Giants' Top 5 managers: Guardado's take

June 16th, 2020

No one loves a good debate quite like baseball fans. With that in mind, we asked each of our beat reporters to rank the top five managers and players by position in the history of their franchise, based on each player’s career while with that club. These rankings are for fun and debate purposes only. We also asked fans to weigh in on Twitter:

Giants' All-Time Team: C | 1B | 2B | 3B | SS | LF | CF | RF | UTL | RHP | LHP | Relievers

Here is Maria Guardado’s ranking of the Top 5 managers in Giants history:

1) John McGraw, 1902-32
Key fact: Ranks as the franchise’s all-time winningest manager with 2,583 wins

McGraw is second to only A’s legend Connie Mack (3,731) on the all-time managerial wins list, but even Mack once declared, “There has been only one manager -- and his name is McGraw.”

After playing third base for the Orioles and Cardinals for over a decade, a 29-year-old McGraw joined the New York Giants as a player-manager during the 1902 season. He quickly became one of the most towering figures of the era, turning the Giants into perennial winners who captured 10 National League pennants, three World Series championships and posted a .591 winning percentage over his 31-year run as manager. With McGraw at the helm, the Giants finished in first or second place 21 times in his 29 full seasons as skipper.

An innovative strategist, McGraw had a penchant for acquiring and developing players who fit into his system, which emphasized strong pitching, solid defense and aggressive baserunning. He was also known for his short temper. Nicknamed “Little Napoleon,” the fiery McGraw was tossed from 131 games during his Major League career, a record that stood until the Braves’ Bobby Cox surpassed it in 2007. McGraw was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1937.

2) Bruce Bochy, 2007-19
Key fact: Only the fifth manager to lead a team to three titles in a five-year span, joining Mack, Joe McCarthy, Casey Stengel and Joe Torre

Bochy appears destined for Cooperstown after guiding the Giants to three World Series titles over his 13-year tenure in San Francisco. Bochy, who stepped down at the end of last season, posted a 2,003-2,029 record over his 25-year managerial career, including a 1,052-1,054 mark with the Giants, who hired him away from the Padres in October 2006. Bochy is one of 11 managers to record 2,000 wins and one of nine to win three or more championships; the others are enshrined in the Hall of Fame.

Overall, Bochy led his teams to four NL pennants and recorded a 44-33 (.571) mark in the postseason. Only Torre (84 wins), Tony La Russa (70) and Cox (67) have more postseason victories than Bochy. His 1,052 wins are the second most by a Giants manager, behind only McGraw.

3) Dusty Baker, 1993-2002
Key fact: Won three NL Manager of the Year Awards with the Giants, the most of any skipper in franchise history

A two-time All-Star outfielder with the Dodgers, Baker joined the Giants’ coaching staff in 1988 and served as a hitting coach for four seasons before being tapped to succeed Roger Craig ahead of the '93 campaign. In his first year as the Giants’ manager, Baker helped engineer one of the greatest turnarounds in franchise history, inheriting a 72-90 club and guiding it to a 103-59 finish. His Giants teams went on to capture two division titles, a Wild Card berth and an NL pennant, which culminated in a seven-game loss to the Angels in the 2002 World Series. Baker posted an 840-715 record over his 10 years in San Francisco, compiling the third-most wins in club history behind Bochy and McGraw.

4) Leo Durocher, 1948-55
Key fact: Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in '94

After serving a one-year ban for “an accumulation of unpleasant incidents,” the brash Durocher made the unexpected jump from the Brooklyn Dodgers to the New York Giants in 1948. Durocher ended up enjoying his greatest triumphs with the Giants, the team that had inspired his famous phrase, “nice guys finish last.” In 1951, Durocher oversaw the famed Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff, as the Giants erased a 13 1/2-game deficit to force a three-game playoff with Brooklyn, which culminated in Bobby Thomson’s pennant-winning “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Three years later, the Giants swept the heavily favored Indians in the 1954 World Series to clinch their final championship in New York. Overall, Durocher recorded a 637-523 mark over his eight seasons as the Giants’ skipper.

5) Bill Terry, 1932-41
Key fact: Elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a player in '54

Terry was named the New York Giants’ player-manager in the middle of the 1932 season after McGraw resigned from his post due to deteriorating health and the club’s poor performance on the field. The following season, Terry led the Giants to the '33 World Series title while doubling as the club’s top hitter, with a .322 average. The standout first baseman ended his playing career after '36, but he stayed on to manage the Giants for five more seasons, guiding the club to two more NL pennants and an 823-661 record over his decade-long tenure.

Honorable mentions

Hired following the club’s wretched 100-loss season in 1985, Roger Craig immediately steered the Giants back into relevancy, resulting in a 21-game leap in the win column in '86 and an NL West title in '87. In '89, the Giants captured the NL pennant and made their first World Series appearance since '62, though they were ultimately swept by the crossbay rival A’s. … The Giants’ managerial history includes two trailblazers in Frank Robinson and Felipe Alou, who became the first African-American and Dominican-born skippers in Major League history, respectively.