Twenty men have sat in the Met managerial hot seat. Some have served as momentary stopgaps, Mike Cubbage for only seven games. None survived long enough to rival the longest surviving managers of the modern game, guys like Bobby Cox and Tony LaRussa. In fact, none wore the Met orange and blue for more than seven seasons. And, only five of the twenty; Davey Johnson, Gil Hodges, Bobby Valentine, Willie Randolph and Bud Harrelson won more games than they lost commandeering the Mets.
On Friday afternoon, Willie Randolph was a radio guest on WFAN. Randolph is working at the Yankee camp in Tampa and shared his perspectives about the changing face of the team in pinstripes, a team and franchise in transition.
Invariably, the discussion turned to whether or not Willie would like to manage again some day. Of course, that meant the subject included Randolph’s time as manager of the Mets.
The radio team tossed Randolph a gopher ball providing Willie the opportunity to slam his former team when it was suggested that the Mets certainly haven’t found a winning stride since management forced his departure. Willie was too classy to take the bait.
Randolph spoke fondly of his opportunity to manage the Mets. He voiced pride in the work he and his staff accomplished in changing the culture around the Mets, and felt the Mets were taking strides forward when he was at the helm.
Willie reported he follows the Mets each and every day to keep tabs on the performance of ‘his boy,’ David Wright. Like everyone else, Randolph is impressed with the stable of young Met pitchers and predicts if his former team can keep those young power pitchers healthy there will be better days ahead for his former team.
Randolph is hoping to get another shot to lead a major league baseball team from the dugout. Willie took time to discuss the importance of sabermetrics in a modern day baseball manager’s approach. He worried that some might have a perception that he’s an old school guy who doesn’t understand or appreciate the value of sabermetrics in modern baseball noting that’s simply not the case.
Here’s hoping Willie gets the chance he’s looking for. I always appreciated the class Willie brought to the Mets during his short stay as our skipper and his understanding of what it takes for a franchise to win. Willie’s departure and the way it was handled were an embarrassment at the time. Against that backdrop it was reassuring to hear Willie talking with excitement about the positive possibilities of our current Met team and it’s future.
Winningest Met Managers
Manager Won - Lost Pct. Davey Johnson 595 - 417 .588 Gil Hodges 339 - 279 .549 Willie Randolph 302 - 253 .544 Bobby Valentine 536 - 467 .534 Bud Harrelson 145 - 129 .529 Yogi Berra 292 - 296 .497 Roy McMillan 26 - 27 .491 Jerry Manuel 204 - 213 .489 Joe Frazier 101 - 106 .488