Skip to content

Jim Leyland, Hall of Famer?

Oct 21, 2013, 10:47 AM EDT

In the wake of news that Jim Leyland is stepping down as Tigers manager after eight seasons I wondered how strong his Hall of Fame case is if he’s headed for retirement at age 68.

First things first, Leyland has 1,769 wins to rank 15th all time among MLB managers. Of the 14 managers with more wins, nine are already in the Hall of Fame and at least three others (Tony La Russa, Bobby Cox, Joe Torre) seem likely to be in Cooperstown eventually as well. That leaves Gene Mauch and Lou Piniella as the only managers with more wins than Leyland without a (probable) spot in the Hall of Fame.

However, of the 15 managers with 1,700 or more career wins Leyland has the fourth-worst winning percentage at .506, ahead of only Connie Mack, Bucky Harris, and Mauch. He also has “only” one World Series title, although Leyland’s teams also lost twice in the World Series and he made the playoffs a total of eight times in 22 years as manager. He won three straight division titles with the Pirates in the early 1990s and three straight division titles with the Tigers in the early 2010s, and in between won a World Series with the Marlins.

MORE: Who replaces Jim Leyland in Detroit?

At this point in baseball history trying to predict which great players will be inducted into the Hall of Fame is difficult enough, so doing the same for managers could be really tough. With that said, it’s pretty clear that Leyland has a strong Hall of Fame case, but seems nearly as clear that he’s behind La Russa, Torre, and Cox among this generation’s most successful skippers, perhaps putting him in a group with managers like Davey Johnson, Bruce Bochy, Mike Scioscia, Terry Francona, and Piniella.

Is that enough to warrant a spot in Cooperstown? I’d tend to lean yes, but I’m admittedly a Leyland fan and it’s definitely not an open-and-shut case either way unless the Hall of Fame starts inducting a lot more managers than it has in recent years.

Latest Posts
  1. Diamondbacks call up former elite prospect Andy Marte

    Jul 31, 2014, 5:28 PM EDT

    andy-marte-indians-broken-bat Getty Images

    Once upon a time Andy Marte was one of the best prospects in baseball. He cracked Baseball America’s top 15 list in 2004, 2005, and 2006.

  2. Cubs trade James Russell and Emilio Bonifacio to the Braves for a catching prospect.

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:52 PM EDT

    Russell_James

    The Braves get their lefty and a venerable super sub. The Cubs get an interesting catching prospect.

  3. Yankees designate Brian Roberts for assignment

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:46 PM EDT

    Brian Roberts Getty Images

    Shortly after acquiring Stephen Drew and Martin Prado in separate trades this afternoon the Yankees announced that starting second baseman Brian Roberts has been designated for assignment.

  4. Jared Cosart traded from Houston to Miami

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:30 PM EDT

    Cosart AP AP

    Some pitching heading Miami’s way.

  5. Kurt Suzuki stays in Minnesota, signs extension with Twins

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

    Kurt Suzuki Twins AP

    All month the assumption has been that the Twins would either sign Kurt Suzuki to a contract extension or trade the 30-year-old impending free agent in the middle of his career-year.

  6. The Yankees acquire Martin Prado from the Diamondbacks

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:16 PM EDT

    Martin Prado AP

    A super sub at heart who can and will be used at multiple positions by the Yankees.

  7. 2014 Trade Deadline Tracker

    Jul 31, 2014, 4:15 PM EDT

    David Price David Price

    Recapping all of Thursday’s dealings in one spot.

  8. Cats and dogs, working together: Red Sox trade Stephen Drew to Yankees for Kelly Johnson

    Jul 31, 2014, 3:59 PM EDT

    Stephen Drew Getty Images

    How committed are the Red Sox to blowing up the roster? They just made a trade with the Yankees–the Yankees–sending shortstop Stephen Drew to New York just 39 games after re-signing him to a $10 million deal.

  9. ACES GALORE: The Rays trade David Price to the Tigers

    Jul 31, 2014, 3:55 PM EDT

    David Price David Price

    With Price in town, a guy who one the AL MVP and Cy Young Award a couple of years ago is now the TIgers fourth starter.

  10. Indians trade Asdrubal Cabrera to Nationals

    Jul 31, 2014, 3:40 PM EDT

    Asdrubal Cabrera Getty Images

    In search of infield help with Ryan Zimmerman on the disabled list again, the Nationals have acquired switch-hitting shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera from the Indians in exchange for minor leaguer Zach Walters.

  11. Orioles acquire Andrew Miller from Red Sox

    Jul 31, 2014, 3:13 PM EDT

    Oakland Athletics v Boston Red Sox Getty Images

    This morning the Red Sox were reportedly close to trading left-handed reliever Andrew Miller to the Tigers, but that deal apparently fell through because now Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reports that Miller has been sent to the Orioles.

  12. The Mariners acquire Chris Denorfia from the Padres

    Jul 31, 2014, 2:21 PM EDT

    denorfia getty Getty Images

    A lefty masher is having a down year, but he can help out in Seattle.

  13. Brewers acquire Gerardo Parra from Diamondbacks

    Jul 31, 2014, 2:14 PM EDT

    Gerardo Parra Getty Getty Images

    Parra’s offensive production has dropped off this season, falling about 50 points compared to his career norms, but he remains an excellent defensive corner outfielder capable of handling center field if needed.

  14. Red Sox trade John Lackey to Cardinals for Allen Craig and Joe Kelly

    Jul 31, 2014, 1:00 PM EDT

    John Lackey Getty Getty Images

    Not satisfied with adding Justin Masterson to the rotation yesterday, the Cardinals have added another veteran starter by acquiring John Lackey from the Red Sox. And, much like Boston’s deal to get Yoenis Cespedes from Oakland for Jon Lester, the Red Sox have prioritized the present by getting veterans Allen Craig and Joe Kelly in exchange.

  15. Jonny Gomes says something interesting about chemistry

    Jul 31, 2014, 12:49 PM EDT

    Jonny Gomes AP

    Seems that Gomes knows more about team chemistry than the people who hold him up as a paragon of good chemistry.

  16. Dodgers “trying hard” to get Joaquin Benoit from Padres

    Jul 31, 2014, 12:38 PM EDT

    Joaquin Benoit

    Because the Dodgers can apparently never have too many current and former closers in the bullpen, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that they’re “trying hard” to acquire Joaquin Benoit from the Padres.

  17. HBT Daily: Breaking down the Jon Lester-Yoenis Cespedes trade

    Jul 31, 2014, 12:30 PM EDT

    cespedes getty Getty Images

    It’s a win-win from where I’m sitting. In my basement studio. With shorts on beneath the suit jacket, even if I’m trying to look like I’m in an office.

Featured video

The Jon Lester-Yoenis Cespedes trade is a win-win
Top 10 MLB Player Searches