Is Alex Cora...

Kenny F'ing Powers

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The best manager in franchise history?

This was never on my radar. I'm on the road for a long drive and am listening to Simmons' podcast. He casually threw out that Cora was, in his opinion, already the best manager in franchise history.

Vague question based on a vague assertion. But, still a fun topic.

Thoughts?
 

OurF'ingCity

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Not sure how to compare managers from the modern day to those in the golden era, but I don’t see how at this point you could rank Cora over Tito. They have more or less the same winning percentage, but Francona was here for much longer, won two WS to Cora’s 1 (so far), and didn’t have the whole cheating scandal/suspension thing. And obviously extra points are deserved for 2004.

Cora could overtake Francona at some point, but not yet.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I find it pretty much impossible to have any real opinion on managers before my time as a fan. For instance, how good was Dick Williams? He took a perennial loser to the brink of a World Series win, then won two WS with the As after leaving town.

Cora vs. Tito is a genuine tossup for me. Tito won two titles while Cora has only won one, but Cora has only managed three years and Tito had better teams to work with IMO.
 

John Marzano Olympic Hero

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The best manager in franchise history?

This was never on my radar. I'm on the road for a long drive and am listening to Simmons' podcast. He casually threw out that Cora was, in his opinion, already the best manager in franchise history.

Vague question based on a vague assertion. But, still a fun topic.

Thoughts?
At this point, he's probably top two, top three depending on what you think of Dick Williams. I think that Francona is better than him, but depending on how long Cora sticks around, he could beat him. What he's done with this team this year is pretty amazing, no matter what they do against Houston.
 

NJ_Sox_Fan

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I think until Cora passes Tito's WS title total, you cannot pick Cora over Tito. Once he gets to 2 or more though, I think you have to go Cora. Had the team's best ever season as well and clearly has a big impact on the players he manages.
 

Smiling Joe Hesketh

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Just to play devils advocate - has Cora achieved more with less? I dont think any of Coras rosters rank in the top handful of Terrys.
I am not sure that is the case. But it's a very good question.

You can say that Cora never had a top end like Tito had with Pedro, Schilling, Manny, Ortiz etc, but it's hardly like Cora was struggling having Mookie, Sale, JD, X, Devers, Price etc. The WARs for the top 5 players on the 2004 team are very similar to the top 5 WARs on the 2018 team, and in fact Mookie's 2018 far outstrips anyone on the 2004 team.

EDIT: In fact the 2018 team was better:

2018: 10.4, 6.8, 6.7, 4.9, 4.8
2004: 7.7, 5.4, 4.3, 4.3, 4.1
 

drbretto

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It's really hard to compare. 2004 doesn't seem all that long ago, but it was a completely different era. I agree Tito had better teams to work with, but he also had better teams to deal with. 2004 was the height of the OBP era where every single pitch was life and death.

To me, and this is definitely the emotional response here, but it's Francona until Cora actually surpasses him in WS wins, not ties him. Just because 2004 is worth a tiebreaker at minimum.

I am not including the cheating scandals in my evaluation. I just don't know the extent of his involvement and it was with another team. I hate it, but I just don't know enough to hang anyone on it.
 

Kenny F'ing Powers

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It's really hard to compare. 2004 doesn't seem all that long ago, but it was a completely different era. I agree Tito had better teams to work with, but he also had better teams to deal with. 2004 was the height of the OBP era where every single pitch was life and death.

To me, and this is definitely the emotional response here, but it's Francona until Cora actually surpasses him in WS wins, not ties him. Just because 2004 is worth a tiebreaker at minimum.

I am not including the cheating scandals in my evaluation. I just don't know the extent of his involvement and it was with another team. I hate it, but I just don't know enough to hang anyone on it.
That was a follow up question I had.

Does anyone ding him for the scandal? I mean, dude got fired from the team.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I am not sure that is the case. But it's a very good question.

