While the Braves prepare for their homestand against the Marlins, Phils and Senators (oops, Nationals) the winning streak has propelled Fredi Gonzalez up the franchise managerial rankings (primarily Boston guys).
These numbers are not totally comparable since seasons were shorter (games and wins), but provide an interesting perspective on a venerable franchise.
Games: As of Aug. 8, Gonzalez has managed 439 games as a Brave. Assuming he manages the remainder of the season, he will finish with 486, tied with Joe Torre for 3rd most games as an Atlanta manager an 14th with the Franchise. On Tuesday, Gonzalez passed Al Buckenberger, who managed three complete seasons, but only 437 games. Buckenberger managed 1902-04, with the Braves finishing 3rd, 6th and 7th as the team regressed from its winning form of the 1890’s. Five more games will tie Gonzalez with the immortal Hall-of-Fame executive Harry Wright at 444 games. Wright managed the Braves, snagging two pennants, during the first six years of the National League, 1876-1881, when seasons averaged only 70-80 games. (Wright also managed the Red Stockings in the predecessor National Association, but those games aren’t included.) Wright would manage Providence, two seasons, and Philadelphia through 1893, but never match the success he had with Boston. Between Wright and Torre sits Fred Mitchell who managed Boston for three seasons 1920-22.
Wins: As of Aug. 8, Gonzalez has recorded 253 victories with the Braves. He passed Hall-of-Famer Dave Bancroft (249 victories) last week. Bancroft managed Boston for four seasons (1924-27) never posting a winning record. (He was a player-manager for those four years, but he’s in the Hall for his great work at shortstop, not his indifferent record as a field manager.) Gonzalez is one victory shy of Harry Wright (254) and four victories shy of Joe Torre. Assuming the Braves win more than four games the rest of the season, Gonzalez will finish the season holding the 12th most victories as a Brave and 3rd for Atlanta.
Losses: As of Aug. 8, Gonzalez gets credit for 186 losses as Braves manager. He is one game behind Harry Wright, who lost 187, but over six much shorter seasons. Then the list gets more interesting, and the names more familiar to long-time Atlanta fans. Dave Bristol lost 192 games over the 1976-77 campaigns (and might have lost more had Ted Turner not considered himself managerial material). Bristol managed 322 games for Atlanta, winning 40% of them. Depending on how the Braves finish the season, Chuck Tanner is next on the losing list, notching 208 losses in a bit more than two seasons (1986-87 and 39 games into 1988). If Gonzalez passes Tanner and catches Russ Nixon, we’ll be watching another epic collapse which I’d rather not even contemplate.