From the drawers of the Top Secret Fyles:
Here is one man’s countdown of MLB’s top-five best managers since the installment of division play in 1969 (sorry, Connie Mack and John McGraw).
5. Bobby Cox — (29 seasons, 2,504-2,001 record, .556 winning percentage) ... Fourth all-time for wins ... Hall of Famer ... Two separate stints as manager with Braves, with four years guiding the Blue Jays in between ... One World Series title, 5 league championships, 15 division titles ... Four-time Manager of the Year ... Ejected a record 158 times, with three in the postseason. Last manager to be tossed in a World Series game (vs. Yankees in 1996). ... Led Syracuse to IL Governors’ Cup title in 1976 with Ron Guidry leading the staff.
4. Bruce Bochy — (25 seasons, 1,982-1,999, .498) ... Longest-tenured active manager in MLB, but this is his last season and should enter top-10 list for most wins by the end of the year ... Will be Hall of Famer ... Only MLB manager to win 900-plus games with two different teams (Padres, Giants) ... Became 10th manager in history to win three WS titles, and the previous nine are in the Hall of Fame. ... Four league championships, 6 six division flags, and 1996 NL Manager of the Year.
3. Sparky Anderson — (26 seasons, 2,194-1,834, .545) ... Sixth on wins list ... Hall of Famer ... Started MLB managerial career with Reds at age 35 in 1970 ... First skipper to win titles in both leagues (Reds and Tigers) ... Three WS titles, 4 league championships, 7 division titles ... Two-time Manager of the Year. ... Died in 2010.
2. Joe Torre — (29 seasons, 2,326-1,997, .538) ... Fifth on wins list ... Hall of Famer ... Nine-time All-Star, including 1971 NL MVP, as a catcher and infielder ... Only major-leaguer with 2,000 hits and 2,000 wins ... Managed Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees and Dodgers ... Four WS titles, 6 league championships, 13 division titles ... Two-time Manager of the Year.
1. Tony La Russa (33 seasons, 2,728-2,365, .536) ... Third on wins list ... Hall of Famer ... Managed White Sox, A’s and Cardinals ... Three WS titles, 6 league championships, 12 division titles ... Four-time Manager of the Year ... As a Triple-A Richmond Braves infielder in 1972, he once charged the Silver Stadium press box in Rochester during a game to dispute an official scorer’s decision.
Honorable mention goes to Hall of Famers Dick Williams, Earl Weaver, Whitey Herzog and Tommy Lasorda, and the always volatile Billy Martin.
n Richie Rich’s Top 10 rankings in MLB: 1. Dodgers; 2. Yankees; 3. Astros; 4. Twins; 5. Braves; 6. Indians; 7. Rays; 8. A’s; 9. Cubs; 10. Cardinals.
Times sports copy editor Richard Fyle can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org