Monday, March 18, 2013

Hey Skip!

It’s tough being the manager.  All the players get to make like they’re striking out the side, or hitting the walk-off home run, or getting ready to spear that line drive and save the game in the bottom of the ninth.

So, what do you get to do?  Basically, it’s arms folded or arms akimbo.  Oh, want to get really creative?  Try that pose on the top steps of the dugout.  Now, we’re talkin’!

Well, there was one other possibility.  It’s not for the shy though.  You ready?  Okay, pretend you’re yelling something to one of your players out there on the field.  Oh, I don’t know.  He’s in the wrong spot, or he needs a little encouragement, or his fly’s open.  Whatever.

Okay, here we go now.  First, cup your hands.  Now, open your mouth.  That’s it!  You got it!

That’s it?  C’mon, Harry.  You’re gonna need to get into it a little more than that.

Poor Harry Craft.  Managing the KC Athletics, late 50s Cubs, and Colt .45s is not going to do wonders for your won-lost record now, is it?  Poor bugger never finished above seventh.  Maybe that explains his distinct lack of enthusiasm here.

As a player, Harry was a starting outfielder for the Reds in the late 30s and early 40s, getting in a couple of World Series (though hitting only .083 there).  His nickname was “Wildfire.”  That’s irony, right?  Please tell me that’s irony.

Marginally better, Chuck.  But, really guys.  We’re gonna have to step it up here.

Chuck Dressen was manager of the Boys of Summer.  He skippered the Bums from 1951 through 1953, winning the pennant twice.  He also managed the Reds, Senators, and Braves, as well as the Tigers.  Overall, he won over 1000 games. 

As a player, he was a starter at third for the Reds in the late ‘20s.  Not many people know it, but he also was a quarterback in the NFL, in its very earliest days.


Now, that’s more like it.  Get your hand a little closer to your face, though, Gene.  It looks like somebody maybe just stepped on your toes or something.

Gene Mauch won the most games without ever snagging a pennant.  He came within one game of doing so no less than three times.  His 1,902 victories put him at number twelve all time.  Not too shabby.

As a player, Gene was nowhere near as accomplished.  He bounced around for nine years, getting only 737 at bats and five homers, and finishing with a .237 average.

Oh, almost forgot – he was known for a really nice tan.


I like it, I like it.  It’s like you’re trying to yell something out to the left fielder.  Move him over a little, huh?  Maybe tell him to pay attention?  Tell him he forgot his glove?

Poor Wes Westrum took over the hapless Mets of the early ‘60s from Casey Stengle.  He got a chance to manage again, with San Fran in 74 and 75, but it wasn’t enough to get the old won/lost percentage above .415 lifetime.

Wesley Noreen (Yup, Noreen) Westrum was a decent catcher, starting regularly for the Giants in the early 50s.  He never hit for average (his lifetime mark was .217), but he could swat the long ball (he hit over 20 twice).  He was a two-time All Star and batted .250 in two Fall classics.  Wes ranks ninth all time in caught stealing percentage.


Now we’re talkin’.  See guys.  That’s what I mean.  Love it, Johnny!

Johnny Keane managed for six years, finishing with a respectable 398-350 record.  His main claim to fame is winning the ‘64 series with the Cards, then switching the next year to the team he defeated, the Yankees.  He never played in the majors. 

Perfect!  Absolutely perfect.

Sam Mele was a pretty decent manager.  He managed seven years, all with the Twins, and finished 524-436, with one World Series appearance to his credit.

As a player, Sam bounced around for ten years, with six different teams.  He actually started for seven of those years, and retired with over 1000 games, 500 RBIs, and 400 runs.

His real first name was “Sabath.”  “Sam” came from his initials.

* - author has this card

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