Now that Chipper has agreed to do work again for the Braves, speculation has naturally arisen that maybe he wants to manage. (Maybe he doesn’t… In fact, I’d be willing to bet he doesn’t. But let’s assume he does. Otherwise, I have nothing to write.) It has often been observed that the best players are rarely very good managers. How good a manager would Chipper have to be to rank as a great former player and a great manager?
I used the BRef list of all managers and reduced the list to those with 10 years or more of managing experience, an over 0.500 record as a manager, at least one year finishing in first place and an ELO rating as player on BRefs ELO lists. It turns out to be a pretty short list. In order of ELO ranking, we have:
|1||Frankie Frisch HOF||2298||16||0.514||2246||0.571||4.3||1||1|
|2||Joe Cronin HOF||2215||15||0.54||2315||0.333||3.9||2|
|3||Fred Clarke HOF||2165||19||0.576||2829||0.467||3.7||2||1|
|4||Joe Torre HOF||2152||29||0.538||4329||0.592||2.4||15||4|
|5||Cap Anson HOF||2148||21||0.578||2288||4|
|6||Bill Terry HOF||2065||10||0.555||1496||0.438||3.2||3||1|
|7||Hughie Jennings HOF||1969||16||0.543||2203||0.25||3.5||3|
|8||Clark Griffith HOF||1947||20||0.522||2918||4.2|
|10||Red Schoendienst HOF||1924||14||0.522||1999||0.5||3.5||2||1|
|12||John McGraw HOF||1893||33||0.586||4769||0.481||2.6||9||3|
|13||Frank Chance HOF||1857||11||0.593||1622||0.55||3.1||4||2|
|16||Miller Huggins HOF||1745||17||0.555||2570||0.545||3.2||6||3|
|20||Casey Stengel HOF||1610||25||0.508||3766||0.587||4.4||10||7|
|23||Billy Southworth HOF||1497||13||0.597||1770||0.5||2.4||4||2|
|27||Al Lopez HOF||1369||17||0.584||2425||0.2||2.4||2|
|28||Ned Hanlon HOF||1326||19||0.53||2530||4.3|
|29||Wilbert Robinson HOF||1321||19||0.5||2819||0.25||4.8||2|
|31||Leo Durocher HOF||1244||24||0.54||3739||0.467||3.2||3||1|
|32||Charlie Comiskey HOF||1163||12||0.608||1410||3.4||1|
Chipper’s ELO rating is 2315, so if he can fulfill the managerial criteria, he’ll be the greatest player ever to manage at the top level.
As a final combined metric, I create a harmonic average of games managed and ELO ranking as a player, to give a combined ranking from this list. Thus, my aggregate rating for a manager is:
(ELO x Wins Managed)/[(ELO+Wins Managed)/2]
By using the harmonic average, whichever you’re worse in (player or manager) dominates. All player nonmanagers get a 0, as do all manager nonplayers.
The top 10 look like this:
|John McGraw HOF||2257.105|
|Joe Torre HOF||2237.005|
|Fred Clarke HOF||1859.466|
|Casey Stengel HOF||1748.524|
|Clark Griffith HOF||1709.219|
|Cap Anson HOF||1637.045|
|Joe Cronin HOF||1598.206|
|Miller Huggins HOF||1569.666|
A fancier scheme might have scaled the two criteria a little better, but other than one of the worst managers I’ve ever seen ranking 5th on the list, this is probably a pretty good summary of the best players who managed well, or, equivalently, the best managers who played well.
So with an ELO rating of 2315, how many games would Chipper have to win as manager to displace Miller Huggins in 10th place? 1188 wins, a figure achieved by only 42 managers in history. (Mike Hargrove happened to have exactly 1188.) And to beat out Little Napoleon, John McGraw? 2202 wins, which would put Chipper 6th all time, between Joe Torre and Sparky Anderson.