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Category Archives: Manager

Whitey Lockman – 1973 Topps #81

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ImageCarl Walter “Whitey” Lockman (July 25, 1926 – March 17, 2009) was a player, coach, manager and front office executive in American Major League Baseball.
On October 3, 1951, Lockman scored the tying run, just ahead of Bobby Thomson, on Thomson’s home run that gave the New York Giants the National League championship – baseball’s “Shot Heard ‘Round the World.” Lockman’s one-out double against the Brooklyn Dodgers had scored Alvin Dark with the Giants’ first run of the inning, and made the score 4–2, Brooklyn. His hit knocked Dodger pitcher Don Newcombe out of the game, and, on the play, Giant baserunner Don Mueller injured his ankle sliding into third base. While Mueller  was being carried off the field to be replaced by a pinch runner, Dodger manager Chuck Dressen called on relief pitcher Ralph Branca, whose second pitch was hit by Thomson into the Polo Grounds’ lower left field stands for a game-winning, three-run homer.
Lockman’s coaching career began immediately after his playing days ended, as he joined the Reds’ staff in 1960 under skipper Fred Hutchinson. In 1961, when his old teammate Dark became manager of the Giants, Lockman became his third base coach, serving through 1964. ImageLockman then joined the Chicago Cubs as a minor league manager, coach, and, then, Director of Player Development. In July 1972, he succeeded his old mentor, Leo Durocher, as Cubs’ manager and the revitalized Cubbies won 39 of 65 games to improve two places in the standings. But losing marks in 1973 and into 1974 cost Lockman his job; he was relieved of his duties July 24, 1974 and moved back into the Chicago front office, serving as General Manager from late 1973 to late 1975. Lockman later was a player development official and special assignment scout for the Montreal Expos and Florida Marlins. Lockman finished with a career major league managing record of 157–162 (.492).

Walt Alston – 1973 Topps #569

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Walter Emmons Alston  (December 1, 1911 – October 1, 1984), was an American baseball player and manager. He was born in Venice, Ohio but grew up in Darrtown. He is a graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he lettered three years in both basketball and baseball and is a member of the University’s Hall of Fame. He maintained his residence in Oxford and died there in 1984 at the age of 72. Alston was a first baseman with the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1936 season. He played in his only major league game on September 27, as a substitute for future Hall of Famer Johnny Mize, who had earlier been ejected from the game. Alston struck out in his only major league at bat on three pitches, although the second strike was a long fly ball with home run distance that curved foul at the last second. After returning to the minor leagues for several years as a player and then as a manager, including a stint as the player-manager for the first U.S. based integrated baseball team after 1898, the Nashua Dodgers of the class-B New England League. He was named manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1954 season. As a manager, Alston was noted for his studious approach to the game and for signing 23 one-year contracts with the Dodgers at a time when multi-year contracts were becoming the norm in the sport. Walter Alston was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1983.

Sparky Anderson – 1973 Topps #296


George Lee “Sparky” Anderson (February 22, 1934 – November 4, 2010) was an American Major League Baseball manager. He managed the National League’s Cincinnati Reds to the 1975 and 1976 championships, then added a third title in 1984 with the Detroit Tigers of the American League. He was the first manager to win the World Series in both leagues. His 2,194 career wins are the sixth most for a manager in Major League history. He was named American League Manager of the Year in 1984 and 1987. Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000.
Anderson was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame as a manager in 2000. Although he managed 17 seasons in Detroit and just 9 seasons in Cincinnati, his Hall of Fame plaque has him wearing a Cincinnati Reds uniform. He chose to wear the Reds cap at his induction in honor of former GM Bob Howsam, who gave Anderson his first chance at a major-league managing job. Before his induction, Anderson had refused to go inside the Hall because he felt unworthy, saying “I didn’t ever want to go into the most precious place in the world unless I belonged.” In his acceptance speech he gave a lot of credit to his players, saying there were two kinds of managers, “One, it ain’t very smart. He gets bad players, loses games and gets fired. There was somebody like me that was a genius. I got good players, stayed out of the way, let ‘em win a lot, and then just hung around for 26 years.” He was very proud of his Hall induction, “I never wore a World Series ring … I will wear this ring until I die.”
Anderson was also inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame the same year. On May 28, 2005, during pre-game ceremonies in Cincinnati, Anderson’s jersey number, #10, was retired by the Reds. A day in Anderson’s honor was also held at Detroit’s Comerica Park during the 2000 season. On June 17, 2006, Anderson’s number was retired by the Fort Worth Cats, for whom Anderson had played in 1955. In 2007, Anderson was elected to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Throughout the 2011 season the Tigers honored Anderson with a patch on their right sleeves. They officially retired his No. 11 on the brick wall at Comerica Park on June 26, 2011.

