The 10 Best MLB Managers of All Time

MLB is one of the most competitive sports leagues in the world. The competition is not just only in the field. Rather it starts even before the teams enter the field. A lot of strategies and planning are required to find out the flaws of the opposition to take advantage of them.

Though players play a major role in the field, managers also play a vital role in Baseball. They are the primary brains of those outside the area. Under their leadership, a team prepares for matches. As teams have to play a good number of matches every season, it requires a great deal of planning throughout the tournament.

Over the years, fans have witnessed how managers can influence the overall performance of a team. They can change the attitude of a team and make them a champion. Here we have listed the ten best MLB managers of all time who are examples of perfect managers.

Best MLB Managers of All Time

Managers are often not given their due credit as they play their role in the background. You can see the hard work players do to win games, to stay fit. But the hardship of the managers to keep the team together to keep the players motivated mostly goes unseen.

A manager has to play several crucial roles. He needs to be a great leader who can inspire, influence, and motivate his players to work harder, to focus on victories. He has to bring energy into the team, make proper strategies, and ensure a friendly environment in the team. He has to be fair and equal to everybody.

To be such a flawless leader is not easy. But it is not impossible either. MLB has showcased such great leaders in the past, and there are their successors of the present time as well. It is difficult to measure the greatness of a manager only through statistics. Judging by the team performance, combination, collaboration, and achievements, our ten best MLB managers are:

ManagerCareer
Joe McCarthy1926-1950
John McGraw1899-1932
Bobby Cox1978-2010
Walter Alston1954-1976
Miller Huggins1913-1929
Joe Torre1977-2010
Casey Stengel1934-1965
Tony La Russa1979-2022
Connie Mack1894-1950
Sparky Anderson1970-1995

If you are a die-hard fan of MLB, you must have heard the names of these legendary managers. Let’s have a glimpse of their managing career and see what makes them so great.

1. Joe McCarthy

Full nameJoseph Vincent McCarthy 
Date of BirthApril 21, 1887
Place of BirthPhiladelphia, Pennsylvania
Debut as ManagerApril 13, 1926 (Chicago Cubs)
TeamsChicago Cubs, New York Yankees, and Boston Red Sox
Last Game as ManagerJune 18, 1950 (Boston Red Sox)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)1957
DeathJanuary 13, 1978

Career Highlights:

World Series Champion: 7 Times (1932, 1936–1939, 1941, 1943)

Joe McCarthy understood the game very well and knew how to bring the best out of his players. He had been a manager for twenty-four years, and his team never had more than a 0.500% losing record. It is a phenomenon that he never had a losing record in such a long managerial career.

McCarthy’s managing career began in 1926 when he joined as the manager of the Chicago Cubs. He has always been in the top-five teams of the league, which is another great achievement. McCarthy got into the post-season nine times, once with the Cubs and eight times with the New York Yankees. Sadly, he could not get into the post-season with the Boston Red Sox.

Throughout his career as a manager, he was a star manager. His team was always on the winning side. However, his peak time was between 1936 and 1943 when he was the manager of the Yankees. During this time, he won six World Series championships with the Yankees.

Despite being immensely successful, McCarthey faced criticism during his time. Some were saying that he was not a good technician; he was winning because of the great talent the Yankees had to offer. Nonetheless, being the manager of a talented team also shows that he himself was a genius. Besides, during this time, he helped many youngsters shine in their careers. McCarthy knew how to nurture new talents.

Before retiring in 1950, McCarthy set a win-loss record of 2125-1333, which is a 0.615% winning rate. With such a successful career, he is our top of our best MLB managers of all time.

Career Stats as Manager of Joe McCarthy:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
34872125133329.615

2. John McGraw

Full nameJohn Joseph McGraw
Date of BirthApril 7, 1873
Place of BirthTruxton, New York, US
Debut as Manager1899 (Baltimore Orioles)
TeamsBaltimore Orioles and New York Giants
Last Game as Manager1932 (New York Giants)
DeathFebruary 25, 1934

World Series Championship: 3 Times (1905, 1921, 1922)

The three times World Series champion debuted his managerial career in 1899 with the Baltimore Orioles. At this time, he was only 26. The instability of coaches and managers during that time helped McGraw become the manager at an early age.

