3 Mets managers whose records are not indicative of their value to the club

Terry Collins
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Judging a manager is not always quantifiable by their won-loss record. Sometimes a manager can be good, but is just not afforded the players to accomplish much and stand up to the competition. And sometimes a team is loaded with enough good players that the team can win in spite of the guy at the helm. The New York Mets have had a few that can fall into both of those categories.

Casey Stengel…well…he was old and over the hill by the time he got the call to skipper the Mets in 1962. In nine seasons managing the Brooklyn Dodgers (three seasons) and the Boston Bees/Braves (six seasons) he has a winning percentage of .452 and finished over .500 only once during that time. Suddenly, when he replaced Bucky Harris as Yankees manager for the 1949 season, he was a genius.

In 12 seasons with the Bronx Bombers, he had a winning percentage of .623, capturing 10 American League Pennants and seven World Series Titles. Only four times did the Yankees finish below 97 wins during that span, and only once with less than 92 victories. An amazing run that ended after the 1960 season.

And, then, came the New York Mets. Casey has his No. 37 hanging out there at Citifield. So…what does that mean? Well…in the Old Professor’s time managing the Mets – three plus seasons - he had a .302 winning percentage. In the three full seasons, he never won more than 53 games. Pitiful. Lovable…but pitiful.

Casey Stengel gets a pass when considering Mets managers because it’s really unfair to attempt to figure out if he was good, or bad, or just hanging around to fill the void while the organization established its foundation.

The New York Mets have had two managers who had a winning record despite their ineptitude, and one whose record doesn’t clearly give credit where credit is due.

1) Bud Harrelson, 145-129

Bud Harrelson is one of the most beloved players in Mets history. He was a hardnosed player who could field the shortstop position with the best of them. Harrelson was a part of the Mets core – with Tom Seaver, Jerry Grote, and Cleon Jones – who were good and knew how to play the game correctly.

Unfortunately for Harrelson, it did not translate well as manager.

Harrelson took over for Davey Johnson 42 games (a 20-22 start) into the 1990 season after it was perceived the Johnson had lost control of the clubhouse. The Mets would go 72-49, a .592 winning percentage the rest of the way.

The Mets were loaded with Darryl Strawberry, Kevin McReynolds, and Howard Johnson in the lineup and still had Doc Gooden, Ron Darling, Sid Fernandez, David Cone, and Frank Viola in the starting rotation. How could you NOT win? But they didn’t.

And then in 1991, it was Harrelson who actually did lose control of the clubhouse and failed to make it through the season. He was replaced by Mike Cubbage with just seven games to go. He would finish his stint as Mets manager with a .529 winning percentage.