There have been strong rumblings about New York Mets manager Jerry Manuel being replaced with the team off to a slow start (albeit in a small sample).Â 6 games into the season this is not unprecedented.Â In 1988 The Baltimore Orioles fired Cal Ripken after 6 games.Â In 2002 the Detroit Tigers fired Phil Garner after 6 games.Â Both teams were 0-6.Â I found that information at a blog called Walk Like A Sabermetrician which has a chart and graph filled article about mid-season managerial changes and their effect that you may find informative.Â They suggest that typically there is a small uptick in the winning percentage of the team whose manager has been changed, but wonder whether that is attributable to the manager or simply to regression to the mean.
That article linked to another article at The Hardball Times which uses binomial distribution to further illuminate said regression to the mean.
I suggest before anyone of us comes to a conclusion about whether Jerry Manuel should be fired immediately (or soon) that we read and digest both articles.Â I read them, but I can’t say that I digested them as much as they gave me indigestion.Â But I will say that both articles, as I understood them, conclude that mid-season firings of managers in and of themselves do not lead to any noteworthy increase in productivity or achievement from the ballclubs they managed.
The Walk Like A Sabermetrician article sums up:Â “…one might well expect that many of these teams would improve on their own, whether a managerial change was made or not. It is of course impossible to say to what extent that is true . One must grant the possibility, however far-fetched it may be, that these managers were all an albatross around the neck of the club, dragging it down and preventing it from reaching its true potential. I don’t buy it, certainly not in the majority of cases. Managers are relatively fungible, and so they are offered up as penance for a poor season, demonstrating to the fans or the players or the media that the brass is being proactive.”
The Harball Times article sums up:Â “…teams donâ€™t seem to benefit at all from hiring a new manager mid-season…”
I encourage you all to draw your own conclusions.