Bruce Bochy’s 2,000th managerial victory is in the books, and, while a Cooperstown calling was already a foregone conclusion with or without this milestone, this puts the soon-to-be-retired Giants skipper in some rare and heady company.
Only 10 other managers -- Connie Mack, John McGraw, Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre, Sparky Anderson, Bucky Harris, Joe McCarthy, Walter Alston and Leo Durocher (Hall of Famers all) -- reached 2,000 wins. So Bochy’s a rare breed… and maybe even the last of a breed.
The managerial role has changed a lot since Bochy’s 1995 managerial debut. More often, teams with an opening are going with inexperienced skippers that they feel will function best with their front office staff. Managers with overpowering personalities -- and job security -- are few and far between.
So it’s hard to say if anybody will get to 2,000 post-Boch. But here’s a look at those with a shot at it.
Terry Francona (1,663 wins)
Tito is basically baseball royalty in Cleveland at this point -- his status is as secure as the dugout seat the Indians installed for him near the steps some years back. The Tribe officially extended him through 2022, and, while everything in sports is constantly subject to change, the assumption at this point is that a front office that has been among the most stable in the game will welcome him back as long as he wants to come back. But unless the Indians are going to average around 110 wins a season over the next three years, Francona would have to work -- in Cleveland or elsewhere -- beyond 2022 to reach 2,000.
Therein lies the rub, because Francona’s age (60) and the various medical issues that have forced him to limit his pregame duties do make you wonder how much longer he’ll want to do this. For now, he still has the passion to keep pushing.
Bob Melvin (1,219)
As with so many things associated with the A’s, the casual fan might not realize how successful Melvin has been. He’s fifth on the active managerial victories list, and, at 58, he might have more mileage ahead of him than some others mentioned in this piece.
Melvin’s current pact with Oakland runs through 2021, and their history together of performance that exceeds payroll is well-established. But Melvin will need roughly another decade of work to close in on 2K. That’s a lot.
Very outside chance
Joe Maddon (1,250)
Baseball’s grooviest manager might not always act his age (in a good way), but take note that he will turn 66 prior to Opening Day 2020. He’s also very well-compensated, at a time when fewer teams are willing to invest in experience in this role.
So while there is currently very little question that Maddon would find another gig if the Cubs do actually cut him loose after this final season of his contract (there has already been lots of industry speculation that Philadelphia, near his Hazleton, Pa., hometown, could become a possibility), the long-term future’s more cloudy. At minimum, Maddon would have to work into 2027 -- his age-73 season -- to have a shot at 2,000. And that’s assuming he maintains the just-north-of-90-win pace he’s kept up since the Rays broke out in 2008.