The Man in the Dugout: Fifteen Big League Managers Speak Their Minds

The Man in the Dugout: Fifteen Big League Managers Speak Their Minds

The Man in the Dugout: Fifteen Big League Managers Speak Their Minds

The Man in the Dugout: Fifteen Big League Managers Speak Their Minds

Synopsis

The fifteen major-league managers interviewed in The Man in the Dugout represent six decades of baseball - men like Joe McCarthy of the New York Yankees and Walter Alston of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Each oral history, steeped in nostalgia and confidentiality, is a record of the triumphs and defeats of the man carrying the prime responsibility of a multimillion-dollar franchise. Here the manager is revealed as a strategist, tactician, peace-maker, politician, ego-soother, and builder of self-confidence. He holds the toughest, most gratifying, and most insecure job in baseball.

Excerpt

Baseball fans are probably the most informed of all sports fans. Their knowledge of the game and their recognition and appreciation of talent are always in evidence. Most fans, however, would be unable to evaluate a manager fairly. Fans know when to remove a pitcher, and many know when and whom to pinch-hit. But not many think of the manager's contribution when they see the well-executed relay from the outfield, the successful pickoff, or the carefully engineered rundown on the base paths. The positioning of the men in the relay, the timing of the pickoff, and the teamwork in the rundown are all the handiwork of a manager who has drilled his players constantly and thoroughly for these eventualities.

It is universally agreed that no matter how skilled a manager is, he cannot win unless he has the talent on the ball club. It is also agreed that sometimes the most talented ball club does not win the pennant, and when this happens, the fault generally lies with the manager. So while a "good" manager cannot by himself win a pennant, a "bad" manager can lose a pennant.

The fifteen men herein interviewed all have one thing in common--each at one time or another managed in the big leagues. They range from Bob Shawkey, who managed the New York Yankees for one year, and Burleigh Grimes, who managed the Brooklyn Dodgers for two years, to Joe McCarthy, who managed for twenty-four years, and Walter Alston, who spent twenty-three years as manager of the Dodgers. They range from Ossie Bluege, who almost won a pennant with a wartime collection of retreads, to Mayo Smith, whose team scored one of the great comeback victories in World Series history. They range . . .

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