Jaffe: On Terry Francona’s place in Red Sox history as he returns to Boston

From SABR member Jay Jaffe at SI.com’s The Strike Zone on May 23, 2013:

On Thursday night, Terry Francona will do something that he hasn’t done since the end of the 2011 season: manage in Fenway Park. The most successful manager in Red Sox history returns as the pilot of the Indians, who after four straight years of sub-.500 finishes — three of them with at least 93 losses, including last year — are running first in the AL Central, one-half game ahead of the heavily favored Tigers. Even having dropped their last two game in Detroit, the Indians have the AL’s best record in May at 15-6; prior to the series against the Tigers, they had won 18 of 22.

Francona spent eight years at the helm of the Red Sox from 2004-2011, guiding the team to five playoff appearances and two world championships (2004 and 2007), the first of which marked the team’s first title in 86 years. His 1,296 games managed and 744 wins are second in franchise history, and his 192 games over .500 rank first. His .574 winning percentage is second among managers who spent more than three full seasons with the team (of which there have been just 11 in their 113-season history) and just one point behind — wait for it — Don Zimmer.

Read the full article here: http://mlb.si.com/2013/05/23/terry-francona-cleveland-indians-boston-red-sox-fenway-park/

Originally published: May 23, 2013. Last Updated: May 23, 2013.