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Art Howe, Jr.
2005-10-06 09:45
by Mike Carminati

What is Ken Macha thinking? Didn't he realize when he was hired that Billy Beane and the A's don't really care who runs the club in the field so long as he follows orders.

Why does he think he was hired in the first place? Why did he think the A's were indifferent to their previous manager, Art Howe, signing a megadeal to pilot the Mets (however briefly that lasted)?

Like Howe, Macha seems to think that he had a large part in the A's sustained success. Billy Beane knows different. That's why no-name Macha was hired in the first place. Beane seemed to be saying, "Just shut up and fill out the lineup card, make an occasional pitching change. But don't think that you run the show. Don't be like Howe."

Apparently, Macha let it all go to his head, and when negotiations began with the A's they realized that the manager and the team were worlds apart in terms of the money involved. This is a particularly dubious strategy for Macha when Beane is still in the midst of his mini-rebuild of the team.

So while the Tigers lock up veteran manager Jim Leyland and other veterans like Jim Tracy and Lou Piniella troll for work, don't expect the A's to waste more than league-minimum on a new manager. Beane puts every cent in the personnel on the field. So expect another no-name former coach or minor-league manager in the organization to be named the team manager by next spring. Current Triple-A affiliate Sacramento River Cats' manager Tony DeFrancesco and former Sacramento manager and current A's bullpen coach Bob Geren come to mind. (Bench coach Rene Lachmann fits the veteran manager mold to well.)

Macha was 275-211 with a .566 winning percentage in three seasons, which made me wonder if any previous manager had been let go after three years with that degree of success.

As it turns out, I found 54 managerial stints in which a team was run by one man for three years or less and the record exceeded Macha's in Oakland. Of course, there were a number for franchises that became defunct and managers who were still active with the respective club. There still are 43, many Red Sox (Grady Little, anyone?) and Yankee firings of bygone days. There are two from the early Seventies A's dynasties. So Macha's departure from Oakland is hardly historic, but I still find it more than a bit odd.

Here's the full list:

Bill McGunnigleBrooklyn BridegroomsAA188818903268138.660
Jim HartBoston BeaneatersNL1889188918345.648
Pop SnyderCincinnati Red StockingsAA18821884314076.648
Chuck DressenBrooklyn DodgersNL195119533298166.642
Gus SchmelzColumbus BuckeyesAA1884188416939.639
Ralph HoukNew York YankeesAL196119633309176.637
Dick HowserNew York YankeesAL19801980110359.636
Jim MutrieNew York MetropolitansAA18831884212974.635
Mike WalshLouisville EclipseAA1884188416840.630
Al SpaldingChicago White StockingsNL1876187727847.624
Charlie ComiskeySt. Louis BrownsAA1891189118652.623
Jake StahlBoston Red SoxAL19121913214488.621
Bucky HarrisNew York YankeesAL194719482191117.620
Lon KnightPhiladelphia AthleticsAA18831884212778.620
Yogi BerraNew York YankeesAL1964196419963.611
Joe McCarthyBoston Red SoxAL194819503223145.606
Harry WrightProvidence GraysNL18821883211072.604
Dick WilliamsOakland AthleticsAL197119733288190.603
Steve O'NeillBoston Red SoxAL19501951215099.602
Bob O'FarrellSt. Louis CardinalsNL1927192719261.601
Billy MartinMinnesota TwinsAL1969196919765.599
Bill JoyceNew York GiantsNL189618983179122.595
Bill McKechnieSt. Louis CardinalsNL19281929212988.594
Billy MartinNew York YankeesAL198319853182125.593
Jack BarryBoston Red SoxAL1917191719062.592
John WardNew York GiantsNL189318942156108.591
Cal McVeyCincinnati RedsNL1878187927151.582
Clark GriffithChicago White SoxAL190119022157113.581
Gus SchmelzCincinnati Red StockingsAA188718893237171.581
Alvin DarkOakland AthleticsAL197419752188136.580
Grady LittleBoston Red SoxAL200220032188136.580
Donie BushPittsburgh PiratesNL192719293246178.580
Fred LakeBoston Red SoxAL19081909211080.579
Arthur IrwinPhiladelphia PhilliesNL189418952149110.575
Johnny EversChicago CubsNL1913191318865.575
Billy HunterTexas RangersAL197719782146108.575
Davey JohnsonBaltimore OriolesAL199619972186138.574
Harvey KuennMilwaukee BrewersAL198219832159118.574
Jim PriceNew York GothamsNL1884188415642.571
Ossie VittCleveland IndiansAL193819403262198.570
Rogers HornsbySt. Louis CardinalsNL192519262153116.569
Frank BancroftCleveland BluesNL1883188315542.567
George BambergerMilwaukee BrewersAL197819803235180.566
Dallas GreenPhiladelphia PhilliesNL197919813169130.565
Steve O'NeillPhiladelphia PhilliesNL195219543182140.565
Al BuckenbergerPittsburgh PiratesNL189218943374288.565
Marty MarionChicago White SoxAL195419563179138.565
2005-10-06 10:15:53
1.   Bob Timmermann
McGunnigle actually should be listed as AA/NL since Brooklyn switched leagues after 1889. And McGunnigle won pennants in two consecutive years in two different leagues.

But I think he only lost his job because after the Players League folded, Brooklyn got Monte Ward on its team and Ward such a star that there was no way he couldn't be the manager/team captain.

And Ward played, unlike McGunnigle, who was one of the first fulltime managers who had no intention of ever going on the field and not in charge of the business end either.

And McGunnigle has the highest winning percentage of any Dodger manager who wasn't just an interim manager.

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