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“overrated/underrated”: The Readers Speak

December 2023
1min read

While I applaud Ray Robinson for recognizing Walter Alston as an underrated baseball manager, his selection of Connie Mack as most overrated is far off base.

The truly overrated manager in baseball history is Casey Stengel. Stengel’s legend stems from his butchery of English, not from his managing skill. Stengel piloted four teams, and was a loser everywhere except with the Yankees. Before Stengel took the reins of the Braves, they posted winning records under Bill McKechnie. That continued for one year under Stengel; the team then endured a swift decline. After Stengel left, Billy Southworth lifted the Braves into the World Series.

Even the Yankees improved after Stengel left. From 1957 to 1960, under him, the Yankees won 366 and lost 250. From 1961 to 1964, under Ralph Houk and Yogi Berra, they went 408-239, winning the pennant each year and the World Series twice. Finally, Stengel’s laughable performance with the Mets fell short even of low expansion-team standards. In four years there, his best winning percentage was .327.

Mack’s career totals sagged when he managed past normal retirement age, but those later lean years do not undo his earlier achievements. With a record so superior to Stengel’s, he clearly doesn’t warrant the title of most overrated manager.

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