Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Managing Centerfield

Two more slots are open for voting for the All Fenway team. The current positions open at FenwayPark100 are centerfield and manager. Let’s get right into the discussion.

The candidates for All Fenway centerfielder are: Johnny Damon, Dom DiMaggio, Fred Lynn, Jimmy Piersall, Reggie Smith, and Tris Speaker. Once again, the fact that it is a “Fenway” team comes into play. I think it’s a fairly easy call to say that Tris Speaker is the best centerfielder in Red Sox history. All of the candidates are in the Red Sox Hall-of-Fame, other than Johnny Damon who is still active. Speaker, however, is the only one in Cooperstown. Even without that distinction, the numbers really speak for themselves. But…he only played four years in Fenway Park. That’s a really small period of time. Especially when you compare it to Dom DiMaggio’s eleven years patrolling the triangle. None of the other candidates measure up to Dom either. Damon also only played four year in Fenway. Fred Lynn, Reggie Smith, and Jimmy Piersall seven. DiMaggio was a great player too. Many think he’s the best player not in Cooperstown. So, for an All Fenway centerfielder, it has to be the Little Professor.

For the managers, we get to choose from Bill Carrigan, Joe Cronin, Terry Francona, Joe Morgan, Dick Williams, and Don Zimmer. I know who my heart wants…let’s see if the head agrees. Only three of the managers listed managed 1000 games with the Sox. That seems as good a place as any to make the first cut. Carrigan, Cronin, and Francona all topped that milestone. In those games, Bill Carrigan managed to a 0.494 winning percentage. Wow. How did he manage 1000 games sub-.500? Joe Cronin won 1071 games for the Sox, the all-time leader, and managed to a 0.539 clip. Pretty good. Terry Francona won 744 games, the second most all-time, and managed at a .574 clip. So, Francona was better for a shorter time. (Assuming that a better winning percentage means “better manager.” An assumption I admit I’m not totally comfortable with.) Francona also has those two championships. Let’s go for it and give the nod to Tito.

Who are you voting for?

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