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Terry Francona reaches 1,000 career managerial wins

Jul 24, 2011, 9:24 AM EDT

Terry Francona AP

Red Sox skipper Terry Francona became one of just 57 managers to reach 1,000 career wins with Saturday’s 3-1 defeat of the Mariners.

The 52-year-old began his managerial career in 1997 with the Philadelphia Phillies, going 285-363 over a four-year stretch that saw not a single postseason appearance. But he was hired by the Boston Red Sox in 2004, and everything quickly changed.

Francona led the ’04 Red Sox to a 98-64 record and a World Series title, snapping an 86-year franchise drought. The ’05 Red Sox went 95-57, The ’06 Sox went 86-76, The ’07 Red Sox went 96-66 and won another World Series, the ’08 Sox went 95-67, the ’09 team went 95-67 and the 2010 club finished 89-73.

This season, the Red Sox hold the best record in the American League at 61-37.

Francona has been fortunate to manage teams that are loaded with talent, and he would freely admit that, but all the success has some in the media wondering whether Tito might eventually be headed for Cooperstown.

Here’s Rob Bradford of WEEI.com on Francona’s current resume:

What should be noted is that eight managers have won three World Series titles, with seven already residing in the Hall of Fame and one [Joe Torre] scheduled to arrived in just a few years.

Francona’s .532 winning percentage is fourth-best among active managers, with just Davey Johnson, Mike Scioscia and Tony LaRussa besting the mark. He is the eighth active skipper to reach 1,000 wins. But it is only LaRussa who carries what the Red Sox manager possesses — two World Series rings.

If a third title comes his way — which, as we sit here, appears to be a very real possibility — the man who seamlessly guided the Red Sox to their 61st victory Saturday night will be a Hall-of-Famer.

“I don’t think it’s that big of a deal,” Francona told reporters on Sunday. “I really don’t. It’s really not that big of a deal. I’m appreciative of the opportunity I have because I really caught a break. This is a great organization with a lot of great players. I’m really fortunate. Other than that, I’d like to keep the perspective on the players.”

“If he was a pitcher, it’d be more impressive,” Josh Beckett joked after locking up Sunday’s victory. “It’s nice to win any time, but yeah, it’s nice to pitch in games like that — when they mean something to someone else.”

  1. JBerardi - Jul 24, 2011 at 9:46 AM

    I’ll agree with Francona: managing Theo Epstein’s teams is good work if you can get it.

    • tashkalucy - Jul 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM

      Epstein has thrown away enough money on bad pitchers to support at least 2 WS winning teams (including last years Giants).

      It really would be nice for MLB to level the playing field regarding money a GM could spend, just to see how good Epstein and Cashman really are. But hat would be too much like fair competition.

      Ah, hopefully the NFL players get to camp in the next few weeks, and outside of Boston and NYC that’s what most American sports fans will focus on.

      • mornelithe - Jul 24, 2011 at 12:35 PM

        Of course, had Matsuzaka turned out to be amazing, everyone would be lauding Theo’s gamble. Funny how that works, sometimes gambles don’t pay off. It happens.

        Maybe instead of whining about how much the Sox or NYC have at their disposal, people should be looking at their own teams to find out how they can increase revenue there….just a thought.

      • JBerardi - Jul 24, 2011 at 12:40 PM

        It’s true. The Giants would never have been able to win a World Series if they’d signed a mediocre-at-best starting pitcher to a massive contract.

        Is San Fancisco really even a small market compared to Boston? I hear there’s a few people living in California.

      • bigharold - Jul 24, 2011 at 1:28 PM

        “Epstein has thrown away enough money on bad pitchers to support at least 2 WS winning teams …”

        Hey, lets not forget all the money he threw away on SS over the years!!

        Like his Yankee counterparts it’s difficult to completely assess Francona’s worth as a manager. Except for the Yankees, the RS have more resources at their disposal than just about every other team. Interestingly, like Torre with the Yankees, he had a losing record as a manager prior to getting the RS job. That proves that even good managers can only make so much difference. And, like Torre, his greatest asset seems to be his ability to calm the waters, manage the egos of star his players and deal with the intense media scrutiny that Boston can create. Not to mention dealing with the unreasonable demands of the Nation.

