Second time with same club not always a charm for managers
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Gibbons joins a small group of managers since the end of World War II to come back for a second tour of duty with the same team. History shows mixed returns for managers who make a return to a job they once held, not including interim assignments.
Probably the best second-chance skipper was Bobby Cox of the Atlanta Braves.
He managed the Braves from 1978-81 with a high-water mark of 81-80 in 1980. His record during his first five-year stint in Atlanta was just 266-323. After a disappointing 50-56 record during the strike-shortened 1981 campaign, Braves owner Ted Turner fired Cox.
Toronto wasted no time snapping up the 40-year-old skipper, and he led the Blue Jays to their first postseason appearance in 1985. Shortly after Toronto coughed up a 3-1 series lead to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series, Cox returned to Atlanta, this time as general manager.
In June 1990, Cox fired manager Russ Nixon and took over the dugout duties, then relinquished control of the front office to John Schuerholz that October to focus on managing.
What happened next? Just 14 division titles, five National League pennants and a World Series title in 21 seasons. Cox managed the Braves to a 1,883-1,386 record from 1990-2010 and is should be inducted into the Hall of Fame at some point in the near future.
It hasn’t always gone so well on the reunion tour, however.
In 1985, the Baltimore Orioles brought back Earl Weaver, who had led the club to four American League pennants and a World Series title his first time around from 1968-82. Taking over for Joe Altobelli, the man who replaced him when he retired after the 1982 season, Weaver lasted just 1½ years in his return.
The Orioles were just 126-141 and Weaver returned to retirement permanently after the 1986 season.
The Boston Red Sox fired Pinky Higgins in early July 1959 after 4½ seasons. Higgins had guided the Sox to first-division finishes in each of his first four seasons (1955-58), but he was fired with the team in last place in 1959.
He wasn’t gone a year before he was brought back. Billy Jurges was fired shortly after leaving the club for health reasons in June 1960 and Higgins was brought back. After three straight second-division finishes, Higgins was done for good after the 1962 season.
The Chicago White Sox tried twice to recapture the magic from a pair of managers from the 1950s. In 1959, Al Lopez guided the team to its first American League pennant since the 1919 Black Sox scandal and in nine seasons from 1957-65, Lopez never had a losing season and Chicago won at least 90 games five times. Lopez retired to the White Sox front office after the 1965 season with a record of 811-615.
In 1968, Lopez returned to the dugout after Eddie Stanky and Les Moss had guided the team to a 47-69 record. The White Sox improved a bit after Lopez returned, finishing 21-26 and finishing eighth in the 10-team league.
His second tenure ended in April 1969, when he retired due to health concerns. Chicago was 8-9 at the time and finished 68-94.
In 1976, the White Sox again reached into their past … in this case way back into their past. Paul Richards had managed the team from 1951 until he was fired late in the 1954 season despite the White Sox having a 91-54 record at the time, their most wins since 1917.
Richards had been out of baseball for 3½ years when owner Bill Veeck came calling in the fall of 1975. Richards managed the White Sox for just one year. The team finished 64-97 and Richards was fired at season’s end.
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