Gibby Checks In at No. 2

Joe Posnanski has a fun exercise over on his blog today — if you were to stack up all big league managers based on their playing abilities, how would they rank?

You would assume that Kirk Gibson would do quite well on this list, and you would assume right.

Gibby checks in at No. 2 behind Joe Torre:

2. Kirk Gibson, Arizona Diamondbacks
I remember there being a lot of argument about whether or not Kirk Gibson deserved the MVP award in 1988. The argument was usually for Darryl Strawberry, who had an OPS that was 50 points higher (though in those days the talk was more about how he drove in 101 RBIs while Gibson drove in 79), and was in many camps considered a more deserving choice.

What I find compelling is that, according to the much maligned Wins Above Replacement stat — at least the Baseball Reference version — the sportswriters got it right. Gibson had a 7.3 WAR — best in the league — while Strawberry’s WAR was 5.9. See, if WAR would just agree with what sportswriters already think MORE OFTEN, it might become the stat of choice.

The other four skippers in the top five managers-as-players are all good at their current jobs, actually (Gibby hasn’t even been at this for a full season). Career winning percentages:

1. Joe Torre – .539 (4 World Series wins)

3. Dusty Baker – .523 (one World Series appearance)

4. Mike Scioscia – .551 (one World Series win, over Baker, incidentally)

5. Ozzie Guillen – .528 (one World Series win)


Lest you think you actually have to have been a good player to be a good manager, you’d be wrong, at least based on the guys Joe has at the very bottom of the list:

31. Jim Leyland – .496 (one World Series win, another WS appearance)

32. Joe Maddon – .500 (one World Series appearance, almost certainly going to the playoffs this year)


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