Ferkovich: P.K. Wrigley and the College of Coaches

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at The Hardball Times on June 2, 2015:

When Dan Jennings recently traded in his position as general manager with the Miami Marlins to become the team’s skipper, it raised more than a few eyebrows around baseball.

But throughout its history, the national pastime has had plenty of surprising managerial hirings.

None of them, however, sounded as bizarre at the time as the Chicago Cubs’ College of Coaches.

The concept was the brainchild of team owner Philip K. Wrigley, the chewing gum magnate who had lost patience with his team’s prolonged losing ways. The Cubs had just completed an abysmal 1960 season in which they’d gone 60-94, barely ahead of the last-place Philadelphia Phillies. Since the team’s last World Series appearance in 1945, Chicago had had only one season over .500.

It all started when manager Lou Boudreau, frustrated at Wrigley’s refusal to offer him a two-year contract, resigned during the 1960 World Series between the New York Yankees and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

At that point, Wrigley was eager to shake things up. Affectionately referred to as “P.K.,” he saw himself as a baseball visionary, one willing to think outside the box. Wrigley admitted that the selection of a manager was incidental to the broader problem of the bumbling organizational structure of the Cubs. Radical changes, he promised, were in order.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/p.k.-wrigley-and-the-college-of-coaches/

Originally published: June 2, 2015. Last Updated: June 2, 2015.