Former MLB Players as Managers: What The Past Tells Us

Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /
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Philadelphia Phillies
Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images /

With teams like the Phillies and Mets looking for their next manager, are former MLB players the best candidates? Let’s see what history can tell us!

As with every October, baseball is in the midst of both the playoffs and the MLB managerial vacancy frenzy. Many of the popular candidates are former MLB players looking to remain in the game and ultimately guide a club to a World Series title.

How good were they in their playing days, and can we infer anything about their managerial success from their statistics?

Consider October arguably the most entertaining month of baseball will argue. The MLB playoffs are routinely intriguing, filled with dramatic walk-offs, high-stakes strikeouts, and teams reaching heights they’ve previously struggled to get to before. With so much excitement, it’s relatively easy to forget about baseball’s other thread that spins during the fall, the managerial frenzy.

As playoff baseball takes center stage, the 22 teams that fail to reach the Divisional Series are left to ponder why they failed to reach the postseason. This leads some to make drastic decisions, the most entertaining of which being firing their respective manager. After a team’s ship crashes prior to reaching October, front offices decide to instill a new captain to guide their crew. This leads to a hotly-contested search across baseball, as teams work to hire their top candidate before another franchise does.

As it stands, a total of seven teams are searching for their next manager, following Joe Maddon joining the Los Angeles Angels. This offseason consists of some former managers, such as Joe Girardi and Buck Showalter, as well as candidates new to manning a clubhouse, like Carlos Beltran and Jason Kendall. However, an intriguing similarity amongst many of these candidates is that the majority of them are former Major Leaguers themselves.

That being said, not each candidate had a successful career as a player. In fact, the disparity that exists amongst their achievements is evidently huge when looking at former MLB players as managers. This invites us to question if there’s any relationship between a player’s success on the field and within the dugout, or whether there’s a specific type of player that “fits the mold” of a manager once their playing days are over.