Phillies Amid Unfamiliar Territory in Search for New Manager
Only about 25 percent of the Phillies’ 54 all-time managers had prior experience.
The Philadelphia Phillies have had 54 different managers since their inaugural season in 1883.
This offseason, the organization will hire its 55th, as in 2020 it will pursue a third championship over 138 overall seasons in franchise history.
The most notable, and rumored-to-be likely candidates for this role include 11-year-veteran and 2009 World Series-winning manager Joe Girardi, 20-year veteran manager Buck Showalter, and 22-year veteran manager Dusty Baker.
Together, Girardi, Showalter, and Baker have a combined 53 seasons and 8,351 games of managerial experience.
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Yet, while the Phillies seem to be pursing one of these three long-time managers to replace the recently dismissed Gabe Kapler, their historical tendency has been to hire anyone but an experienced skipper.
Forty, or nearly three-fourths, of the Phillies’ 54 different managers in franchise history assumed the manager position with zero prior managerial experience, according to Baseball-Reference.com.
In other words, they were rookie managers. The Phillies’ last 10 hired rookie managers included: Gabe Kapler (2018-19), Ryne Sandberg (2013-15), Gary Varsho (2004), Terry Francona (1997-2000), Nick Levya (1989-91), John Felske (1985-87), Paul Owens (1972, 1983-84), Dallas Green (1979-81), Danny Ozark (1973-79), and Frank Lucchesi (1970-72).
The 14 other non-rookie managerial hires totaled a combined 83 seasons and 9,306 games of prior experience — only a 30 seasons and 955 games greater than that of Girardi, Showalter, and Baker’s combined 53 seasons and 8,351 games experience.
Exactly half, or seven, of the Phillies’ non-rookie managerial hires have come over their last 14 hires overall, dating back to Pat Corrales (1982-83). The others include: Pete Mackanin (2015-17), Charlie Manuel (2005-13), Larry Bowa (2001-04), Jim Fregosi (1991-96) and Lee Elia (1987-88).
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While the well-experienced Girardi, Showalter, and Baker each being available at the same time may be unprecedented for Major League Baseball — similar to Bryce Harper and Manny Machado’s availability last offseason — the Phillies’ interest in all three shows their desire to change things up, and fast.
Their division rival Washington Nationals, Harper’s former and only previous team, just clinched its first-ever league pennant and World Series berth. Also, the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets show no signs of slowing down, especially given their younger players and organizational depth.
The Phillies reportedly met with all three aforementioned candidates this week, and are poised to make a quick decision. Surely, they have all sights already set toward the 2020 season.