You can say that Cora never had a top end like Tito had with Pedro, Schilling, Manny, Ortiz etc, but it's hardly like Cora was struggling having Mookie, Sale, JD, X, Devers, Price etc. The WARs for the top 5 players on the 2004 team are very similar to the top 5 WARs on the 2018 team, and in fact Mookie's 2018 far outstrips anyone on the 2004 team.

EDIT: In fact the 2018 team was better:

2018: 10.4, 6.8, 6.7, 4.9, 4.8
2004: 7.7, 5.4, 4.3, 4.3, 4.1
The 2018 team was at least as good as 2004. But the 2019 and 2021 teams haven't been as good on a talent basis as the average Tito team 2005-2011 IMO.
 

JOBU

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The book is still open on Cora. He’s a great manger. Players love him. I’ll echo others. At this time there’s no way to put him above Tito. Maybe we can re-evaluate this down the road after AC has won another championship (hopefully).
 

lexrageorge

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Cora does get a downgrade for his involvement in the Houston cheating scandal, but I do take into account that there were a lot of people, both players and managers, involved. He took his designated punishment, and so I am willing to put him on a permanent probation. If the team tries to repeat something along the lines of the nonsensical Apple watch scheme that happened under Farrell, then he should be fired.

I do think Cora is probably the best manager for this particular team in this era. Not yet ready to elevate him over Tito, but he gets into the conversation if he's able to raise a flag in Fenway with this roster. Yes, Tito had some larger-than-life personalities to deal with in Manny, et al, but every locker room has its own set of dynamics, and Cora seems to have navigated them well. I like him much better as Red Sox manager than the overrated Joe Maddon, as I think the all around fit (city, roster, ownership) is much better.
 

BaseballJones

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That's an interesting question, KFP. Compare the 2004 roster with the 2018 roster.

2004 Boston Red Sox
Position Starters
C - Varitek - 18 hr, .872 ops, 121 ops+
1b - Millar - 18 hr, .857 ops, 117 ops+
2b - Bellhorn - 17 hr, .817 ops, 107 ops+
3b - Mueller - 12 hr, .811 ops, 106 ops+
SS - Cabrera - 6 hr, .785 ops, 97 ops+ (yes I know Nomar started more games)
LF - Ramirez - 43 hr, 1.009 ops, 152 ops+
CF - Damon - 20 hr, .857 ops, 117 ops+
RF - Nixon - 6 hr, .887 ops, 123 ops+
DH - Ortiz - 41 hr, .983 ops, 145 ops+

Bench
Mirabelli, Reese, Kapler, Mientkiewicz, Roberts

Rotation
SP - Schilling - 3.26 era, 148 era+, 1.06 whip, 8.1 k/9
SP - Pedro - 3.90 era, 124 era +, 1.17 whip, 9.4 k/9
SP - Wakefield - 4.87 era, 99 era+, 1.38 whip, 5.5 k/9
SP - Arroyo - 4.03 era, 120 era+, 1.22 whip, 7.2 k/9
SP - Lowe - 5.42 era, 89 era+, 1.62 whip, 5.2 k/9

Bullpen
RP - Foulke - 2.17 era, 223 era+, 0.94 whip, 8.6 k/9
RP - Timlin - 4.13 era, 117 era+, 1.23 whip, 6.6 k/9
RP - Embree - 4.13 era, 118 era+, 1.15 whip, 6.4 k/9
RP - Leskanic - 3.58 era, 136 era+, 1.45 whip, 7.2 k/9
RP - Myers - 4.20 era, 117 era+, 1.47 whip, 5.4 k/9
RP - Mendoza - 3.52 era, 138 era+, 1.04 whip, 3.8 k/9


2018 Boston Red Sox
Position Starters
C - Vazquez - 3 hr, .540 ops, 46 ops+
1b - Moreland - 15 hr, .758 ops, 102 ops+
2b - Nunez - 10 hr, .677 ops, 81 ops+
3b - Devers - 21 hr, .731 ops, 94 ops+
SS - Bogaerts - 23 hr, .883 ops, 135 ops+
LF - Benintendi - 16 hr, .830 ops, 123 ops+
CF - Bradley - 13 hr, .717 ops, 92 ops+
RF - Betts - 32 hr, 1.078 ops, 186 ops+
DH - Martinez - 43 hr, 1.031 ops, 173 ops+

