mazeroski for the Pirates 1971 Title.
The Charlie O. Finley A’s had Rollie Fingers, Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter.
The Big Red Machine featured Johnny Bench, Joe Morgan, Tony Perez and someday Pete Rose will join them.
The Bronx Zoo Yankees first imported Catfish Hunter and Reggie Jackson. Later Rich Gossage joined them.
The 1979 Pirates, AKA The Fam-A-Lee, included Hall of Famers Willie Stargell and Bert Blyleven.
The Phillies won their first World Series in 1980 thanks in part to Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt. (And of course Pete Rose.)
Bruce Sutter clinched the 1982 World Series for the Cardinals. Ozzie Smith was also on that team.
Jim Palmer was still with the Orioles when they won in 1983. Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken were also on that squad.
George Brett played for the 1985 Royals.
There were many stars on the 1986 Mets but only Gary Carter made it to the Hall of Fame.
The 1987 Twins had Kirby Puckett and Blyleven (plus a cameo by Steve Carlton.) Puckett also was on the 1991 Twins.
The 1989 Athletics won the Bay Bridge Series with Rickey Henderson and Dennis Eckersley.
Roberto Alomar played for both the 1992 and 1993 World Champion Blue Jays. Dave Winfield was his teammate in 1992. Rickey Henderson and Paul Molitor joined him in 1993.
Wade Boggs rode the horse after winning the 1996 World Series with the Yankees.
You are welcome.
References and Resources
As always, I used Baseball-Reference.com in this article.