Meet the next Red Sox Manager – Dustin Pedroia.
What do Miller Huggins, Frankie Frisch, Bucky Harris, Rogers Hornsby, Eddie Collins and Billy Herman all have in common? The answer is threefold: (1) They all played a majority of their career at second base. (2) They are all in the Hall of Fame and (3) they were all player-managers.
So why not have Pedroia take over as player-manager?
At one time being a Player-manager was not unique and often the best player on the team or the loudest would be assigned the task. In some instances, it was a money saver as a bonus would be less expensive than paying a manager. Other times management realized that certain players had that skill set and age was not considered a factor. Lou Boudreau took over the Indians when he was 24-years-old.
The Red Sox have had Cy Young, Boudreau and Joe Cronin, all HOF members, all do the double duty. Cronin eventually became the Red Sox GM and then President of the American League. Now that is some upward mobility.
Jimmy Collins, also in the HOF as a third baseman, was the player-manager of the first World Series winner – the Red Sox – in 1903. Jake Stahl was the player-manager of the 1912 championship team. Bill Carrigan won titles in 1915 and 1916 as a player-manager. Ed Barrow broke the streak in 1918.
So, again, why not Pedroia?
Pedroia certainly has the game knowledge, is an accomplished player, can handle media with the best of them, pressure does not bother him and he appears to be one that will not shy away from calling a player out.
Pedey has seen a variety of managerial types in Boston and probably has cultivated some ideas of his own on just how to run an asylum. Pedoia will certainly have the fans and that means – if they are smart – having the players.
The complexity of baseball has changed since the days of Cronin and Collins with the volumes of metrics and very defined roles. The salaries make the issue of managerial control even more complex. This, however, is also Pedroia’s age. This is the baseball world he knows and one in which a good bench coach is vital. The entire staff selection would be key. Pedroia, like most managers, needs a quality support network from staff, to management and the players.
Baseball has become rather staid and this would certainly represent a step back to another time. The risk factor is, to me, meaningless. If Pedroia matches the performance of Bobby Valentine and John Farrell – a difficult task – you simply send him back to player only status. I doubt that Pedroia is the type to go into a David Ortiz type funk.
So, John Henry and Ben Cherington, attempt to resuscitate what remains of a miserable season. Lighten up and move Pedroia into that special office.
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