Bench
Leon, Holt, Pearce, Kinsler

Rotation
SP - Porcello - 4.28 era, 103 era+, 1.18 whip, 8.9 k/9
SP - Price - 3.58 era, 123 era+, 1.14 whip, 9.1 k/9
SP - Sale - 2.11 era, 209 era+, 0.86 whip, 13.5 k/9
SP - Rodriguez - 3.82 era, 116 era+, 1.27 whip, 10.1 k/9
SP - Eovaldi - 3.33 era, 133 era+, 1.28 whip, 8.0 k/9

Bullpen
RP - Kimbrel - 2.74 era, 161 era+, 0.99 whip, 13.9 k/9
RP - Velazquez - 3.18 era, 139 era+, 1.45 whip, 5.6 k/9
RP - Kelly - 4.39 era, 101 era+, 1.36 whip, 9.3 k/9
RP - Barnes - 3.65 era, 121 era+, 1.27 whip, 14.0 k/9
RP - Hembree - 4.20 era, 105 era+, 1.33 whip, 11.4 k/9
RP - Brasier - 1.60 era, 277 era+, 0.77 whip, 7.8 k/9
RP - Workman - 3.27 era, 136 era+, 1.21 whip, 8.1 k/9

Obviously the 2018 team was superior in that it won 108 games (and would have been more had they not taken their foot off the gas in Sept). But it's hard to say the 2018 team had a better roster. Seems pretty close.
 

lexrageorge

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A related question when comparing 2018 vs 2004: who was their toughest playoff opponent? The 2004 Yankees, the 2004 Cardinals, or the 2018 Dodgers?

I'll give the Yankees a slight edge due to their starting lineup, and I felt the AL was better in 2004 than the NL, even though the Cards did win 105 games.
 

BaseballJones

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Or the 2018 Astros? Great lineup, and a rotation headed by Verlander and Cole (with Kuechel, Morton, and McCullers in there too).
 

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Judging managers is just so difficult. Strategies (tactics?) change so much between the 162-game season and the playoffs. For example, Cash was certainly a great manager to get and keep his team in 1st place, but mistakes are terribly magnified once the tournament starts.

Then there's pre-season management, in-game management, roster/injury/rest management and clubhouse management all critical to success before the playoffs even enter the picture.

The manager doesn't do it on his own - his staff has to be considered.

I would never judge a manager based on howe many World Series he won. If the Red Sox lost to the Yankees in 2004 - no one would be putting Tito on the mountaintop...but, he still would be the same talented manager that, looking back, won it all.

Forced to make a choice between all managers, I guess the only way to do it is to compare rosters and see who got the most out of what they were handed - but that still has its flaws.

How about - they BOTH are great?

Edit: Another way to judge is by looking at managers who changed the game and turned the odds to their favor. LaRussa immediately comes to mind. He figuratively invented modern bullpen usage and, in the process, turned his team around. I'm certain baseball historians here have other examples of successful game-changing managers.
 
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TFisNEXT

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How much of the credit for 2007 does Cora get for managing from the field?
This is excellent.

Lets really blow everyone's mind: How much credit does Tito get for making Cora the manager he is today?
 

WenZink

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The fact that Francona was able to last 8 years in a city of high expectations and 5 million second-guessers, makes him #1. Dick Williams was the perfect guy to shake up a team that had become near-comatose for years. But after 1967, he wore out his welcome with his over-the-top abrasiveness. (Williams said to the media, that talking to George Scott is "Like talking to a brick wall." Which may have been true, but why should I know that?) Tito may not have been the man for all seasons, but he was the man for 8 of them.

