Diminished power of managers in baseball echoes Cubs’ early-’60s ‘college of … – Los Angeles Times

On Dec. 21, 1960, readers who turned to the sports section of the Chicago Daily Tribune found on its cover an usual baseball article.

Their beloved Cubs were taking a turn toward baseball analytics, only it wasn’t called that yet.

“The Cubs have installed an IBM system which gives instantaneous information on all players on National League rosters,” the article said. It was a brief mention in a story about an even bolder experiment by the club.

The banner headline: “CUBS TO USE 8 COACHES NEXT SEASON!”

Team owner Philip K. Wrigley had decided that using one manager was inefficient. Instead, he’d rotate his coaching staff throughout the season.

As the Dodgers prepare to hire a manager to preside over baseball’s most expensive roster, the game is undergoing its biggest shift in game management philosophy since what became known as the Cubs’ “College of Coaches.”

The analytical league Wrigley perhaps foresaw has blossomed. The Dodgers, whose front-office staff mushroomed last year with the addition of president of baseball operations Andrew Freidman and General Manager Farhan Zaidi, supplied Manager Don Mattingly with a wealth of information.

The power has shifted from the dugout to the front office. At the World Series last week, New York Mets Manager Terry Collins spoke about how even the training of minor league managers had changed. He raised a question: who is making the decisions?

“Lineups are being written for them,” Collins said. “This guy has to pitch today, at this amount. You can’t pinch-hit, because these guys have got to hit the whole game.


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