Tuesday, May 09, 2006

A Question Asked And A Question Answered, Sort Of

A Question Asked, And a Question Answered, Sort Of

Why are Managerial Records so hard to find?  Even current managers have profiles with
tidbits of data but rarely can you find a complete managerial record.
Gary Alstadt Mississippi

Part of the problem is that for most of the history of baseball, the guides didn’t list the managers (through 1948), then only sporadically give the date for managerial changes, and never the record for the two or more managers for a season.  In other words, it would take a lot of work to find the record of managers when they were replaced in season.

The only person whom I know of who has attempted something like that is Jerry Jackson, who has spent a good part of his life compiling records for O. B. managers. Years ago, he wanted to compile an all-time manager encyclopedia, but I haven’t talked to him in years, and so don’t know the status of such a work.  

I, however, have problems with some of Jerry’s methodology.  In the early years of baseball, the person called a “manager” was not what we call a manager today.  Prior to World War One (more or less, and depending on the league), the job description of “manager” was that of what today is called a GM.  

The person who wrote filled the lineups, made the player and pitching changes, and the person who sat on the bench— was called the captain.  After 1885, a manager was not allowed to sit on the bench in many leagues— unless he was also a captain.

To Jerry the manager was the manager.  I could talk to him until I was blue in the face, and a manager would still be manager for him.  And that is why many of the listings in the Minor League Encyclopedia are in error.  Lloyd Johnson got much of his managerial listings from Jerry Jackson.

To give an example: The Sporting News and Sporting Life would publish a list of all the O. B. leagues and list the managers and presidents on a weekly basis.  For Sacramento in the 1903 PCL season, they listed Mike Fisher as manager.  He was, but “manager” meant “business manager.”  Years later, when TSN published a profile of Charley Graham, they asked about his managerial career, and he mentioned that he managed Sacramento  in the Coast League during its inaugural season of 1903.

In the work I have done on the Coast League, I had to go back and check day by day to figure out the managerial records.  But to do that, one needs local papers— especially in the early years.

I guess I answered the question— sort of.


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