Obviously, this year's run has done a lot to boost Cora's reputation. He's had to integrate a lot of new parts in with the existing ones, and navigate a year of a lot of ups and downs. The Sox were swept by the Yankees (and we could blame Cora, some, but if Whitlock was healthy?.....) but got the team on track, just in time. I DO ding Cora for his part in the cheating scandal, BUT I give him a lot of credit for owning the blame. Unless he is a complete sociopath, his words (especially in regards to his family) seem very sincere. Cora may not not last 8 years, but whenever his time in Boston is over, he'll get multiple offers from other teams.
 

brs3

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Terry Francona was at helm when the franchise turned the corner from perennial bridesmaid to multi-time champions. I'm putting a lot of weight on 2004, but being a fan of the Boston Red Sox prior to 2004 and since are so incredibly different, and Francona played a part in that. Alex Cora has done so much with this year's team, but I think it'd be unfair to limit his current tenure with the team to compare the two. I suspect Cora is going to continue doing great things that will make this conversation more lively in the years to come.
 

ookami7m

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Honestly the biggest part of a manager's job anymore is managing the personalities in the room. I don't think Cora has had anyone nearly as difficult as Manny - or even Nomar towards the end. Point Tito
 

TapeAndPosts

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There are 7 current MLB managers that played under Francona with the Red Sox. Maybe there is something there?
This amazed me and I had to verify it for myself, and indeed: Ross, Roberts, Kapler, Cora, Baldelli, Cash and Woodward. First of all, I somehow didn't remember that Chris Woodward existed, much less played for the Red Sox in 2009 (1 hit in 16 plate appearances!). Second, I think it says something about how front offices have turned to younger managers these days that so many players who played in the 00's are managing already. I would be curious to ask them how much influence Tito had on them.
 

azsoxpatsfan

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2004 of course has added weight from an emotional standpoint, but from a strict perspective of managerial talent, the 86 year drought doesn’t seem like it would alter the talent level necessary for a manager to win. Handling personalities does, of course, but the simple fact of the drought doesn’t seem like it would. That said, I was too young in 04 and even 07 to really appreciate things like bullpen usage and substitutions and team chemistry, but the longer (so far) tenure plus the two championships vs one seems to tilt this in Franconas favor.

Also, cheating doesn’t alter the evaluation of Cora from a strict talent POV. Maybe it makes you dislike him, but it shouldn’t effect your evaluation of his managerial ability
 

nvalvo

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Cora does get a downgrade for his involvement in the Houston cheating scandal, but I do take into account that there were a lot of people, both players and managers, involved. He took his designated punishment, and so I am willing to put him on a permanent probation. If the team tries to repeat something along the lines of the nonsensical Apple watch scheme that happened under Farrell, then he should be fired.

I do think Cora is probably the best manager for this particular team in this era. Not yet ready to elevate him over Tito, but he gets into the conversation if he's able to raise a flag in Fenway with this roster. Yes, Tito had some larger-than-life personalities to deal with in Manny, et al, but every locker room has its own set of dynamics, and Cora seems to have navigated them well. I like him much better as Red Sox manager than the overrated Joe Maddon, as I think the all around fit (city, roster, ownership) is much better.
This is an important point.

As with steroids or the sticky stuff controversy, I, for one, don't see a ton of moral benefit in trying to sort all of baseball into clean and dirty. It's tough to suddenly enforce rules that are being widely and subtly disregarded, so I don't envy the league's task here, but it's hard not to roll your eyes as they pingpong from enforcement change to enforcement change as they freak out more about the game's aesthetics than moral probity or integrity of competition — all the while cashing in on gambling partnerships. (Someone in the league office might want to meditate on how it is that they keep finding themselves in this situation...)

The league is quite clearly trying to present these phenomena as limited to particular individuals and players, and the stiff penalties for Cora, Hinch, and Beltrán and some other clubhouse personnel are part of how they aim to do that. But as a moral matter, we should all be clear about what is happening here: they are singling out for punishment the people they can punish without getting mired in union grievances. It's more like scapegoating than a real moral accounting. But basically anytime anyone else talks about it, what they say is basically that this stuff is pervasive, all 30 teams do or have done something along those lines, and the Houston version differs primarily in terms of the means of conveying signs to the batters' box — which was, it is important to recognize, a meaningful difference.

