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  • Babe Ruth As Manager

    I know Babe Ruth wanted to be a manager but never got his chance. I know that in professional sports great players don't make great head coaches or managers so I was wondering how people here think that Babe would have done as manager.

  • #2
    Nobody responded to this?

    He had clearly "settled down" and was ready to prove himself as manager, but was never afforded the opportunity at the MLB level.

    While still playing, he took time to teach hitters, including Gehrig. He hit fungoes and threw batting practice while still playing. He had it in him.

    My feeling is he could have been good with a veteran team who was ready to win now. But dealing with a young team and all that entails, most importantly, losing, it would have worn him down. He was used to winning and didn't have the patience or long-term mindset needed to stick it out and develop a winner. He would have been a manager who didn't play things by the book. His risks would have paid off sometimes, and sometimes not. But they would have been aggressive and calculated. He wanted to manage and feel the job security that comes from having an owner who truly respects, believes, and appreciates what he can offer. He never got that.

    I think he would have dealt with the media well, even taking the pressure off his players when needed. He had been through it all and done it all, so he would not only have the respect as a former player, but as a former player who learned first hand what off field distractions can hinder a career. And also what off field activities or duties can help give order and purpose to a life and career. His approach probably would have been strict but fair. He wanted that treatment his whole career, but being Babe Ruth comes with a responsibility that he never understood. He had to be made an example of. His greatness as a player revolved around natural ability that was fused with a ton of practice, so I think he could evaluate talent and recognize strengths and limitations from players very well. It is said that Michael Jordan or Magic Johnson would never make great coaches, because they were so great, and expected their same greatness out of players. I think Ruth knew his ability was special and he would ignore his own achievements and focus on what he had to work with. Getting the most from their ability, not his own expectations outside of that.

    Here are some quotes from "The Life That Ruth Built" by Marshall Smelser about Ruth and his personality.


    "One who uses his mind in every way possible, and all at once, thinks intuitively. That kind of use differs, for example, from the working through of long division. In baseball, and in nothing else, Babe Ruth used all his intellectual powers at once. He had facts to work on. He was no mental giant, but he knew more baseball than the average person, including the average sportswriter. His kind of baseball knowledge was soaked up from childhood and fixed fast in the memory by a kind of psychic obsession with baseball."

    "Ruth as remembered is a colossal sculpture chipped out by the periodical press. The model for the figure was an intelligent man whose intelligence was narrowly focused on what he could do superbly on a baseball field. The model had almost no other life, and what other life he had was very ordinary. For example, his views on public questions were simpleminded opinions of the kind one might get from a not very thoughtful boy who lived before even the movies broadened people's views. Those of Ruth's opinions of public affairs which have survived sound like the opinions of anyone who glances briefly at the major headlines as he turns the page toward the sports section. Except in baseball, language was to him a system of signaling situations or changes in circumstances rather than a way of exchanging and sharpening ideas."

    "Ruth, a true baseball genius, was a man who had a kind of microscopic mental world which was brightly lit, well ordered, and well understood. The development of a high order of intelligence in narrow scope may produce some kinds of instability. Was that true of Ruth? If so, it would explain his show-off gluttony."

    "Babe Ruth had simplicity, a virtue which is not as much prized as it should be. As an Irish poet said of someone, "He lacked manners, but had manner." In Ruth that manner was directness. For example, in none of the thousands of surviving photographs is he shown consciously grimacing to express a heartiness he doesn't feel. In many of them he makes no effort to conceal the stupefaction of his boredom. He had a simple honesty in public relations."

