2013 Blue Jays: John Gibbons

27 02 2013

The return of John Gibbons led me to wonder: how many managers have been rehired by their former teams? Obviously, there’s the Steinbrenner Yankees, who used to fire and re-hire the same managers over and over again. But, other than managers bossed by The Boss, who else has been given a second chance to do the same job?

To try to find this out, I went to Baseball Reference. Here’s a list of all the managers I could find who managed 10 years or more in the majors and had two or more gigs with the same non-Steinbrenner-owned club. (Gibby doesn’t qualify for this list, but I didn’t want to check all of the managers in the universe. Life’s too short, and I’m too lazy, for that.)

  • Bobby Cox (Atlanta – originally rehired as GM)
  • Ralph Houk (Yankees pre-Steinbrenner – was GM)
  • Earl Weaver (returned after two-plus years away)
  • Danny Murtaugh (managed the 1960 and 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates, but was away from the job several times)
  • Alvin Dark (managed the 1966-67 Kansas City A’s and the 1974-75 Oakland A’s)
  • Cito Gaston

Of this list, two were GMs who stepped down to the manager’s chair, and Weaver came back after retiring. So there were only three men who returned to the job they once held.

This isn’t surprising, when you think of it. There used to be more continuity in ownership than there is now, and no self-respecting GM or owner would want to rehire somebody that they fired. That would be admitting a mistake. And some former managers would probably tell their ex-employers to go pound sand if they were asked to come back.

So Gibbons and Cito Gaston are part of a rather exclusive club. Of course, both were fired by different general managers than the ones that rehired them.

By the way, since I’m mentioning Cito here: in his book, Joe Morgan spent a considerable amount of space wondering why no other team chose to hire Cito after the Jays fired him. After all, he had two World Series rings, which is usually a sign of some ability. And I think Morgan might have had a point: Jimy Williams, who was not as good a manager as Cito, was hired by two teams after the Jays fired him. Cito, who went to the post-season four times, was not hired for another job until the Jays brought him back. (One more fact: when looking up Jimy Williams, I discovered that his teams finished second six times – seven, if you count the 2001 season in which Boston fired him. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.)




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