Still, it's pretty tricky to explain to an outsider why taking an unfair advantage is morally okay, if and only if you have a runner on second base. It's just clunky moral reasoning. I think there is a difference, but that difference is rooted in the arcana of baseball traditions that few understand.

So I am sympathetic to those on this board who consider Cora tainted by his involvement in that scheme, but also feel that there's enough smoke to justify a strong suspicion that we haven't seen the whole picture here, and if we knew more about the extent of abuses league-wide, Cora and the Astros would not appear to be the stark outliers they now are — much in the same way that the more we learned about steroids or Spider Tack, the more we learned that it was not a matter of a few players here and there, but something that was extremely widespread. Or to consider much more serious misconduct, I am always struck by how little attention follows the various front office figures involved in extremely shady dealings in the international free agent market: sure, it's the Dodgers who were the targets of that Foreign Corrupt Practices Act investigation a few years back, but do we really think any club is fully innocent there?

I am likewise struck that Dustin Pedroia, Brock Holt and Chris Young — the key in-uniform figures in the Apple Watch scandal — have not taken any reputational knock around here, while Cora is widely impugned. With Manfred eager to bury things, I don't think we ever got a straight answer on how exactly Pedroia, injured but in uniform, was conveying the signs to the field from the dugout — the key issue — because everyone was focused on how the information was getting from the clubhouse to the dugout. Same thing with the accusations that the Yankees used the YES monitors in some way that was never quite hashed out, etc. etc. It seems like there were a ton of schemes along these lines. It was routine, the league must have known, but they ignored it until it became an embarrassment.

I guess I'm trying to say that Cora, Hinch and Beltrán were clearly key figures in the Sign Stealing Era, but we need to be careful lest we miss the forest for the trees here. This is not to excuse the obvious culpability of the trashcan bangers, it's to cock an eyebrow at the league's clumsy efforts to make the story go away. My strong suspicion is that the Astros are the team we all focus on because Fiers outed them (as he should have), but if another team's equally dumb scheme had been the one outed by another embittered journeyman starter — let's say that the Mariner Moose had a communication device inside the suit, and was conveying pitch locations using some sort of antler semaphore — that one would be the center of the story, and the others (including any trashcan banging) would be hastily hushed up as participants quietly circled the wagons and took the hallway TV monitors down.

So where does this leave Cora? I'm not really sure. On the one hand, he clearly did what he is accused of, and what he is accused of is clearly bad. On the other hand, he admits it and makes no effort to minimize what he did, describing it as a terrible and regrettable lapse in judgment, and frankly acknowledges that it will follow him for the rest of his career. But my impulse is that we should be more inclined to resist the satisfactions of letting a few individuals carry the burden of moral stains that should be understood as falling on a broader culture.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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From the start, I’ve believed that Cora and Beltran were a-little-too-conveniently scapegoated (as two guys who didn’t work there anymore) for The Banging Scheme. That might be my bias talking, though, which I will own.
 

WenZink

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Strange how John Farrell has been put in the trash-can, just above Bobby V. At his best, he was "John Wayne" getting the most out of a veteran pitching staff in 2013, as well as extracting the last valuable parts of the careers of Victorino and Napoli. His dumping Middlebrooks and Salty for Bogaerts and Ross, in the middle of the World Series was decisive. At his worst, Farrell seems like "Jonah Ryan" from the series Veep. Farrell was the right manager for 2013. After that, not so much. But 2013 was a great run, and probably not possible with Farrell (and Papi of course)
 

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Strange how John Farrell has been put in the trash-can, just above Bobby V. At his best, he was "John Wayne" getting the most out of a veteran pitching staff in 2013, as well as extracting the last valuable parts of the careers of Victorino and Napoli. His dumping Middlebrooks and Salty for Bogaerts and Ross, in the middle of the World Series was decisive. At his worst, Farrell seems like "Jonah Ryan" from the series Veep. Farrell was the right manager for 2013. After that, not so much. But 2013 was a great run, and probably not possible with Farrell (and Papi of course)
His teams also won consecutive division titles, and three total. Not many have done that. He was sort of an old school hard ass, and guys like that have a short shelf life these days, but the accomplishments in his 5 years are actually pretty impressive.
 