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    • #3
      I'll go against what will most likely be popular opinion, but I think Babe's legend is helped by his not managing. He may have been okay, but that's something we'll never know now. But not many legendary players make it as managers, and IMO, it's because the game came too easy to them and they can't comprehend the amount of failure they'll see. I also really love catchers as future managers since they see the game from a different perspective, and it's no surprise to me to see past catchers having some decent success in taking teams to the WS.
      "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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      • #4
        I just finished reading Creamer's book recently. Creamer made it sound as if Ruth really, really wanted to manage the Yankees. One thing that Creamer wrote that really stuck with me was that Ruth, while no intellectual, knew baseball. I think besides his enormous talent he had a deep, subtle, intuitive feel for the game. He went from playing high school ball to the playing for the Red Sox in about four months in 1914. That is very impressive. According to Creamer, Frank Navin was serious about Ruth being a player/manager for the Tigers after the 1933 season. Navin spoke to Ed Barrow during the 1933 World Series about acquiring Ruth. Barrow spoke to Colonel Ruppert and told Navin something could be worked out. Navin wanted to talk to Ruth about the job and asked Ruth to come to Detroit. However, Ruth went on a barnstorming trip to Hawaii with his family. Ed Barrow told him it was a mistake to delay meeting with Navin but Ruth just shrugged it off. Apparently, Navin was annoyed with this. He eventually acquired Mickey Cochrane from the A's and made Cochrane player/manager. I don't see any reason why Ruth could not have had the same managerial success with the Tigers in 1934 as Cochrane did. As Sultan said Ruth would have succeeded with a veteran win-now team.
        Last edited by Honus Wagner Rules; 09-13-2012, 05:42 PM.
        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
          I'll go against what will most likely be popular opinion, but I think Babe's legend is helped by his not managing. He may have been okay, but that's something we'll never know now. But not many legendary players make it as managers, and IMO, it's because the game came too easy to them and they can't comprehend the amount of failure they'll see. I also really love catchers as future managers since they see the game from a different perspective, and it's no surprise to me to see past catchers having some decent success in taking teams to the WS.
          Like this guy?! :hyper:

          bruce-bochy-holds-world-series-trophy.jpg
          Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
            Like this guy?! :hyper:

            [ATTACH=CONFIG]114808[/ATTACH]
            I wouldn't be surprised. I'm sure my lack of sabre-stuff and deep analytical understanding chops me at the knees, but I try to learn it all each day. The best I have right now is based off feel and subtle history / statistics.
            "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Ben Grimm View Post
              I wouldn't be surprised. I'm sure my lack of sabre-stuff and deep analytical understanding chops me at the knees, but I try to learn it all each day. The best I have right now is based off feel and subtle history / statistics.
              Ya know you just gave me a new research project idea. I'll go and check how former major league players turned managers did based on position they played in the majors. Perhaps this may help answer the question "Do catchers really make better managers?"
              Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                Ya know you just gave me a new research project idea. I'll go and check how former major league players turned managers did based on position they played in the majors. Perhaps this may help answer the question "Do catchers really make better managers?"
                If you can do that easily without too much effort, it would be highly welcomed - at least by me. I've always held that stance and still do, and maybe you can either fortify my stance or blow it to oblivion.
                "Chuckie doesn't take on 2-0. Chuckie's hackin'." - Chuck Carr two days prior to being released by the Milwaukee Brewers

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948
                  Not trying to sound condescending, but nice to hear you're reading on him and picking up on certain things. Smelser's, Wagenheim, and certainly despite the title (That he personally told me over the phone, wasn't his first choice), Jenkinson's book offer great insight into his personality and career on and off the field.
                  I plan to read other Ruth books as well. I'm definitely reading Smelser's book next on SHOELESSHOE's recommendation. Perhaps I have short changed the Babe all these years. I even started a thread about Creamer's book.

                  http://www.baseball-fever.com/showth...-Comes-to-life

                  The Reds were also interested in him becoming manager. Nevertheless, the hawaii trip was definitely a mistake. Actually, I think he should have taken the New York minor league gig just to prove a point, but he felt he was above that. Can't really blame him, he was Babe friekin' Ruth, and after all, all these other players were given their first chance at the MLB level.
                  A bunch of other former star players, and contemporaries of Ruth, became major league managers without any previous minor league experience. I can completely understand Ruth's perspective on this. One thing about Ruth I got from the book was that even though he was out all night all the time and partied hard he was always ready to play the next day. But it seems Ruth over-the-top persona irritated Yankees management and that killed Ruth's shot to manage the Yankees.

