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Joe McCarthy. John McGraw. Connie Mack. Casey Stengel. Sparky Anderson. Earl Weaver. Whitey Herzog. Those are just a few of the many legendary managers in baseball history. America's greatest game has championed many era's. One thing remains the same. Great managers motivate their players to win. They overcome distractions, injuries, meddlesome owners and bigger than life stars.
So, which manager in today's era is the best? Personally, I don't believe there's one single manager who stands head and shoulders above others. There's five who I consider tops in the game right now (with 2 honorable mentions).
Here's my short list of baseball's best managers.
Ron Gardenhire (708-588, .546) Gardenhire's Twins have won 5 division titles in his 8 years as skipper. What makes RG's success very significant has been winning with one of baseball's lowest budgets and young talent. He manages every inning of every game. A great motivator. Players believe and they win when most expect them to lose.
Joe Torre (2246-1915, .540) Ok, Ok simmer down Yankees haters. Joe gets the job done no matter what. Since 1996 no Torre team finished below 2nd (12 first place, 2 2nd). 15 playoff appearances is tied with Bobby Cox for most all time. Nobody deals with head cases better than Joe. His teams believe in him, he believes in players, teams win. Period.
Bobby Cox (2413-1930, .556) 2010 will be Bobby's last as a MLB manager. One of the most fiery skipper's baseball has ever produced. Braves won 14 consecutive NL East titles. Excellent motivator. Kept Atlanta competitive during recent rebuilding years. 15 playoff appearances tied with Joe Torre for most ever.
Mike Scioscia (900-720, .556) One of the games most respected managers could be a cornerstone in Anaheim for years to come. During his 10 years... 6 playoffs and 1 World Series title. Key losses and division rivals reloading will keep Scioscia on his toes this season. Excellent student of the game. Former catcher gets the most out of his players and seems to always make the right moves.
Terry Francona (850-771, .524) An instant hit in Boston. Francona's first season at the helm ended "The Curse". Boston rallied from down 3 games to 0 to beat arch rival Yanks 4 games to 3 in 2004 ALCS en route to Red Sox 1st World Series title since 1918. Captured 2nd title in '07. Sox qualified for playoffs in 5 of 6 seasons winning no less then 95 (in playoff years). Sluggers are gone for '10... but, pitchers are plentiful.
Honorable mention: Tony LaRussa, Lou Piniella.