The Cleveland Guardians have an all-time great in Terry Francona.
It may be a while before we see the Cleveland Guardians on the field anytime this season. Both sides have gotten themselves into a contest of wills and the only people who are going to truly suffer are the fans. Yet, we persist. So while we pass the time until baseball returns to the land, let’s talk Terry Francona.
Many fans are seemingly unaware of just how truly prolific the man is as a baseball manager. He’s a two-time World Series champion and has led the Guardians to many winning seasons as the manager of the club. Yet, despite his credentials as a hall of famer for his contributions to the game, his work with the Guardians has been equally as impressive.
He may have had more championship success in Boston, but since arriving in Cleveland he’s fourth all-time of the three major clubs in longevity., according to the Akron Beacon Journal. He’s second in the history of the franchise, beyond only Lou Boudreau in games managed.
Francona has missed some time due to health-related issues and only needs 35 games to surpass Bourdeau as having managed more games in club history than anyone else. He’s already number one in most wins in franchise history, and he’s second in games-above-.500 just behind Al Lopez.
Francona has led the team to a renaissance, and fans should be thankful for his contributions.
Terry Francona will go down as the Guardians’ greatest manager ever.
It’s really only a matter of time before Terry Francona is retroactively viewed as the club’s best manager ever. While a lot of people will point to the lack of a World Series win as a knock against him, the point fans need to accept is that winning a title isn’t as important to a manager’s reputation as it is a player’s.
It’s also seemingly less important in a sport like baseball, which is the complete embodiment of a team sport, more so than maybe any other sport out there. Unlike basketball or soccer, a player in baseball can’t even affect half of the game they play in.
A pitcher, the person who most affects the game, will likely only have an impact on 38% of the total game played. That’s assuming he goes seven innings and you count each out possible as the totality of a game played.
That’s 27 outs per team, that’s 54 outs total and a pitcher will likely only see seven innings or 21 potential at-bats. So winning a World Series is not quite the deal-breaker in baseball as it is in basketball.
Part of it has to do with the fact that there are only really eight or nine teams every year who can afford top-flight players, meaning there are different expectations for each club. If the Yankees or Dodgers don’t win a World Series, they had an objectively bad season. If the Guardians or Tampa Bay Rays get to the second round, their seasons are all-time greats.
That’s all due to the salary issues in the sport and the inequity the lack of a salary cap causes.
So yes, even without a World Series in Cleveland, Francona will still be the club’s greatest manager ever, simply because of what he’s been able to achieve with what he had available to him.