                  Sort of an issue at the time, was he couldn't actually "play" anymore, but he could still stand there and belt 'em. So did they want him for a drawing card, or for manager. Well turns out the Braves hood-winked him into thinking he would have a manager position but really wanted the drawing card and exhibition batting practice. Tough spot for him to be in but deep down I think he always wanted to prove he could run a club the right way.
                  Braves owner Emil Fuchs hosed Ruth IMO. Creamer copied that long winded letter the Fuchs wrote to Ruth about his expectations of Ruth with the Braves. I read the letter several times to try to make sense of it.
                  Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

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                  • #10
                    This may not transfer to managing and being a success, but it shows a side of Ruth not often brought up.

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the replies.

                      Babe Ruth was a very intelligent player in fact with his numbers you had to be but knowing strategy for any sport does not automatically make a great coach. You have to know how to deal with players. You have to know when to put your arm around a player when he makes a mistake and when to raise your voice and kick a chair across the room. I once heard a story about a college baseball coach who had won the national championship and the following year one of the players on the team was in a slump and begining to get down on himself. The coach told the player that a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and he had played on a national championship the year before so he wasn't as bad as he thought he was. I don't doubt Ruth's baseball intelligence but I always wondered how he would have dealt with the players in a mangerial role.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
                        This may not transfer to managing and being a success, but it shows a side of Ruth not often brought up.
                        Just curious but what was Collins "beef" with Ruth, not wanting him to manage the Red Sox? Was it personal or did Collins believe Ruth wouldn't be a successful manager?
                        Strikeouts are boring! Besides that, they're fascist. Throw some ground balls - it's more democratic.-Crash Davis

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Honus Wagner Rules View Post
                          Just curious but what was Collins "beef" with Ruth, not wanting him to manage the Red Sox? Was it personal or did Collins believe Ruth wouldn't be a successful manager?
                          From Smelser's Book. When Tom Yawkey, twice considered Ruth as manager, Vice President Eddie Collins talked him out of it. The reason was not because he thought Ruth would not be able to do the job. He told Yawkey Ruth was "too independent" to work with the front office.

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                          • #14
                            In one of my Ruth books, Claire is quoted as saying something like the following about Babe following retirement..."For the rest of his life, Babe Ruth figuratively sat by the telephone waiting for the call to come manage the Yankees, but the call never came." She must have known him better than anybody, and she felt that he never lost the intense longing to manage the Yanks.
                            Babe wasn't a guy who just went up there to sock the ball, he knew small ball and, of course, pitching. He was the one who had to tell the Red Sox he couldn't play OF every game between starts, so he knew what the limits of a pitcher were. Babe was also well known for making most of his best friends on the team with the bit players, so you'd think he wouldn't be too hard on the guys who weren't supremely talented (one supposed weakness of Hornsby as a manager). I can't think this would have been a fatal problem, but Babe always had trouble remembering names during his playing career, even for some teammates...you'd think he could have overcome this for a limited roster, but I picture Babe pointing to a guy on the bench and saying, "You, with the big nose...you're pinch hitting...NO, the other big nosed guy, with the weak chin and the 5 o'clock shadow..."
                            "If I drink whiskey, I'll never get worms!" - Hack Wilson

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                            • #15
                              OK, maybe MLB and the owners don't owe Babe a shot, just because of who he was.
                              You would think that some consideration could have been shown for what he meant to the game.

                              What was there to lose, he doesn't do the job, the club does what they have done with managers for years, give him his walking papers.
                              It's not like they are obliged to keep him on.

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