Best 8 Yankees managers of all time

Ralph Houk, one the best Yankees managers, with Yogi Berra, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio in this file photo from March 9, 1961.

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The Yankees began their baseball history in New York in 1903 with Clark Griffith as their first manager. Between that era and today, the Yankees have managers 35 managers in their history, including Griffith and the current manager Aaron Boone. Their guidance has become crucial for the team to win 27 World Series, 40 Pennants, and 20 Division titles. Eleven of their managers are in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Here are the eight most illustrious of the New York Yankees managers.

Joe McCarthy (1931-1946)

Joe McCarthy was the most winningest of all Yankees managers. He was their manager for 16 seasons with a winning percentage of .627. Under his stewardship, the Bombers notched up 1,460 wins in 2,348 games. During that time, they won eight pennants and seven World Series titles, including four in a row from 1936 to 1939. McCarthy managed some of the greatest Yankee players, such as Lou Gherig, Bill Dickey, and Joe DiMaggio. In 1957, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Casey Stengel (1949–1960)

In his 12 years with the Yankees, Casey Stengel changed them from just winners to the MLB’s most successful team. During his time, the team won 10 Pennants and seven World Series titles. Stengel was the only manager in baseball history to lead a team to five straight World Series titles and this makes him unique among all Yankees managers. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1966, and his .623 winning percentage is the second best. Stengel’s team boasted legends, such as Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Billy Martin, and Phil Rizzuto.

Joe Torre (1996 to 2007)

Joe Torre is the most popular of all Yankees managers ever to take charge of the team. His quiet demeanor and the way he used to motivate and correct his players behind closed doors won him admiration. When Torre became the manager of the Yankees in 1996, he had no history of winning a pennant and all dismissed him as a “temporary replacement” than as the new manager of the team.

But he proved everyone wrong by managing one of the greatest Yankees dynasties, which won the World Series in 1996 and then went on to have back-to-back-to-back titles in 1998, 1999, and 2000. Torre led the Yankees to the playoffs for 12 straight years and mentored superstars Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Jorge Posada, Paul O’Neill, Roger Clemens, and Alex Rodriguez.

Torre left the Yankees with a record of 1173-767, four World Series titles, and six pennants, for a winning percentage of .605.

Miller Huggins (1918-1929)

Miller Huggins was the Yankees’ manager for 12 years, from 1918 to 1929. He was the person who turned the lesser-known team into the feared Murderer’s Row and thus, occupies a special place in the pantheon of Yankees managers. Miller guided the team to win three World Series titles and six pennants.

Huggins was Babe Ruth‘s manager during his incredible 1927 season when Ruth hit 60 home runs. He died of infection while leading the Yankees’ 1929 season. The manager finished his career with a 1067-719 record and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1964.

Ralph Houk (1961–1963, 1966–1973)

Ralph Houk is best known for taking over for the great Casey Stengel, one of the most revered Yankees managers, in 1961. He was known as a manager who cared about his players. In his first job as a manager, with the Pinstripes, he did well, winning three straight AL Pennants and the World Series in 1961 and 1962. Houk was the boss of Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, who broke Babe Ruth’s record by hitting 61 home runs.

Houk was the Yankees’ manager for 11 years, ending with a .539 winning percentage in 1973. (944-806). He managed the Tigers and the Red Sox after he left New York, but he never won another pennant.

Billy Martin (1975-1978, 1979, 1983, 1985, 1988)

Billy Martin gets an honorable mention because he talks back to people and his relationship with George Steinbrenner goes on and off. He was the manager of the Yankees five times. His best years were 1976-1977 when he led the team to consecutive American League pennants and a win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1976 World Series.

Billy was known for yelling at umpires and drinking too much, but he was also known as a manager who turned losing teams into winners and thus ranks among the best Yankees managers. Steinbrenner and the whole city of New York were sad when he died in a tragic accident on Christmas Day in 1989.

Martin played in New York for a total of eight seasons, ending with a record of 556-385. (.591 winning percentage).

Bob Lemon (1978–1979, 1981–1982)

When manager Billy Martin quit in July 1978, the team was 14 games out of first place and looked like a lost cause. Bob Lemon was asked to take over. But things took a dramatic turn, and by the end of the regular season, the Yankees and their biggest rivals, the Boston Red Sox, were tied for first place in the American League East. The winner of the division would be decided by a single game.

In one of the most exciting baseball games ever, the Yankees were behind 2-0 in the seventh inning. Shortstop Bucky Dent hit one of the biggest home runs in Yankees history, a three-run shot over the Green Monster that put the Bombers ahead for good and helped them win 5-4. In one of the best comeback stories in baseball history, the Yankees went on to win the World Series that year. It would also be the last time they won the Championship for almost 20 years.

Even though he was fired early the next season, the fact that Bob Lemon was able to take over a team that was so far out of first place and in such a mess at the end of the season and turn it around to win the World Series is more than enough to put him among the greatest Yankees managers.

Buck Showalter (1992–1995)

Showalter took over just as owner George Steinbrenner was banned from MLB. This meant that he didn’t have to deal with the constant stress and distractions that Steinbrenner caused. After a rough first couple of years, the Yankees’ luck started to turn around in 1994. By August, they were in first place in the American League East. But because of a strike, the rest of the regular season and the playoffs were not played that year. There was no way the Yankees could win the World Series and bring it back to New York. The Yankees were crushed, but they came back in 1995 even more determined to win. Showalter did the impossible by helping the Yankees get back to the playoffs for the first time in 14 years and this adds him to the list of the greatest Yankees managers.

That year, the Yankees were the first American League Wild Card to make the playoffs. They played the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS. But after the Yankees took a 2-0 lead in the series, Seattle came back and won the next three games in a row. The final game, Game 5, was a walk-off win, which shocked the Yankees and the baseball world. Irate, Steinbrenner fired Showalter. Even though his four years as manager of the Yankees ended badly, Showalter’s deeds made him one of the best managers in the Yankees’ history.

Who do you consider others to be part of this list of the top Yankees managers?

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