Red(s)HawksFan

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From the start, I’ve believed that Cora and Beltran were a-little-too-conveniently scapegoated (as two guys who didn’t work there anymore) for The Banging Scheme. That might be my bias talking, though, which I will own.
The GM and the manager did lose their jobs too, so it wasn't just guys who didn't work there anymore. Though to me, the telling thing about it all is that of the four who were significantly implicated/impacted in the aftermath of the scandal, two were not on the unemployment line long once their punishment was ended (Hinch and Cora) and the guy who wasn't formally punished at all because he was a player at the time is still out of work (Beltran). Makes me wonder how much of the result of the investigation was scape-goating because they couldn't do anything about the real culprits (the players), and the industry as a whole knows it hence Beltran still being on the outside of the game while Hinch and Cora have jobs.
 

8slim

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I'll limit this to the managers I've actively watched, which goes back to Ralph Houk. Francona was the best, and whomever is #2 really isn't close. Not only did Tito win 2 titles, but he also made 3 ALCS, 5 playoffs, and never had a losing season. Cora's got a lot of ground to cover before we can have a real debate between him and Francona, IMHO.
 

canderson

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I think the FO is much more in line and connected with Cora than we had with Tito. I think the manager and FO today is a mirror image and a bit like one large manager - not to say Cora isn't very good but I have a sense his lineup/positioning/etc is given to him from the analytical side whereas Tito I'm guessing had very little upper hand inputs.
 

Archer1979

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There are 7 current MLB managers that played under Francona with the Red Sox. Maybe there is something there?
Let's take it one step back to the 1988 Cleveland Indians with six current or former major league managers all on the roster in the same year:

https://www.cleveland.com/tribe/2013/10/cradle_of_manages_1988_clevela.html

Right again, but that was before the '88 Indians turned into the cradle of managers, producing six current or former big league skippers, including John Farrell, who has the Red Sox in the Fall Classic in his first year on the job in Boston. Terry Francona, Ron Washington, Bud Black, Dave Clark and Charlie Manuel are the others. Manuel, the Tribe's hitting coach at the time, was the only non-player in the group.

These aren’t merely interim, cup-of-coffee managers either. They’ve combined to win three World Series titles, seven pennants and lead their teams to 16 postseason appearances.

Francona is still stunned it happened.

“We were closer to the movie Major League than being managers,” said Francona. “We weren’t real good.”
I'll limit this to the managers I've actively watched, which goes back to Ralph Houk. Francona was the best, and whomever is #2 really isn't close. Not only did Tito win 2 titles, but he also made 3 ALCS, 5 playoffs, and never had a losing season. Cora's got a lot of ground to cover before we can have a real debate between him and Francona, IMHO.
This is pretty much it for me. Even when Tito "lost" the team in 2011, he was still close to getting the team into the post-season.
 

lexrageorge

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I think the FO is much more in line and connected with Cora than we had with Tito. I think the manager and FO today is a mirror image and a bit like one large manager - not to say Cora isn't very good but I have a sense his lineup/positioning/etc is given to him from the analytical side whereas Tito I'm guessing had very little upper hand inputs.
In his autobiography, Tito and his ghost writer, Shank, write about (and deservedly laugh at) the proposed lineups he would get handed to him by one Eric Van. Between Theo and Bill James, Henry built one of the more analytically minded baseball teams in that era.

In 2003, there was the trove of data on the Oakland A's hitters that Grady Little threw unread into the trash heap.

The analytics have evolved quite a bit since then, so the data set Cora gets could very well be larger.
 

pk1627

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Francona.

3 ALCS’s in 8 years. If Cora gets this team to another in the next 5 years, we can talk.

He also got to extra innings in Game 7 WS with Cleveland. No one thought that team would get by Boston. Tito’s pitching mgmt was amazing. Playoff Tito was a thing before Playoff Cora.

Francona is the best we ever had. Cora and Cash were lucky to learn from him.
 

