Hall of Famers players can manage, too
Sandberg's tenure in Philly adds to fallacy that former greats struggle as skippers
Ryne Sandberg became the fourth manager to be replaced this season. But he's different than Mike Redmond, who managed Miami, Bud Black, who managed the Padres, and Ron Roenicke, who managed Milwaukee. Sandberg is a Hall of Famer, elected for induction in Cooperstown in 2005 for his playing career.
Sandberg is among 62 former Hall of Fame players who have managed in the big leagues. And along with Ted Williams and current Twins manager Paul Molitor, Sandberg is one of only three Hall of Famers to become a skipper after being inducted into Cooperstown.
Sandberg's decision to step down as the manager of the Phillies with a 119-160 career managerial record will be the latest piece of evidence for those who claim a Hall of Fame player can't handle the job of managing, because -- among other things -- as such a good player, legends have trouble relating to the bulk of the players.
It's a myth.
History is not as unkind to Hall of Famers who became manager as the cynics.
There have been 309 men who have managed 320 or more big league games, including 40 who were Hall of Famers as players, according to Baseball-Reference.com. Twenty-four of the 40 Hall of Famers with 210 games or more on their managerial ledger had winning records, compared to 124 of the 269 managers who were not Hall of Famers as a player.
Frank Chance -- as in Tinkers to Evers to Chance -- is seventh on the all-time list with a .593 winning percentage to show for his 11 years as a manager. Hall of Fame players have four of the top 20 winning percentages all-time -- Chance, Mickey Cochrane (11th, .582), Cap Anson (14th, .578) and John Ward (20th, .563).
What could have been
George Brett was in line to become a Hall of Famer who managed. When Jim Leyland resigned as skipper of the Rockies following the 1999 season, Brett was in line for the job. Charlie and Dick Monfort, along with the late Jerry McMorris, were the franchise's general partners, and the Monforts became acquainted with Brett through Brett's father-in-law.
The Monforts offered Brett the job and he was prepared to accept, but Dan O'Dowd, who had been hired as the Rockies' general manager in September 1999, had a longstanding commitment to hire Buddy Bell as manager if he became a GM. O'Dowd wouldn't back down from his desire to hire Bell, and Brett withdrew from consideration.
Brett has remained with the Royals in a front office position, although he did serve two months as an interim hitting coach. Bell was fired 16 games into his third season with the Rockies with a composite 161-185 record. He previously had managed the Tigers and later managed the Royals, finishing his managerial career with a .418 winning percentage (519-724).
Carrying the Cowboy banner
Former first-round Draft pick Brandon Nimmo is one of the Mets players who was selected to appear in the Futures Game. He is the first Wyoming native to be selected to appear in the game, and his selection by the Mets as the 13th player taken overall in the 2011 Draft made him the second Wyoming native taken in the first round.
Not that Wyoming is a fertile ground for future baseball players.
There have been only 14 players born in Wyoming to appear in the big leagues -- three more than Alaska, which ranks last among states in terms of producing big leaguers. And Nimmo is attempting to become only the third player born and raised in Wyoming to play in the big leagues. Mike Devereaux and Mike Lansing are the only two so far, but both were college signs -- Devereaux out of Arizona State and Lansing out of Wichita State.
Nimmo was a prep pick whose amateur experience came with Cheyenne's American Legion program. Wyoming does not have high school baseball.
The 12 other big league players born in Wyoming all moved away before high school, including current Pirates coach Rick Sofield, a first-round pick of the Twins (13th overall) in 1975. Sofield grew up in New Jersey and spent "a couple days" in Wyoming. His dad was stationed at Warren Air Force Base in Cheyenne when Sofield was born.
Tom Browning was born in Casper, but he went to high school in Glens Falls, N.Y. However, he did return in the summers to spend time with his father, and he played for the Casper American Legion team.
Other big league players born in Wyoming include John Buck, Dennis DeBarr, Dick Ellsworth, Jan Dukes, Bob Harris, Jeremy Horst, Bucky Jacobsen, Dan Spillner, Zach Walters and Bill Wilkinson, whose father, Tom, played quarterback at the University of Wyoming and with the Edmonton Eskimos.
Monday will be the 25h anniversary of the A's Dave Stewart and Dodgers' Fernando Valenzuela pitching no-hitters on the same day -- the first time that had occured in big league history. Hippo Vaughn of the Cubs and Fred Toney Reds both pitched nine no-hit innings in a game against each other in Chicago on May 2, 1917, but in the top of the 10th Vaughn gave up a run on two hits, losing his no-hitter. Toney finished off his no-hitter in the bottom of the 10th.
• The Rockies open a three-game Interleague series at Oakland on Monday, looking to avoid a dubious record for consecutive road games lost in Interleague Play. The Rockies have lost their past 13 Interleague road games, tied with the Pirates (June 18, 2009-June 19, 2011) for the second-ongest Interleauge road losing streak in history. The Dodgers (June 14, 2005-June 28, 2006) hold the record of 15 Interleague road losses in a row.
• On Wednesday, Yankees third baseman Chase Headley became the first Colorado-born Major Leaguer to hit 100 career home runs. Earlier this season, Arizona first baseman Paul Goldschmidt became the first Delaware-born player to hit 100. There has not been a player born in Alaska, Maine or New Hampshire to hit 100 home runs, according to stats guru Lee Sinins.
• The Giants are 9-3 against the Dodgers and 32-32 against all other teams.