McGraw had a managerial career of over three decades and was at the peak of his career in three different time frames. It may sound unusual, but that is true for him. McGraw was at the top of his game on three different occasions, and every phase of his peak lasted for about three years.

You can see from his career that he won the World Series championship once in 1905, and then he had to wait for a long time of sixteen years when he won the World Series back to back two years with the New York Giants.

The worst year for McGraw was 1915 when his team had a record of 69-83-3. McGraw got into the post-season thirteen times, unfortunately, though he could win the World Series only three times. Eight times the Giants lost in the extra innings.

In 1932, McGraw decided that he had had enough of management and stepped down from the position. By then, he was developing prostate cancer in his body and soon gave up on it in 1934.

Career Stats as Manager of John McGraw:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
47692763194858.586

3. Bobby Cox

Full NameRobert Joe Cox
Date of BirthMay 21, 1941
Place of BirthTulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Debut as Manager1978 (Atlanta Braves)
TeamsAtlanta Braves, Toronto Blue Jays, and Atlanta Braves
Last Game as Manager2010 (Atlanta Braves)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)2014

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 2 Times (1977, 1995)

Manager of the Year: 4 Times (1985, 1991, 2004, 2005)

It hurts to call Cox only a two-time World Series champion, considering the range of leadership skills he showed as a manager.

In his twenty-nine years of managing career, he was in charge of the Atlanta Braves, then joined the Toronto Blue Jays for four years. After a gap of five years in 1990, he returned to the Atlanta Braves, and this time he led the team for twenty years.

In the regular season, the Braves were highly dominant in the leagues from 1991-2005, except for 1994. During this time, the team won its division in each of those 15 years. The Braves won more than 100 matches in six seasons.

No other manager reached the post-season of the MLB as many times as Cox did. Sadly, Cox could lift the World Series title only twice. Nonetheless, he was named the manager of the year four times. In 2014, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Famer as a manager.

With more than twenty-five hundred wins, the fourth most ever, Cox stands as one of the best MLB managers of all time.

Career Stats as Manager of Bobby Cox:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
4508250420013.556

4. Walter Alston

Full NameWalter Emmons Alston
Date of BirthDecember 1, 1911
Place of BirthVenice, Ohio, U.S.
Debut as Manager1954 (Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers)
TeamsBrooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Game as Manager1976 (Brooklyn / Los Angeles Dodgers)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)1983
DeathOctober 1, 1984

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 4 Times (1955, 1959, 1963, 1965)

Walter Alston has set several records as a manager that will force you to admit him as one of the best MLB managers of all time. He is one of the only three managers to win more than three World Series championships and has a record winning percentage of over .555.

Alston won the four World Series titles with a single franchise, the present Los Angeles Dodgers. He had been the manager of the franchise for over two decades. During this time, he recruited and built the career of many legends.

Despite being a good team, the Dodgers had never won a title till 1954. They went close to winning the World Series a few times but could not win the big game. Alston joined as a manager in 1954, and the very next year, they won the World Series title, their first ever. Alston led the team to win three more titles within the next ten years.

Sandy Koufax, one of the best MLB pitchers of all time, was nurtured by Alston. After Koufax’s retirement, the Dodgers had a couple of awful seasons. Nonetheless, Alston recovered the team with the likes of Don Sutton and Steve Garvey.

Alston remained loyal to the Dodgers and played his role with complete dedication. And before stepping down from his position, Alston ensured that he left the team in the safe hands of Tommy Lasorda.

Alston was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a manager in 1983, a year before his demise.

