I’m a dyed-in-the-wool baseball guy. I went to my first major league game in 1949 at Griffith Stadium to watch the Washington Senators play, and still upon occasion nostalgically don my No. 3 Mickey Vernon itchy, all-wool replica jersey. In 1954 I attended the glorious welcoming parade for the former St. Louis Browns, turned Baltimore Orioles—and subsequently listened to every inning of the Birds’ first World Series triumph in 1966 on MARS radio from Da Nang, Vietnam.
Add it up, and I’ve got more than half a century of dead-certain opinions on everything baseball. So you’d think I would be quick to tell you who the best manager in baseball is these days.
But turns out, my favorite hobby is statistical calculations—though I’m no baseball-metrics guru—and, well, the studies on what managers contribute to their teams over the long haul spit in the eyes of us old, self-certain, fast-talking fans.
I unearthed a bushel of analyses, though conflicting and inconclusive, which all in all suggest that over a lengthy career, an effective manager is worth about one more win per year than the team would otherwise have.