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Francona setting a high standard

Posted by Peter Abraham, Globe Staff  September 10, 2010 02:41 PM

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8d8c8fdd5d03980ed40e6a706700031e.jpgIt's interesting to read the comments on Extra Bases. When it comes to Red Sox manager Terry Francona, many readers seem to think that he is:

A. An idiot

B. A moron

or

C. Both

The truly witty enjoy calling him "Francoma" when he doesn't order players to hit home runs or have the pitchers strike everybody out.

Being a curious sort and having time on a cross-country flight (the alternative was watching Karate Kid with Will Smith's kid and 97-year-old Jackie Chan) I decided to add up the numbers.

Francona started managing the Red Sox in 2004. He is 643-469 (.578) with two world championships and 28 playoff victories.

That doesn't seem so awful. So I compared him to how other managers have fared since 2004. Obviously some of them haven't managed that entire time.

Here is what I found:

Joe Torre: 635-478 (.570), 0 world championships, 18 playoff victories

Mike Scioscia: 634-478 (.570), 0 world championships, 10 playoff victories

Tony La Russa: 616-493 (.555), 1 world championship, 23 playoff victories

Charlie Manuel: 528-423 (.555), 1 world championship, 20 playoff victories

Ron Gardenhire: 608-506 (.546), 0 world championships, 1 playoff victory

Ozzie Guillen: 589-524 (.529), 1 world championship, 12 playoff victories.

Bobby Cox: 587-526 (.527), 0 world championships, 3 playoff victories

Jim Leyland: 414-376 (.524), 0 world championships, 8 playoff victories

Lou Piniella: 453-479 (.485), 0 world championships, 0 playoff victories

So since he started the managing the Red Sox, Francona has the most victories, the most playoff victories and the most world championships in the game.

To be certain, this does not necessarily make him the best manager. Francona would be the first to tell you that he has been blessed with good players, occasional good fortune, owners willing to spend money and a general manager who is adept at using that money.

But Torre has had all those advantages. So have Scioscia, La Russa, Cox, Leyland and Manuel for the most part. No one manager has the exact same playing field beyond having 162 games to play and 25 men on the roster.

Since Francona took over your team, they have the most wins, the most playoff wins and the most titles. The Sox play hard, they generally play right and for the most part don't get arrested or do stupid things.

You might want to cut him a break. Because I almost guarantee you that when he's gone, you'll miss him.

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