Return of the Dewey

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Francona.

3 ALCS’s in 8 years. If Cora gets this team to another in the next 5 years, we can talk.

He also got to extra innings in Game 7 WS with Cleveland. No one thought that team would get by Boston. Tito’s pitching mgmt was amazing. Playoff Tito was a thing before Playoff Cora.

Francona is the best we ever had. Cora and Cash were lucky to learn from him.
I'm in the Francona camp too, and I think that you haven't seen the last of big league managers that have either played/coached with Tito at some point (e.g. Varitek, Pedroia).
 

BornToRun

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From the start, I’ve believed that Cora and Beltran were a-little-too-conveniently scapegoated (as two guys who didn’t work there anymore) for The Banging Scheme. That might be my bias talking, though, which I will own.
Not just you. That’s my personal conspiracy theory as well.
 

lexrageorge

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My rankings by tier of managers in my lifetime*:

Inner Sanctum: Tito, for breaking The Curse.

Top Tier:

Cora
Dick Williams

2nd Tier: Managers who had their moments and were actually OK, but either lacked for opportunity or whose ways did not lend them to long term success here. In ranked order:

John Farrell: The lowest tier I can put in a manager that won a Series. He was perfect for that 2013 team that captured everyone's attention. Plus 2 division titles.
Eddie Kasko: The first manager I truly remember. Was pushed upstairs just as the roster was starting to be rebuilt, and had some success as scouting director.
Joe Morgan: Morgan Magic in 1988 was truly memorable.

3rd Tier: In disorder of appearance.

Darrell Johnson: Bill Lee would later laugh at his managerial "prowess" for good reason.
Don Zimmer: Enough has been written about him.
Ralph Houck: Terrible teams, but did nothing to boost them.
John McNamara: Darrell Johnson redux.
Kevin Kennedy: Kind of rubbed a lot of people the wrong way.
Jimy Williams: Lots of fanfare but widely disliked in the clubhouse.
Grady Little: Gets here because he was likeable.
Ron Roenicke: Thanks for your service.

4th Tier: The Wall of Absolute Shame. In disorder of apperance:

Butch Hobson: A complete and utter tool.
Joe Kerrigan: Almost ruined Pedro's career.
Bobby Valentine: Results speak for themselves.

Incompletes: Billy Herman (I was 2 when he left), Johnny Pesky, Eddie Popowski, Mike Cubbage
 

PedroKsBambino

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Apr 17, 2003
26,199
What Tito did in 2004 from a managerial perspective—taking over from Grady and the 2003 game 7 debacle; Schilling arriving; the year long hype against Yankees, the teams early-mid swoon; the Nomar trade; an incredible set of personalities—Nomar, Manny, Pedro, Schilling, a front office with three gigantic egos quarreling behind the scenes, going down 0-3; the to that point unprecedented use of Foulke early in game 4 and the overall comeback and then, oh yeah, winning World Series, may well be the best season a MLB manager has ever had.

I like Cora a ton and recognize how well he’s managed in the postseason. The 2018 team was a juggernaut and he has managed a very different team through a lot this year. But to me, what Tito did stands alone and it’ll take a couple more runs from Cora to catch him.
 
Dec 28, 2015
113
You guys are selling Bill Carrigan short here.
Right you are. Like Terry, "Rough Carrigan" won two World Series, in 1915 and 1916. He was considered a master motivator and sought the opinion of all the players in team meetings, a dramatic departure in a clubhouse dominated by Tris Speaker and Smoky Joe Wood. A catcher he helped the rookie Babe Ruth with his pitching mechanics. When Speaker was sold to the Indians prior to the 1916 season, he rallied a demoralized team and won a second World Series. A player-manager in his early years, he was only 33 when he stepped away and returned to Maine.

One feels like a pedant to mention this - even to talk about Dick Williams also - but the Red Sox franchise did begin in 1901, not 2001.

Attention must be paid, but truth must be told also, and Carrigan did return to manage the miserable poverty-stricken Red Sox of 1927-1929 and lost around 300 games.
 