Red Schoendienst – 1973 Topps #497


Albert Fred “Red” Schoendienst (born February 2, 1923) is an American Major League Baseball coach, former player and manager, and 10-time All-star. After a 19-year playing career with the St. Louis Cardinals (1945–56, 1961–63), New York Giants (1956–57) and Milwaukee Braves (1957–60), Schoendienst managed the Cardinals from 1965 through 1976, the second-longest managerial tenure in the team’s history (behind Tony La Russa’s). Under his direction St. Louis won the 1967 and 1968 National League pennants and the 1967 World Series, and Schoendienst was named National League Manager of the Year in both ’67 and ’68. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Veterans Committee. Schoendienst remains with the Cardinals as Special Assistant Coach; as of 2011 he has worn a Major League uniform as a player, coach or manager for 66 consecutive seasons. Red Schoendienst was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1989 by the Veterans Committee, and the Cardinals retired his number (2) in 1990. In 1998 he was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame.

Ralph Houk – 1973 Topps #116


Ralph George Houk (August 9, 1919 – July 21, 2010), nicknamed The Major, was an American catcher, coach, manager, and front office executive in Major League Baseball. He is best known as the successor of Casey Stengel as the manager of the New York Yankees from 1961–63, when he won three consecutive American League pennants and the 1961–62 World Series championships.
Houk’s last years as an active player were actually spent as the Yankees’ full-time bullpen coach. In 1955, he was named manager of the Yanks’ AAA affiliate, the Denver Bears of the American Association. Following three highly successful seasons at Denver, Houk returned to the Bronx as Stengel’s first-base coach from 1958 to 1960. From late May through early June 1960, Houk served as acting manager of the Yanks for 13 games while Stengel, 70, was sidelined by illness.  Then, after the Yanks lost the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and with Houk one of the hottest managerial candidates in baseball, the Yankees “discharged” Stengel and promoted Houk.
He died in July 2010 in Winter Haven, Florida. At age 90 he was, at the time, the oldest living manager of a World Series-winning, pennant-winning or post-season team. He was survived by a daughter, Donna; a son, Robert; four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. On July 22 the Yankees announced players and coaches would wear a black armband in Houk’s memory on the left sleeve of their home and away uniforms for the remainder of the 2010 season.

Ken Aspromonte – 1973 Topps #449


Kenneth Joseph Aspromonte(born September 22, 1931 in Brooklyn, New York) is a former second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball who had a seven-year career from 1957 to 1963. He played for the Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators, Cleveland Indians, and Los Angeles Angels of the American League, and the Milwaukee Braves and Chicago Cubs, both of the National League. He also spent three years playing in Japan, spending 1964 and 1965 with the Chunichi Dragons and 1966 with the Taiyo Whales. Aspromonte managed the Indians from 1972 to 1974. He had a record as manager of 220-260. Ken is the older brother of former Major League Baseball player Bob Aspromonte.

Eddie Mathews – 1973 Topps #237


Edwin Lee “Eddie” Mathews (October 13, 1931 – February 18, 2001) was an American professional baseball player. He played in Major League Baseball as a third baseman, most notably on the Milwaukee Braves. Mathews is regarded as one of the greatest third basemen ever to play the game. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. Between 1954 and 1966 he and Braves teammate Hank Aaron hit 863 home runs (Aaron 442, Mathews 421), moving ahead of the Yankees duo of Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig as the all-time leaders in major league history. He managed the Atlanta Braves from 1972 to 1974. He was the manager when Hank Aaron hit his 715th home run. He is also one of the few players to play, coach, and manage for the same baseball team.

