Sorry that I haven’t been around lately but with all the recent inactivity with the Mets , I took a short vacation with the wife to Long Island’s wine country. Of course while I was away round two of the Mets managerial search picked up steam with the call backs of Backman, Hale, Melvin and Collins. I reiterate that I will support whoever the Mets deem to be the right man to (hopefully) guide the Mets back on the winning path .
While these call backs were being conducted down in Orlando Florida, I started thinking about Mets managers through the years, and I wondered who truly was the worst Mets managers ever. Through the last 49 years the Mets have had 19 managers – 20 if you count whoever is announced on Tuesday. Of these 19 only six have had winning records, ( Hodges, Berra, Johnson, Valentine and Randolph) .
But in my opinion I have to give an exemption to another seven managers . These managers include Stengel, Parker, Westrum, McMillan, Frazier, Torre, and yes interim manager of seven games – Mike Cubbage. I feel that these men managed during times that the Mets were not expected to win. In the Case of the Mets first three managers, the team was constructed to get fans in the seats by bringing in marquee names that were past their prime, along with rookie players that were not ready for the big leagues. The next set of managers, ( McMillan, Frazier and Torre) were hired during a time of transition in the Mets front office. It was a time where M . Donald Grant took the reigns of the Mets finances and hamstrung the Mets general managers – by not allowing them to sign the top flight talent that were being made available in the newly organized free agent system. Grant also found it hard to part with a single penny when it came to give the talent on the Mets roster much deserved raises, which saw many a talented player either bolt the team or request to be traded, hence the Mets would become a laughing stock of the league. So yes I feel the Mets managers of the mid to late ’70′s deserve a pass.
So here are your candidates for the worst manager of all time.
George Bamberger ( ’82-’83) In two seasons and 208 games as the skipper of the Mets, Bamberger compiled a 81 -127 record which translated to a winning percentage of .389 . In George’s defense he came back to manage as a favor to then general manager, Frank Cashen. He would quit midway through the ’03 season.
Bamberger would be replaced by then hitting coach and Washington Senators hitting legend, Frank Howard. But unfortunately “Hondo” couldn’t get the team to win and in a half season at the helm of the Mets he went 52- 64 in 116 games which was good enough for a 0.448 winning percentage.
The next contestant – and in my opinion the worst Mets manager ever, Jeff Torborg. In his two years as Mets manager, Torborg managered 200 games , going 85 -115 which translates to a winning percentage of 0.425. Torborg’s laid back persona coupled with the fact that he was managing a team full of under performing superstars( Bonilla, Murray, Gooden, Saberhagen)would help seal his fate. He would be fired midway through the ’92 season, only to be replaced by our next contestant. Mr. Dallas Green.
Dallas Green was a fiery manager in every sense of the word. He came from the Billy Martin school of managing which courses included ” Getting into fights with players 101,” how to make a spectacle of yourself when being ejected by a umpire” and my personal favorite – ” How to berate up and coming rookie talent ” Needless to say Green would pilot the Mets for almost four years and in 512 for the Mets he would compile a record of 229 -283 , which was good enough for a 0.447 winning percentage.
Next up was ” Mr Sunshine” himse;f, Art Howe. Art Howe fell into the same pitfalls the Jeff Torborg did. He was very laid back and the talent on the Mets at the time underperformed for him. In his two seasons and 323 games for the Mets , Howe would compile a record of 137 -186 with a putrid winning percentage of 0.424.
That leaves us with the latest Mets managerial casualty, Jerry Manuel . In his two and a half seasons with the Mets, Manuel went 204- 213 with a winning percentage of 0.489 . Jerry was always quick with a joke whether the Mets won or lost, but he had a penchant for making in game blunders, overusing his bullpen, under utilizing his starting pitching and the occasional punishing players who didn’t seem like they deserved to be in his dog house .
I am throwing Willie Randolph’s 3 and half year stats as Mets manager out there, and I will dare anybody to tell my how he was a bad manager . In 555 games as manager, Willie Randolph went 302- 253 and a winning percentage of 0.544. Willie’s fatal flaw was that he was not well equipped to handle the New York media which bred his mistrust and subsequent paranoia. His playing the race card a few weeks before his firing didn’t help his case either.
So who do you think was the Mets all time worst manager? there are plenty of candidates, so make your case.
And with that said…. HERE COMES THE INFAMY !!!!!
Mets alumni celebrating birthdays today are :
Possibly the best hitting coach the Mets have ever had – Tom McCraw is 69 today (1941) .
On and off Mets utilityman from from the ’80 – ’87,Bill Almon is 58 (1952) .
Mets second baseman from the ’92 season,Dick Schofield is 48 (1962) .
Relief pitcher from ’99, Dan Murray is 37 (1973) .
New York Mets signed free agent relief pitcher, Tom Hausman of the Milwaukee Brewers on November 21, 1977. It was the Mets first free agent the Mets had ever signed.
The Pittsburgh Pirates signed relief pitcher, Andy Hassler of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 21, 1979.
The Oakland A’s signed spot starter/ middle reliever, Dave Telgheder of the New York Mets as a free agent on November 21, 1995.
New York Mets signed free agent outfielder, Steve Bieser of the Montreal Expos on November 21, 1996.
And don’t forget, there are just 131 days until the Mets open the 2011 season against the Florida Marlins in Miami.and just 138 days until the Mets 2011 home opener against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field.
Mo Vaughn has taken up animal husbandry during the offseason !