Baseball teams are only as good as the product out on the playing field. The lineup card and batting lineup come from the baseball manager every day, but what else does a baseball manager do? Find out more about this below!
What Does a Manager Do in Major League Baseball?
The baseball manager handles more day-to-day operations. For example, they fill out the lineup card, make changes like going to the bullpen, swap in a pinch hitter, bring in a pinch-runner, inspire the team, and answer questions in the media. The baseball manager also works with the baseball General Manager during the offseason and regular season on building out a winning roster with positions to fill. Finally, a baseball manager needs to be up to date on all new and old rule changes in the game.
How Much do Baseball Managers Make?
According to Audacy.com, baseball managers make north of $1 Million a season. Compensation depends on numerous factors like a manager’s track record, years of experience, and success in areas like getting to the postseason and or winning the World Series. Below are some of the highest-earning baseball managers as of 2021.
- Terry Francona: Makes $4.2 Million a year with the Cleveland Indians. He has a Win-Loss record as a manager of 1,702 – 1,434 from 1997 – 2020, resulting in a 54% win percentage. Terry Francona has that managerial record with a combination of time with the Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians.
- Joe Maddon: Makes $4 Million a year with the Los Angeles Angels. He has a Win-Loss record as a manager of 1,278 – 1,102 from 1996 – 2020, resulting in a 53% win percentage. Joe Maddon has been the manager of the California Angels, Tampa Bay Devil Rays (Tampa Bay Rays), Chicago Cubs, and Los Angeles Angels.
- Joe Girardi: Makes $3.6 Million a year with the Philadelphia Phillies. He has a Win-Loss record as a manager of 1,016 – 826 from 2006 – 2020, resulting in a 55% win percentage. Joe has been the manager of the Florida Marlins, New York Yankees, and Philadelphia Phillies.
What Makes a Good Baseball Manager?
What makes a good baseball manager is subjective in what a team values. For example, some teams like to hire former players who played for an organization and know the ins and outs. Let’s take the New York Yankees manager from 2008 – 2017, Joe Girardi. Joe Girardi was on the New York Yankees from 1996 – 1999 as their catcher and was part of three World Series championships. Girardi then became the New York Yankees manager in 2008 and helped the New York Yankees won a World Series in 2009.
Outside of a former player playing the game or being part of an organization, some teams look for MLB managers from first being a bench coach. A bench coach on a team is almost second in command to the baseball manager. Teams carry a bench coach, which helps out a manager with their day-to-day decisions. Since the bench coach is in second in command, teams tend to hire them to manage their team via a promotion.
Finally, a good manager is someone who motivates the team to play good professional baseball. Whether it is making intelligent game decisions on the spot to inspiring the dugout by getting tossed for sticking up for a player, teams want a spark from their coaching staff and manager. While not every Major League baseball manager needs to yell at everyone to motivate them, having someone that can get the best out of their team is critical to gaining a team’s confidence in your role.
Are Baseball Managers Important?
A manager sets the tone with their demeanor and actions, which are overlooked in the era of advanced metrics. To see how valuable a manager can be for a team, we can look at the Tampa Bay Rays and their losing organization. The Tampa Bay Devil Rays were 518-775 from 1998 – 2005 and had a 40% Win Record. The team had zero confidence, and the fanbase had no reason to get behind the organization. Something needed to change drastically for the organization, and that change came with a new baseball manager.
Joe Maddon took over the team as the baseball coach from 2006 – 2014. During that time, the Rays record was 754 – 705 and had a 52% Win Record. The Rays even went to the World Series in 2008, which was the first for the franchise. While the Rays team got better from front office moves, fantastic bullpen, and great minor league talent playing in the majors, having a baseball manager that brought a winning mentality put it all together.
Joe Maddon then became the baseball manager of the Chicago Cubs from 2015 – 2019. In 2016, Joe Maddon and the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, just as shocking as the Tampa Bay Devil Rays making the World Series. Joe Maddon left the Chicago Cubs with a 471-339 win-loss record, which comes out to 58%, and is now on the Los Angeles Angles as of 2021.
Can Baseball Managers Get Fired?
Yes, baseball managers can get fired at any time for any reason. Famously, George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees fired Billy Marin (and rehired) five times as the baseball manager. George Steinbrenner changed the manager twenty times in his first twenty-three years owning the New York Yankees. Steinbrenner also went through plenty of other front office and clubhouse staff, so managers weren’t the only position getting fired by the Boss.
Which Baseball Manager Has the Most Wins?
Connie Mack has the most wins (and losses) in baseball history. He has 3,948 wins, almost one thousand more than Tony La Russa, who has 2,782 as of July 14th, 2021. Below are the top five players with the most wins, but you can visit Wikipedia for the entire list.
- Connie Mack: 3,731
- Tony La Russa: 2,782
- John McGraw: 2,763
- Bobby Cox: 2,504
- Joe Torre: 2,326
In summary, baseball managers play a critical role in motivating players to play at their best level. While the GM constructs the team, the manager needs to play with the chess pieces they have from the GM to win. While data analytics and more are taking over the sport of baseball, there is merit in having someone in the clubhouse and dugout who can motivate the players to be winners.