Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Does Leyland deserve a plaque in baseball's Hall of Fame someday?

    Jim Leyland has moved past Baltimore's Earl Weaver and into 20th place on the all-time list of baseball's winningest managers. Weaver is a Hall of Famer.
    By the end of this season, Leyland could also surpass Clark Griffith, who has 10 more wins than Leyland's 1,481 going into Wednesday night's game. Griffith is also enshrined at Cooperstown, although he was inducted as a player, not a manager.
    Which raises the question: Does Jim Leyland deserve to be elected to the Hall of Fame someday?
    Leyland's critics will howl, but a compelling argument can be made.
    Only 19 managers in baseball history own more wins than Leyland.
    Thirteen of those guys -- Connie Mack, John McGraw, Sparky Anderson, Bucky Harris, Joe McCarthy, Walter Alston, Leo Durocher, Casey Stengel, Bill McKechnie, Fred Clarke, Tommy Lasorda, Dick Williams, and Griffith -- already have plaques hanging on the wall in the Hall.
    Three other managers with more wins -- Bobby Cox, Tony LaRussa, and Joe Torre -- are still active and will almost surely be elected someday.
    Of those retired managers with more wins than Leyland, only Gene Mauch, Lou Pinella, and Ralph Houk are not in the Hall.
    Ten others, with fewer wins than Leyland -- Weaver, of course, as well as Miller Huggins, Al Lopez, Wilbert Robinson, Ned Hanlon, Frank Selee, Whitey Herzog, Harry Wright, Hughie Jennings, and Billy Southworth -- are also in the Hall.
    Leyland's world championship with Florida in 1997, his two trips to the World Series, with the Marlins ('97) and  Tigers ('06), and his three consecutive division titles with Pittsburgh (1990-92) will guarantee him some Cooperstown consideration once he retires.
    Leyland currently has a sub-.500 record as a manager. But so do HOFers Connie Mack and Bucky Harris.
    If you had a vote, what would you do?


Blogger msu1983 said...

With regard to the Baseball HOF, we sometimes transpose longevity for greatness. Johnny Damon has achieved career numbers that also merit discussion for the HOF, but at no point in time have I ever watched Damon and said there is one of the game's greats. I feel the same way about Leyland. I think he is an above average manager despite his sub-500 career mark, but I don't think he is among the game's greats. One more World Series title, however....

September 10, 2010 at 9:03 AM 

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