Eddie Mathews was elected to the Wisconsin Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976. In 1978, Mathews was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978. He ranks second among all-time third basemen in home runs, runs batted in, slugging percentage, and total bases. In 1999, the The Sporting News ranked Mathews 63 on their list of 100, “Baseball’s Greatest Players”. He also nominated that year as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. In 2001, Mathews passed away from complications of pneumonia in 2001 in La Jolla, California. He is buried in Santa Barbara Cemetery. Later that year, the Braves honored his memory with the placement of patches bearing his retired uniform number, 41, on their jerseys.

Dick Williams – 1973 Topps #179


Richard Hirschfeld “Dick” Williams  (May 7, 1929 – July 7, 2011) was an American left fielder, third baseman, manager, coach and front office consultant in Major League Baseball. Known especially as a hard-driving, sharp-tongued manager from 1967 to 1969 and from 1971 to 1988, he led teams to three American League pennants, one National League pennant, and two World Series triumphs. He is one of seven managers to win pennants in both major leagues, and joined Bill McKechnie in becoming only the second manager to lead three franchises to the Series. He and Lou Piniella are the only managers in history to lead four teams to seasons of 90 or more wins. Williams was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2008 following his election by the Veterans Committee.
In 1973, the A’s coasted to a division title, then defeated Baltimore in the ALCS and the NL champion New York Mets in the World Series, each hard-fought series going the limit. With their World Series win, Oakland became baseball’s first repeat champion since the 1961–62 New York Yankees. But Williams had a surprise for Finley. Tired of his owner’s meddling, and upset by Finley’s public humiliation of second baseman Mike Andrews for his fielding miscues during the World Series, Williams resigned. George Steinbrenner, then finishing his first season as owner of the Yankees, immediately signed Williams as his manager. However, Finley protested that Williams owed Oakland the final year of his contract and could not manage anywhere else, and so Steinbrenner hired Bill Virdon instead. Williams was the first manager in A’s franchise history to leave the team with a winning record after running it for two full seasons.
Dick Williams died of a ruptured aortic aneurysm at a hospital near his home in Henderson, Nevada on July 7, 2011.

Del Crandall – 1973 Topps #646


Delmar Wesley Crandall(born March 5, 1930 in Ontario, California) is a former professional baseball catcher and manager in Major League Baseball who played most of his career with the Boston & Milwaukee Braves. Considered one of the National League’s top catchers during the 1950s and early 1960s, he led the league in assists a record-tying six times, in fielding percentage four times and in putouts three times. Crandall eventually turned to managing, and piloted two American League clubs, the Milwaukee Brewers (1972–75) and the Seattle Mariners (1983–84). In each case he was hired to try to right a losing team in mid-season, but he never enjoyed a winning campaign with either team and finished with a managing record of 364-469 (.437). In between those American League stints, he was a highly successful manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ top farm club, the Albuquerque Dukes of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League, and also managed the Class A San Bernardino Stampede from 1995 to 1997. He remained in the Dodger organization as a special catching instructor well into his 60s. He also worked as a sports announcer with the Chicago White Sox radio team from 1985 through 1988 and with the Brewers from 1992-94.

Bill Virdon – 1973 Topps #517

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William Charles Virdon(born June 9, 1931 in Hazel Park, Michigan) is a former outfielder, manager and coach in Major League Baseball. A premier defensive outfielder during his playing days (1955–65) as a center fielder for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates (winning a Gold Glove in 1962), Virdon also had a long tenure in the major leagues as a manager, with the Pirates (1972–73), New York Yankees (1974–75), Houston Astros (1975–82), and Montreal Expos (1983–84). He was the American League Manager of the Year in 1974, his only full season working for the Yankees of George Steinbrenner. Bill also was named National League Manager of the Year in 1980 while with the Houston Astros. As a manager, he led the Pirates to the 1972 NL East title, but the Buccos dropped the NLCS to the Cincinnati Reds when Pittsburgh pitcher Bob Moose unleashed a wild pitch in the final inning of Game 5, allowing the winning run to score. His 1980 Astros won the NL West championship, but fell to the Philadelphia Phillies in a five-game NLCS. His career managerial record, over all or parts of 13 seasons, was 995–921 (.519). He also served three different terms as a Pirates coach. He has the unusual distinction of having been replaced on two separate occasions by the manager he replaced; in Montreal (Jim Fanning) and in Pittsburgh (Danny Murtaugh).

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