        Regardless, you don’t get 1000 wins as a manager being a bad manager. Whether he ever gets to the HOF is not as important as the fact he;ll be a legend in Boston for the next 100 years. As a Yankee fan all I can say to that is “Good for you Terry”

      • tashkalucy - Jul 24, 2011 at 2:19 PM

        You people think Dice-K was his only bad signing?

        How about the kings ransom he paid John Lackey?

        Since he’s became GM he has had a string of poor trades and free agents singing of pitchers. Sure, he hit on Beckett. But what other GM other then Cashman could throw all that money at crummy pitchers hoping for a hit on one or two? Other GM’s would have had their budget’s frozen with the constant $10 million-plus this guy throws at pitchers hoping a few stick.

        And how many J.D. Drew’s have there been? Giving a guy a 3-5 year contract for astronomical money and getting one good year out of it, maybe one decent one, and a lot of years that he could get from players making 1/10h of what he laid out.

        I’ve watched MLB for over 50 years. Once the cable revenues rolled in – combined with arbitration – the competitiveness of the spot became a joke. The discrepancies in the cable revenue is outrageous. A game between the Rays and Red Sox is televised on cable from Tampa Bay to the Tampa market and the NE market, and the Rays get 1/8th the revenues for the game that the Red Sox get. A game between the Yankees and Royals is televised to the NYC and KC markets, and the Royals get 1/8th the revenues the Yankees get. Absurd. There are two teams being televised, why aren’t he revenues split?

        MLB has been a joke that has been getting worse for 30 years. Every off-season the name players available go to the Yankees or Red Sox. For 30 years now. Every single off-season. It’s just ridiculous.

        Baseball is the best American sport. If it wasn’t, the way MLB runs it would have driven it to extinction decades ago.

  2. crispybasil - Jul 24, 2011 at 9:48 AM

    Congrats to Tito. He’s certainly had some loaded lineups over the years, but he also definitely knows his stuff when it comes to managing a team multiple injuries to key players. And any manager that’s had to deal with Manny Ramirez and hasn’t gone crazy should get some kind of humanitarian award.

    • tashkalucy - Jul 24, 2011 at 11:49 AM

      Hargrove never had a problem with Manny.

      Manny still calls him to talk.

  3. frankvzappa - Jul 24, 2011 at 10:09 AM

    Considering Tito will have 3 rings after this year with more to come, I think the Hall of Fame is a sure thing. They may as well just induct him now.

    • pisano - Jul 24, 2011 at 12:54 PM

      I wouldn’t count on that ring just yet, there is a team in Philly that will have a lot to say about that ring. Remember the old baseball saying ” good pitching will always shut down good hitting” We’ll see just how good Boston’s offense is when they face the best pitching in baseball, if they even get there. The trade deadline is just around the corner and we’ll see who adds the pitching and hitting to help themselves.

  4. patsandsox - Jul 24, 2011 at 10:31 AM

    I was not a fan of Tito his first season. I laughed at the Francamo jokes when he left pitchers in too long (something I still think he does from time to time).

    Its the way he handles the Boston madness, the media, the fans expectations, the massive egos in the clubhouse (Nomar, Manny, Pedro….) But the wins, wins, wins, have brought me around to see that he has become the best manager the Red Sox could have at this point in time.

    I think he has the potential to go down as the best Red Sox manager ever. I do not know who managed the Sox in 1912-18 when they won 4 world series, but he must have been pretty good.
    I think Terry Francona is giving that guy a run for his money.

    I like Tito and he works well with Theo, enough said.

    • natstowngreg - Jul 24, 2011 at 11:34 AM

      Early Red Sox World Series winners (From the manager database in Balseball-Reference):
      Jimmy Collins, 1903 (won AL in 1904, but World Series not played)
      Jake Stahl, 1912
      Bill Carrigan, 1915-1916
      Ed Barrow, 1918

      • President Miraflores - Jul 24, 2011 at 12:05 PM

        I’m a Yankees fan, but to give Francona his credit, unlike Carrigan and Barrow, he didn’t have Babe Ruth and his 0.87 postseason ERA to pencil into the rotation. Something also has to be said for all the extra playoff games Francona has had to manage, rather than going straight to the WS.