Career Stats as Manager of Walter Alston:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
3658204016135.558

5. Miller Huggins

Full NameMiller James Huggins
Date of BirthMarch 27, 1878
Place of BirthCincinnati, Ohio
Debut as Manager1913 (St. Louis Cardinals)
TeamsSt. Louis Cardinals and New York Yankees
Last Game as Manager1929 (New York Yankees)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)1964
DeathSeptember 25, 1929

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 3 Times (1923, 1927, 1928)

At the beginning of his managing career, Huggins found little success, but his recording .500 win ratio in two seasons with the Cardinals helped him get signed to the New York Yankees. And that played out to be his career-changing signing. 

Huggins was a good manager, but many think he was at the right place at the right moment. During the 20s, the Yankees had Lou Gehrig, Ruth, and Earle Combs, who reached their peaks, and the Yankees became unstoppable. They won three World Series titles in five seasons. One of the best stats for any manager. 

Huggins retired in 1929, but in his short time with the Yankees, he had great success, which has saved his name among the best MLB managers of all time. 

Career Stats as Manager of Miller Huggins:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
25701413113423.555

6. Joe Torre

Full NameJoseph Paul Torre
Date of BirthJuly 18, 1940
Place of BirthBrooklyn, New York, U.S.
Debut as Manager1977 (New York Mets)
TeamsNew York Mets, Atlanta Braves, New York Yankees, St. Louis Cardinals, and Los Angeles Dodgers
Last Game as Manager2010 (Los Angeles Dodgers)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)2014
Death

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 4 Times (1996, 98, 99, 2000)

New York Yankees have dominated the last century and become the most successful team. Being their manager also guaranteed a successful career, and Joe Torre was one of the luckiest of them.

Though Torre is highly criticized, and many claim that he was not a great manager. But again, to be the manager of the top team, you certainly need to have some qualities, and Torre had that. His career as a manager started in 1977 with the New York Mets.

Before joining the Yankees in 1996, Torre had a win-loss record of 894-1,003, averaging a .471 percentage of wins. But his stats rapidly changed as soon as he joined the Yankees. Being a coach of the Yankees for twelve seasons, he had a record of 1173–767 and placed him among the best MLB managers of all time.

Torre’s all four titles win came while being a part of the Yankees. He became a Hall of Famer in 2014.

Career Stats as Manager of Joe Torre:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
4329232619976.538

7. Casey Stengel

Full NameCharles Dillon “Casey” Stengel
Date of BirthJuly 30, 1890
Place of BirthKansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Debut as Manager1934 (Brooklyn Dodgers)
TeamsBrooklyn Dodgers, New York Yankees, Boston Braves, and New York Mets
Last Game as Manager1965 (New York Mets)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)1966
DeathSeptember 29, 1975

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 7 Times (1949–1953, 1956, 1958)

With seven titles by his name and a win percentage of .508, it is good enough to put Stengel as the no.1 sport in this list. However, like some of the other managers, Stengel’s successes also came during his time with the Yankees.

Stengel had a 25-year-long career as a manager, and half of his career he spent in the Yankees. He won all the titles while being the manager of the Yankees and recorded a win percentage of .633.

However, the other half of his career with the other teams is not much great. With the Boston Braves, Brooklyn  Dodgers, and New York Mets, Stengel never recorded even 80 wins in a season. So you can see, Stengel could win with the best players in rooster but could not do the same with an average team. Therefore, he is not at the top of our list.

Stengel received the Hall of Fame honor in 1966 as he ended his career with 1905 wins in 3766 games and seven World Series titles.

Career Stats as Manager of Casey Stengel:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
37661905184219.508

8. Tony La Russa

Full NameAnthony La Russa Jr.
Date of BirthOctober 4, 1944
Place of BirthTampa, Florida, U.S.
Debut as Manager1979 (Chicago White Sox)
TeamsChicago White Sox, St. Louis Cardinals, Oakland Athletics
Last Game as Manager2022 (Chicago White Sox)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)2014

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 3 Times (1989, 2006, 2011)

 Manager of the Year: 4 Times (1983, 1988, 1992, 2002)

Let’s talk about a manager who has never been a part of the Yankees and yet is on this list because of his ability to transform a team. Tony La Russa, the four times World Series Champion manager, had been a part of three teams and had a winning percentage of over .500 with every team.

