Un-A-Lloyd Failure—McClendon's Run With The Pirates one of the Worst of All Time
by Mike Carminati
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports that Lloyd McClendon may soon be fired after his Pirates got swept in a four-game series with the Astros at home while being outscored 34-8 (or 8.5 to 2 per game). Pittsburgh is now 40-55 with a .421, 21-1/2 games out of first and just a half-game ahead of lowly Cincy. It is especially galling after the Pirates reached .500 a little over a month ago (June 11) to go 10-25 ever since.
Of course, McClendon will be the first one to tell you that the reports of his demise are highly exaggerated, at least so far:
"Hell, I've been getting fired for five years. And you know what? One day, I will be fired. In this job and, if I'm lucky enough, I'll be fired two or three times. That's the nature of this business. You can't worry about those things. If I start worrying about those things, then I'm not concentrating on doing my job."
Ah, it makes me pine for the halcyon days of Larry Bowa.
Anyway, even though McClendon's little exposition on the nature of managing is pretty accuratehe's been on the verge of being fired seemingly since day oneit leaves me with a few unanswered questions.
First, how lucky would McClendon have to land another managerial post after his team's poor showing in the last five years. The Pirates 321-420 or a .433 winning percentage under McClendon's stewardship. They have finished no higher than fourth and no closer to first than thirteen games and have been as far as 32-1/2 games out.
The second question Lloyd's speech left me with was how bad was his five-year managerial stint in Pittsburgh. How often does a man get five seasons to turn a team around and manager to do nothing in those five years? (Which reminds me: how long has Bush been in the White House anyway?)
My final Lloyd-inspired question is if thinking about getting fired would cause McClendon to lose his concentration and prevent him from doing his job, would anyone be able to tell the difference?
But I digress How bad has McClendon's tenure with the Pirates been. Survey says
I took a look at all managers who led a particular franchise for at least five years (or parts of five seasons to be more precise) and ranked them inversely by the results. McClendon is not the worst, but he's up there (Note that I list them by franchise, not team. Rogers Hornsby never managed the O's but he did manage the Browns who eventually became the O's):
New York Mets
Kansas City Royals
So after looking at this, I am left with an ironic reaction. Even though I may laugh, Lloyd may get another shotit's not as if failure in an extended trial as manager prevented a number of these men from managing again (Tony Muser notwithstanding). Torre, Shotton, Stengel, and Hodges all had their share of managerial success in the future. Torre actually managed two teams to sub-.500 record over the course of at least five seasons (the Mets and Braves) before achieving legendary status with the Yankees. He's one of four managers to lead multiple teams to losing record for at least five seasons (the others being Bill Rigney, Bucky Harris, and Gene Mauch, who did it three times).
Even though the likelihood of McClendon resurfacing as a manager in another organization is low, it's not unprecedented. And he is a former backup catcher, which, I have said on multiple occasions is the most important criterion used in choosing new managers nowadays.
Because I love lists, here is the extended version of the losing manager table with everyone up to Connie Mack: