Hall Of Fame Debate: Rank ‘Em – Joe Torre VS Bobby Cox VS Tony LaRussa
I think that it is safe to say that in time the trio of Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and Tony LaRussa will all be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
If I was a betting man, and this was a bet with any kind of odds, I would bet the house on this one. Each of these managers left an impression on the sport, on the fans of the teams that they coached, and maybe most important – they left impressions on the teams and fans that were battling against them.
I could comfortably state that Torre, Cox, and LaRussa are the cream of the crop as it relates to successful major league managers from their eras.
With that all being said – how easy is it to say which one is better?
Because what the manager does is not measured in numbers. At least not in any numbers in which they are awarded for good decisions and penalized for bad ones.
But the good ones, the really good ones, seem to get the best out of their best players and the best out of the ones that are lower on the totem pole as well.
Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa can all take great pride in the team and individual successes of the players that the managed as they certainly had a hand in that success.
For tonight’s ‘Hall of Fame Debate’ I am asking for you to give me the order in which these three great coaches should be inducted into the Hall of Fame. They’re all going to get in – it’s just a matter of time before that happens.
But, who deserves to get in first, second, and third??
While you cannot judge all that a manager does by the numbers his teams put up, it is nice to compare both players and managers in similar categories.
So, here is a side-by-side-by-side comparison of the trio:
|1st place finishes
|Last place finishes
|World Series Titles
|Manager Of The Year
The numbers stack up pretty well for these three guys, huh? For me, the only thing that really stands out is how close to a .500 winning percentage each manager is over the course of their careers. Deemed as uber-successful, they are all very close to 50%.
And now, time for me to divulge my rankings.
First, a little chatter about each guy:
- Cox – you cannot ignore the consecutive seasons in which his Braves teams won their division. I find it to be one of the most impressive feats in baseball history.
- Torre – he had to manage a ton of egos during his run as the manager of the Yankees. He did it with grace, and it looked like all of his players valued his style.
- LaRussa – he did it twice, with two clubs. And he did it with the game’s greatest players on his roster both times (Canseco & Pujols). His bullpen use is highly criticized, but it resulted in a lot of wins.
But who ranks the highest?
If you had to select the order in three consecutive induction years in which these three former managers would be inducted, what order would you place them in??
Here is my ranking:
- Tony LaRussa
- Bobby Cox
- Joe Torre
When I think back to LaRussa, I never saw him as a ‘losing’ manager. He took hold of the A’s and Cardinals franchises and took them both to the pinnacle. I witnessed both Cox and Torre manage losing clubs before they got their ‘breaks’ with the Braves and Yankees. And while they both had a ton of success, they also had ridiculous lineups – Cox with his Hall of Fame pitching rotation and Torre with his All-World offenses.
For me, LaRussa did the most with the least. He gets top-billing in my book!!!
How about you? How would you rank these managers if you had to pick the order in which they entered the Hall of Fame?
Yes, it is splitting hairs as all are deserving – but it is fun nonetheless!!!
Thanks for reading.