One of the subplots of this World Series that has a million of them is the legacies of Terry Francona and Joe Maddon. They are regarded as two of the best managers in the game today, and both have fun personalities in an era when many managers are look-alike, think-alike robots who rarely say anything too interesting and avoid controversy like those brussels sprouts sitting in your fridge for the past four months.
Francona has already won two World Series, with the Boston Red Sox in 2004 and 2007, while Maddon is managing in his second and aiming for his first title. Francona is 30th on the all-time wins list and has a .533 career winning percentage; at 57 years old, the Cleveland Indians skipper could easily move into the top 15 if he keeps going for another six or seven years. Maddon has a similar .535 winning percentage and ranks 66th on the wins list; he's 62, but in a good long-term situation with the Chicago Cubs.
What makes a Hall of Fame manager?
Before answering that question -- and Francona's and Maddon's place in history -- we must first know which managers are already in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame lists 23 men elected as managers. There are many others who were successful managers elected as players. In fact, I'm surprised how many Hall of Fame players won a World Series title as a manager: Fred Clarke, Frank Chance, Mickey Cochrane, Jimmy Collins, Frankie Frisch, Rogers Hornsby, Tris Speaker and Lou Boudreau all won as player-managers; Red Schoendienst and Bob Lemon also won titles in their post-playing careers. Chance, the player-manager when the Cubs last won a World Series, is the only one on the list to win two titles.
Anyway, we're not talking about those guys. We're also not taking about Hughie Jennings, who managed the Tigers to three AL pennants from 1907-1909, but was elected as a player after a short but excellent run as a star shortstop for the great Baltimore Orioles teams of the 1890s. We're also not talking about Clark Griffith, who was elected in the pioneer/executive category, although he ranks 22nd on the all-time wins list as a manager and also won 237 games as a pitcher.
So we're comparing Francona and Maddon to the other 23. One of those is Rube Foster, who kind of deserves his own category. He was regarded as the best black pitcher in the early 1900s, founded and managed the Chicago American Giants, and organized the Negro National League. He's known as the "Father of Black Baseball."
Two others -- Ned Hanlon, the manager of those Orioles teams, and Frank Selee -- did their best work in the pre-World Series era (both won five pennants), so they don't really have applicable careers to more modern managers.
That leaves 20 managers to look at. Does that seem like a small group? It's actually similar to the numbers at individual positions. There are 17 catchers in the Hall of Fame, 24 first basemen, 20 second basemen, 23 shortstops, 16 third basemen, 20 left fielders, 21 center fielders and 23 right fielders (as listed on the Hall of Fame website), so managers are elected at about the same frequency as position players.
The two main criteria for our group of 20: World Series championships and longevity.