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Baseball Analysis   John Korsgaard / The Players


By John Korsgaard

In a recent USA Today sports weekly, Bob Nightengale points out that in just over a year, 18 teams have made 22 managerial changes. This has come in the wake of a period of stability and largely serves as a balancing act. The wave of stability was unprecedented in the expansion era. So, it follows that the mad revolving doors are unprecedented.

But here is a division by division look because I want to show you something else.

AL East

The stable Mr Torre-ironic that the once most fluctuating managerial office is serene and not among Bob's 18. Boston's Jimmy Williams gave way to Grady Little. Toronto's Buck Martinez to Carlos Tosca. In Baltimore, Mike Hargrove seemed like one the more recent changes but not any more. At the beginning of the year, the only two DHs to be real managers, McRae and Baylor were in place. They are gone now, although Piniella did consdierable DHing alongside LF duties.

5 clubs, 8 guys: 2 DH, 2 Catcher, one 1B, one utility and 2 with no Major League playing time.

AL Central

Kelly gave way to Gardenhire. Muser to Pena. Garner to Pujols to Trammell. Manuel to Skinner to Wedge. Jerry Manuel now senior guy. 4 out of 11 catchers.

AL West

Scioscia the only one left from two months ago. Howe to Macha. Piniella to ???. Oates to Narron to Showalter. 4 out of 7 catchers.


Cox-senior to everybody everywhere. Torborg to Robby. Boles to Torborg. Bowa has been around awhile now (comparatively). Valentine to Howe.Just the one catcher but he is involved twice.

NL Central

Larussa senior here. Williams from Dierker. Boone. McClendon. Lopes to Royster to Yost. Baylor to Kimm to ??? 4 of 10 catchers

NL West

Baker is now on the move. Tracy, like Hargrove & Bowa, suddenly long-term by comparison. Bochy the all time Padre by now. Bell to Hurdle. Brenly. 2 of 6 catchers.

So, catchers are not the majority but they are sure as heck way out in front of any other position. 17 of 'em. No other position over 5.

This is well known but underappreciated.

The historical picture since 1900 (and I'm not counting hirings, just men)

< {less than} 60 shortstops around 60 with no MLB experience

< 50 2B and < 50 3B

< 40 1B

< 65 outfield counting all 3 spots

35 pitchers and....

95 Catchers

So, that is data that confirms what is always chattered about....What about the chattering that says that bench players are more often managers than regulars ?

A quick survery of the catchers and middle infielders reveals that of less than 200 guys 113 were solid regulars for at least two years. Many more like, say, Doc Edwards or ZacK Taylor were mostly back-ups but good enough to platoon or fill in one year and were around in the vicinity of a decade. More research could be done. But look for example at the ten shortstops who managed the most games.










You got everything from Hall Of Famers to the all American out, but with the exception of Valentine, who had a injury cut short his career, you've got guys with 6-12 years as a regular.

At 2B, of course, the one year Sparky Anderson and definite back-ups Larussa and Mauch. But the top twenty besides Rigney and Quilici are:






Davy Johnson









What makes this better than half ratio impresssive is that, of course, the half is from a possible pool of "regulars" numbering about 1000. The other half has everybody else to draw from at those three positions...closer to 3000.

One of you with a way to measure more precisely, may find that an interesting project

Now some hopelessly awful trivia and an even worse trivia question.

There were three catchers in 2002 named Wilson who were active. Tom, Dan and Vance. Dan qualifies as a regular, Tom split duties with Ken Huckaby so has not yet been a regular. Since 1901 there have 4 regular catchers named Wilson. That is ahead of Williams and ahead of Johnson and even tied with Smith. Additionally, there were no 19th century regular catchers named Smith while Parke Wilson was a games leader for two years. If you add Schmidt it's a different story. There were three of them.

Anyway, the Wilson's are Dan, Artie, Jimmy and Red. The Smiths were Oil, Harry and two Hals who were contemporaneous.

I'm sure you could not have lived without that info.

Now here is the worse question. There have been 11 non-pitching Robinsons who were MLB regulars at least one year. 8 Of them multi-year.

In the 19th century we have Uncle Wilbert behind the plate and Yank at second base.

In the 20th, the nine are incredibly a catcher, a 1B, a 5 year regular 2B, a SS, a 3B and four outfielders. If we put Frank at Dh we've got a lineup, no more... no less. Just guys who were regualrs now. Craig is the shortstop.

Incredibly, the other 8 took the field at onetime or another with Mickey Mantle. Seven of the eight were regulars in the same year as Mickey was a regular.

I've already mentioned Frank, who was an opposing all star and an opponent in the 1961 World Series. Jackie is at 2B and Brooks at 3B.

The catcher was not a regular in any same year. The 1B was early in Mick's career.Two other outfielders were mid-career while Bill played with Mickey late career.

One of the outfielders was only a technical regular one year. In fact, I might ask the trivia question this way:

Name the 7th best Robinson to play against Mickey Mantle. Now, the other outfielder, the 1B and the catcher. Scroll down aways to find your answer.



Ofs-Floyd and Earl (7th best)

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