Russa did not rely on great players. He joined a team and made great players from the good players he would get. Russia had one of the longest careers as a manager, with over five thousand games.

Russa’s career began in 1979 with the Chicago White Sox. Russia was only 34 at that time, which made him one of the youngest managers in the MLB. Russa’s presence brought about a change in White Sox, and they began to win more matches.

The peak of Russa’s career came after joining the Cardinals in 1996. He won three titles with the Cardinals and became a one-time manager of the year, a feat. he earned three times before joining the Cardinals. Russa won at least 86 games for 16 seasons.

Russa retired in 2011 and received the Hall of Fame honor in 2014. Nonetheless, the legend returned in 2021 as the manager of the Chicago White Sox and recorded 63 wins out of 128 games, with a percentage of .492 percent winning record.

Career Stats as Manager of Tony La Russa:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
5387288424994.536

9. Connie Mack

Full NameCornelius McGillicuddy 
Date of BirthDecember 22, 1862
Place of BirthEast Brookfield, Massachusetts, U.S.
Debut as Manager1894 (Pittsburgh Pirates)
TeamsPittsburgh Pirates  and Philadelphia Athletics
Last Game as Manager1950 (Philadelphia Athletics)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)1937
DeathFebruary 8, 1956

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 5 Times (1910, 1911, 1913, 1929, 1930)

Fifty-three years of managerial career! Most wins in the MLB as a manager and is the only manager to record three thousand plus wins. Connie Mack was an ever-green manager whose managerial career began in 1894 and lasted till 1950.

Mack became an inseparable part of the Philadelphia Athletics, as he was the manager of the team for five decades. Many players came and went by this time, but Mack remained in his position. Under his leadership, the Athletics won five World Series Championships and won nine pennants.

Mack had seen both sides of his career, ups, and downs. His team finished at the bottom of the league 17 times! Again, he led the same team to win at least win 90 games in every season between 1909 and 2014.

Mack was named a Hall of Famer in 1937, though he was still active as a manager. Interestingly, Mack won 3731 games, while many managers did not even play this many games.

Career Stats as Manager of Connie Mack:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
77553731394876.486

10. Sparky Anderson

Full NameGeorge Lee “Sparky” Anderson
Date of BirthFebruary 22, 1934
Place of BirthBridgewater, South Dakota, U.S.
Debut as Manager1970 (Cincinnati Reds)
TeamsCincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers 
Last Game as Manager1995 (Detroit Tigers)
Hall of Fame (As Manager)2000
DeathNovember 4, 2010

Career Highlights:

World Series Championship: 3 Times (1975, 1976, 1984)

 Manager of the Year: 2 Times (1984, 1987)

Three World Series titles in a three-decades-long career and this is also without ever playing for the Yankees, is a good feat. for a manager. Anderson played the role of the manager in Cincinnati Reds and Detroit Tigers and won World Series titles with both teams.

Anderson knew how to bring the best performance out of his players. Before Anderson’s reign, the Reds never recorded three-figure wins in the league. In Anderson’s very first full season, the Reds finished the league with 102 games. The team also won back-to-back World Series in 1975-76.

Anderson was also named twice the manager of the year. He ended his career in 1995 and was put into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2000. Anderson is the only second manager to win a World Series in the National League and American League.

Career Stats as Manager of Sparky Anderson:

GamesWinLossTieWin%
4030219418342.545

Conclusion

Leading a team as a manager is quite difficult as the manager has to ensure all the players are morally on the high ground to get their best performance. Some of the managers in this list surely had an easy time with the Yankees, but all of them had the ability to lead the champion players, a quality that makes them the best MLB managers of all time in history.

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Toybur Rahman is a seasoned MLB journalist with over 4 years of experience covering the league for various online media publications. He has a deep understanding of the sport, a keen eye for detail, and a great talent for breaking down compound issues into easy-to-understand language.

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