As you may have noticed, I keep a list of the 36 best players I’ve had the pleasure of seeing play in person. My definition of “best” relies heavily on awards and recognitions. So, perhaps, “best” should be changed to “most accomplished” but that’s for another day. I realized that I didn’t update it with the new Hall of Fame class. I assumed that if someone was elected to the Hall of Fame, they’d already have enough awards to merit inclusion on the list. I was right. Frank Thomas, Tom Glavine, and Greg Maddux were already here. So, other than increasing the number of Hall of Famers I’ve seen to ten, it didn’t affect anything.
Then I realized that those weren’t the only three people elected to the Hall this year. Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, and Tony LaRussa were also elected. They weren’t on my list. Never even considered adding them to my list.
The obvious answer is “no.” I don’t go to a game to see a manager. When teams try to sell tickets by promoting the visiting team, they never promote the visiting manager.
But, the reason I base my list on awards instead of talent is that my grandkids would be more likely to ask if I saw a former award winner, as opposed to some other great talent. Using that logic, shouldn’t I include the managers? Would a kid 20 years from now wonder if I ever say Joe Torre manage? Possibly.
Of course, I can’t picture the rest of the conversation. Let’s say that someone asks me in 20 years if I ever saw two-time MVP and triple-crown winner Miguel Cabrera play. I could respond that yes I had. I saw him in a playoff game strike out against Junichi Tazawa in a key spot. There’s a story there. If they asked me about a manager? I guess I could say, “Yup. I saw Joe Torre manage lots of games. Man that guy used more friggin’ pitchers than anyone I ever saw. I stopped going to September Yankees game because they were torture to watch.”
Not quite the same ring to it.
But, he’s still a Hall of Famer. He’s still somebody that my future grandkids could see on a website and wonder about. Am I ignoring a segment of baseball history? Is that wrong?
Would you add managers to the list?