        I don’t know if he’s going to the Hall just yet, but he’s done a great job so far.

  5. rsox3fan - Jul 24, 2011 at 10:50 AM

    http://www.sportsecyclopedia.com/al/bosox/redsox.html your answer maybe found here.4 different guys.

  6. pisano - Jul 24, 2011 at 1:02 PM

    One more thing, Tito is a good if not great manager. Think back to last year with all the injuries he had to deal with and he was there right to the end. Also to have to deal with Manny (the moron) was no easy feat. That asshole was not only a distraction on the field, but also in the clubhouse. Tito is more than worth whatever they’re paying him. I am in no way a Boston fan, on the contrary, but a Tito Francona fan.

  7. cur68 - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:01 PM

    The man is Scotty to The Enterprise. Quietly working away, claiming his “engines cannae doo any more, cap’n” and saving the day when all seems lost. Remember how the season started? They went, like 0 for 10 or something? Tito didn’t panic, he just tightened the bolt in Gonzalez’s neck, put new springs in Pedroia’s knees, waxed up Youk’s beard, and changed Ortiz’s dilithium crystals. Boom: magic happened and the BoSox now OWN the AL Beast.

    Good for Terry Francona anyways. He always seemed like a pleasant guy. Now if he could just stop creaming my Blue Jays…

  8. natstowngreg - Jul 24, 2011 at 3:54 PM

    Francona just passed Alvin Dark and Bill Virdon on the all-time list. Congratulations are in order but, before ordering the Hall of Fame plaque, we might give him a few more years.

  9. zaavonb - Jul 24, 2011 at 5:06 PM

    everybody keep saying the redsox buy ppl yeah some but lets face it most of our guys on our team is homegrown lester,bucholz,papelbon,bard,pedroia,ellsbury,lowrie,navarro,youkillis,wakefieldreedick,kalish and the rest we had to trade for give up good prospects for adrian gonzalez,saltamacchia,scutaro so ppl stop getting mad that we pay for lackey or matsusaka or drew we want championships and after 86 yrs watching other non fortune teams get championships before us we didnt complain now we getting championships everybody want to complain where was yall at where we went through pain and agony for those 86 yrs

    • cur68 - Jul 24, 2011 at 6:43 PM

      WTF? This isn’t twiiter bubba. You can use whole words, punctuation and everything.

      Anyone feel like deciphering that ^^ and summarizing it for me?

    • macjacmccoy - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:18 AM

      a little angry huh? And people say Philly fans are defensive.

      Its ok no one is attacking you or the Red Sox. People are just having fun needling each other. ITS OKAY :(

  10. macjacmccoy - Jul 25, 2011 at 7:11 AM

    I like him as the Red Sox Manager most of the time but I hated him in Philly. He didnt seem like he had a clue about what he was doing. The way he used the bullpen and set his lineup especially the bottom of the order was a mess. He didnt have an over welling amount of talent or financial backing the way the Phillies do now. And he also had to deal with those braves teams of the late 90′s and early 2000′s. But his teams did have some talent and they should have done much better.

    I really just think he couldnt get a handle on the intricacies of National League Baseball. I know people like to say that the arguement that coaching in the NL is harder and that some guys cant do it is over blown or not ture but just look at history. There are tons of coaches who went from the AL to the NL and couldnt hack it and guys who were horrible in the NL like Toni who went on to be great in the AL.. You cant really deny it bc its happened. Francona is 1 of the latest examples.

    • JBerardi - Jul 25, 2011 at 8:34 AM

      Francona is a pretty bad tactical manager. He’s able to succeed in today’s league because baseball has systematically eliminated tactics over the past 20-30 years. 30 teams, one game plan. Three man benches, no platoons, no pinch hitting, all sorts of arbitrary “you can’t use your closer in a tie game on the road” rules that everyone buys into 100% for no apparent reason… the tactical framework of modern baseball is so rigid and dogmatic that Francona just can’t screw it up too badly.

      • Joe - Jul 25, 2011 at 9:20 AM

        Evidence?

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