Rovin Romine

Johnny Rico
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Jul 14, 2005
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Miami (oh, Miami!)
From the start, I’ve believed that Cora and Beltran were a-little-too-conveniently scapegoated (as two guys who didn’t work there anymore) for The Banging Scheme. That might be my bias talking, though, which I will own.
https://img.mlbstatic.com/mlb-images/image/upload/mlb/cglrhmlrwwbkacty27l7.pdf
Alex Cora (Bench Coach). Cora was involved in developing both the banging scheme and utilizing the replay review room to decode and transmit signs. Cora participated in both schemes, and through his active participation, implicitly condoned the players’ conduct.
Early in the season, Alex Cora, the Astros’ Bench Coach, began to call the replay review room on the replay phone to obtain the sign information . . .
Cora arranged for a video room technician to install a monitor displaying the center field camera feed immediately outside of the Astros’ dugout . . .
witnesses consistently describe this new scheme as player-driven, and with the exception of Cora, non-player staff, including individuals in the video replay review room, had no involvement in the [trash can] banging scheme . . .
The attempt by the Astros’ replay review room staff to decode signs using the center field camera was originated and executed by lower-level baseball operations employees working in conjunction with Astros players and Cora . . .

View: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/2871544-red-sox-say-alex-cora-admitted-what-he-did-was-wrong-in-sign-stealing-probe
Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner said former manager Alex Cora admitted he was wrong for playing a "central role" in the Houston Astros' sign-stealing scheme, leading to the two sides mutually agreeing to part ways this week.

"Alex was understanding and professional and he admitted what he did was wrong," Werner told reporters Wednesday. "Alex by his own admission played a central role in what went on in Houston. We all agreed it was wrong, and that we had a responsibility as stewards where we have a standard where that behavior is unacceptable."
https://www.tmz.com/2020/11/11/alex-cora-houston-astros-cheating-scandal-deserved-boston-red-sox/
"I deserved what happened this year."

"This situation is part of who I am for the rest of my career. As a man, I have to deal with it. I don’t want people to make it seem like it's a great comeback story."
 

joe dokes

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Jul 18, 2005
22,204
I don't think anyone only in their 3rd year of doing anything for an operation that's 120 years old can ever be called the "best" unless that operation had truly been awful for the first 117 years.
So, no.
 

riboflav

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Jan 20, 2006
8,257
NOVA
I don't think anyone only in their 3rd year of doing anything for an operation that's 120 years old can ever be called the "best" unless that operation had truly been awful for the first 117 years.
So, no.
Well it seems to me there's a difference between a manager who had a great career as a manager full of accomplishments and just a great manager. Sometimes, it's both and sometimes, it's not. Like Cora could technically be a better manager than Tito but without the accomplishments as of yet.
 

Yelling At Clouds

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Jul 19, 2005
2,145
I never said he was innocent, but I do think that he and Beltran were falsely made out to be the only ones involved. And, for what it’s worth, he has said so himself:

Painted by some as the mastermind of Houston’s sign-stealing scheme during the 2017 season, former bench coach Alex Cora denied that the trash-can banging system was a “two-man show,” specifically questioning the only public statement of former Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow.

"Out of this whole process, if there is one thing that I completely reject and disagree with is people within the Astros' organization singling me out, particularly Jeff Luhnow, as if I were the sole mastermind,” Cora told ESPN on Thursday in his first interview since being fired by the Boston Red Sox.
Decide for yourselves.
 

ColdSoxPack

Well-Known Member
Silver Supporter
Jul 14, 2005
1,285
Simi Valley, CA
His teams also won consecutive division titles, and three total. Not many have done that. He was sort of an old school hard ass, and guys like that have a short shelf life these days, but the accomplishments in his 5 years are actually pretty impressive.
I was at the home of a player who was on the John Farrell World Series team. This was right after Farrell was fired. I asked him how the Sox could go from WS champs to last place under the same manager. The player told me the Red Sox won the World Series in spite of Farrell. The player was high and I was loaded but that’s how I remember it.