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Wade Boggs: Hall of Fame 2005

Yea or Nay: Don't jump the gun on LaRussa

Does Tony La Russa belong in the Hall of Fame? How about Lou Piniellla? The Times sports columnists square off on some Bay area candidates' chances.

Published July 27, 2005

La Russa will eventually make it to the Hall of Fame. You're not getting anywhere arguing against that. So consider me a conscientious objector.

There is basically one argument for La Russa. He is fourth on the all-time list for managerial victories. Pretty impressive, until you consider this:

He's fifth on the all-time list for managerial losses.

Which basically means he's been making out lineup cards for a long, long time. It doesn't mean he is a Hall of Famer. It's sort of like saying Tommy John belongs in the Hall because he won 288 games after playing 26 seasons.

The truth is La Russa's reputation has always been greater than his production. Law degree? Wow. Featured role in George Will's book Men at Work? Cool. Actual World Series rings? One. Which is the same number won by Bob Brenly and Joe Altobelli.

La Russa has one of the worst managerial records in World Series history at 5-12 and his teams, more often than not, were the favorites.

His career winning percentage (.536) is not dominant, and his work in the postseason is not impressive. Billy Martin (.553) had a higher career winning percentage, won the World Series twice, and yet he's not in the Hall of Fame. Ditto for Danny Murtaugh (.540) and Billy Southworth (.597).

If a Hall of Fame player has to be dominant, shouldn't a manager too?

[Last modified July 27, 2005, 07:39:33]

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