The shoe that hasn’t dropped

We are now pretty deep into the 2012 baseball season, and while there’s been plenty of action on and off the field, there is one fairly common event that we have not yet seen. To date, not one major-league manager has been fired. Judging subjectively by the flow of reportage and rumor, there aren’t even any managers on the “hot seat” right now, wondering if they’ll make their team’s next road trip.

How often does the full complement of managers last this deep into a season? Not too often. We’re currently at just about 100 games for the season. This table shows how many managers were fired (or resigned) in the first 100 games of each season of the new millennium. (Note: I’m one of those math geeks who still insists the 21st century began in 2001, not 2000.)

Year                '11    '10    '09    '08    '07    '06    '05    '04    '03    '02    '01
Firings by 100        3      4      3      3      3      0      2      2      1      7      4

(Three of the seven 2002 departures came within 22 games. Impatience was at a premium that year.)

Not only did 2006 have no firings by the 100-game mark, it had no midseason firings at all. For the years that did, here are the earliest firings each season. Numbers in parentheses are how many games the team played before the firing.

2011: Bob Geren, A’s (63)
2010: Trey Hillman, Royals (35)
2009: Bob Melvin, D-Backs (29)
2008: Willie Randolph, Mets (69)
2007: Sam Perlozzo, Orioles (69)
2005: Dave Miley, Reds (70) [Royals manager Tony Pena resigned after only 33 games.]
2004: Bob Brenly, D-Backs (79)
2003: Jeff Torborg, Marlins, (38)
2002: Phil Garner, Tigers (6) [Ouch.]
2001: Larry Rothschild, Devil Rays (14)

In case you’re wondering, both 2000 and 1999 had no firings by this point in the season. 2000 matched 2006 in having no midseason house-cleanings at all, while 1999 saw three in the final two months.

Will 2012 be one of those periodic seasons where all the managers get a full 162 games? With the added wild cards in the mix, we currently have very few teams that both are seriously under-performing expectations and are out of the playoff race. Obvious scapegoats are not too common, and there aren’t any notable groundswells for axing a particular manager. If you made me bet one way or the other, I’d say we’re going to make it to October with the 30 we had in March.

And now that I’m committed, I just know Ozzie Guillen is going to say something outrageous in the next week …

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A writer for The Hardball Times, Shane has been writing about baseball and science fiction since 1997. His stories have been translated into French, Russian and Japanese, and he was nominated for the 2002 Hugo Award.
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Jim G.
Jim G.

To be fair, Phil Garner was 0-6….

Paul G.
Paul G.
Perhaps apt, I hadn’t even considered the idea of a manager getting fired this year.  And I grew up a fan of the George Steinbrenner Yankees when the revolving door was so absurd Woody Allen referenced it straight in Don’t Drink the Water.  (Or at least in the version I saw.  It was hilarious.) Looking at the AL, the only teams out of the race at this point were expected to be horrible, so no point on canning the manager for babysitting the rebuilding process.  Among the contenders the biggest disappointments are Detroit (playing much better recently), Toronto (pitching staff… Read more »