Best in the biz
Ranking the top managers in the game; A-Rod update
Posted: Tuesday April 24, 2007 11:33AM; Updated: Tuesday April 24, 2007 12:12PM
The news last week that Braves manager Bobby Cox received a one-year extension shouldn't surprise anyone. He deserved it, and he should be allowed to decide when he goes out, if ever.
As his boss John Schuerholz said upon announcing the extension through 2008, "His place in history is well secured.''
That is fair to say. Cox is a winner and model for consistency.
But Schuerholz didn't stop there. He also said of Cox, "He's the best manager in baseball. He's been the key ingredient in this remarkable run of success we've had here for nearly 17 years.''
And that's where the debate begins. While there are a lot of folks who probably agree with Schuerholz, I think the longtime Braves GM might have gone 0-for-2 there.
I believe the key ingredient, at least among the decisionmakers, is Schuerholz. He's the one who procured the talent that won 14 division titles, five NL pennants and one World Series in Atlanta. (I'd say Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Andruw Jones and Chipper Jones are the real key ingredients.) And as for Schuerholz's other assertion, I doubt Cox is the best manager in the game now, and I question whether he ever was.
Cox has won a lot of games and his players love him. But let's not forget he had the most special nucleus in baseball (plus, the best rotation) for about a decade, and he turned that unequaled blend of talent into a total of one World Series championship. That he won just one title is not a testament to his great managing but a reason to question whether he got the most out of all that ability. And I'd assert that few teams underachieved like the Braves last year.
Schuerholz has his own rankings. But here are my much more official managerial rankings:
1. Tony La Russa
2. Jim Leyland
3. Mike Scioscia
4. Joe Torre
5. Lou Piniella
7. Grady Little
8. Willie Randolph
9. Ozzie Guillen
10. Terry Francona
11. Ron Gardenhire
12. Bruce Bochy
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