10 Things You Didn’t Know About Managerial Matchups

From SABR member Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times on August 29:

This Saturday, an oddball bit of trivial baseball history will silently happen. For the first time in the big leagues since July, 1984, two rival managers will face off against each other in the regular season for the 200th time when Tony LaRussa’s Cardinals host Dusty Baker’s Cincinnati Reds, which should happen on Saturday, Sept. 3.

(Sort of. Baseball-Reference.com and other sources give LaRussa credit for managing the entire 2011 season, though he missed a bit with a case of the shingles, and that bit included a three-game series against the Reds. He was still officially the team’s manager but wasn’t on hand for those games. Ignore that, and the 200th match up between LaRussa and Baker will come early next year).

At any rate, in honor of the upcoming 200th meeting between Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker (it’ll happen eventually, regardless of how you count it), let’s look up some of the highs and lows of managerial matchups across baseball history.

1. Tony LaRussa and Dusty Baker are the greatest managerial rivals of our time

Managers used to face each other over 200 times with some regularity. For a long time teams played each other 22 times a year, so it took barely over nine years in the same league to have 200 meetings.

Then came expansion and divisional play. Now managers not only have to survive for a longer time, but have to spend a lot of that time in the same division, which is tricky to achieve. In 40-plus years of divisional play, only one pair of managers has faced each other 200 times—Chuck Tanner and Dick Williams. 

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/article/10-things-i-didnt-know-about-managerial-match-ups/

Originally published: August 31, 2011. Last Updated: August 31, 2011.