Quick, what do Art Howe and Bob Geren have in common?
They are the only A's managers in the history of the franchise to post losing seasons in their first three years at the helm. Not exactly complimentary stuff, so let's spin it another way: they are the only managers to have the opportunity to do that.
A brief history: for the first 50 years of the A's existence, only one man was allowed to roam their dugout, guy by the name of Connie Mack. In the 59 seasons since, 28 managers have been employed, not counting cameo appearances. Only six of them were able to stick around for at least three full seasons, and four of them have come in succession: Tony La Russa, Howe, Ken Macha, and Geren.
During the Kansas City years, there were two managers- Lou Boudreau and Harry Craft- who just missed a third season. Boudreau's 1957 A's were well on their way to a third-straight losing campaign, when he got the axe, and was replaced by Craft. Craft finished off that season, and "led" the Athletics to a 139-169 record the next two years, before receiving his walking papers.
Then Finley took over. (Well, it was the following season, actually).
In 20 years as the owner of the A's, Finley made 17 managerial changes. (By stark contrast only seven men have managed the team in the last 29 seasons, and Billy Martin was actually a Finley-hire.) Two managers- Hank Bauer and Alvin Dark- were under Finley's watch in both Kansas City and Oakland. He once fired Jack McKeon and replaced him with Bobby Winkles. When Winkles quit on him 39 games into the '78 season, Finley hired back Jack.
But this isn't so much a post about the history of A's managers or how the current philosophy differs from Finley's quick-trigger. It's about Bob Geren. Remember, Art Howe- 217-269 his first three seasons compared to Geren's 226-259- led the A's to 384 wins in the four years that followed, and three post-season trips until being shown the door in favor of Macha.
With another revival looming, will Geren be around long enough to reap the rewards? More to the point, does he deserve to be? How would AN grade his performance these past three years, and also this past month, as he once again is confronted with a makeshift roster? Surely opinions differ on the "value" of a big-league manager, but what about Bob?
Stay tuned for the A's and Jays in about 90 minutes.