A decade ago, Hollywood visited the Coliseum to film a baseball movie starring Brad Pitt. Now there’s another handsome Brad in town.
The Oakland A’s hired Brad Ausmus as their new bench coach this winter, as part of a larger shakeup of their coaching staff. Ausmus brings tons of experience to the job, between an 18-year playing career and five seasons as an MLB manager. His accomplishments include three Gold Gloves and an All-Star berth from his days as a catcher, and a postseason trip in his debut campaign as a skipper.
And on top of all that, he’s looked good doing it.
By the measure of sportswriter Craig Calcaterra, Ausmus is the four-time Most Handsome Manager in baseball, out of the five years he’s been eligible. Calcaterra began the lighthearted annual rankings in December of 2013, inspired by none other than Ausmus himself when the latter took his first managing job with the Tigers. Ausmus placed atop the list in three of his four seasons in Detroit, slipping to runner-up once behind Mike Matheny, then returned to first place again in his lone summer with the Angels.
Here’s the full history, from its origins at NBC Sports to its current home in Calcaterra’s daily newsletter, Cup of Coffee. Note that the year refers to the date in December when the list was released, so the winner reigns for the following season:
- 2013: Brad Ausmus, DET
- 2014: Brad Ausmus, DET
- 2015: Mike Matheny, STL
- 2016: Brad Ausmus, DET
- 2017: Gabe Kapler, PHI
- 2018: Brad Ausmus, LAA
- 2019: Rocco Baldelli, MIN
- 2020: Rocco Baldelli, MIN
- 2021: Gabe Kapler, SFG
In the first edition in 2013, Calcaterra explained the conception of his list, with a disclaimer that this is all in good fun and not meant to be taken seriously nor insult anybody. That year he referred to Ausmus as “movie star handsome” and “probably the best looking manager in the history of baseball.”
Ausmus repeated as Most Handsome the next winter, with the following explanation:
“Still the big dog, but his hold is not as strong as it was last year. Last year he was confident and we projected so much onto him. Watching him sweat a little bit as he bungled his bullpen moves all year and in the postseason was like seeing Brad Pitt pick his nose. It didn’t change his looks at all, but the spell was broken, however briefly.”
He briefly dipped down to second place in 2015, as it “was not a good year for the Tigers and the strain of it wore heavy on Ausmus’ handsome, handsome head. I can’t remember when I last saw his sparking smile.”
But in 2016 he was back on top, helped by “how comfortable he is being a true Man of the People.”
Ausmus and the Tigers parted ways after that, so he was out of the running for the 2017 list, but he got a new job with the Angels the next winter and immediately reclaimed his throne:
“Ausmus is a new man, however. He’s tanned, rested and ready. Yes, there’s some gray in that dark mane now and yes he’s got some smile lines around the eyes, but that makes things better, not worse, in my mind.”
In the intro for the 2020 list, Calcaterra suggested he’ll “probably rename this the Brad Ausmus award” at some point after Ausmus retires.
Entering age 53 this season, Ausmus isn’t a manager for now, but he’ll spend the summer in the California sun as the Oakland A’s bench coach. His previous work experience will surely be an asset alongside rookie skipper Mark Kotsay, and every now and then we’ll get a glimpse of an award-winning smile from the dugout. Perhaps someday Ryan Reynolds can portray him in the sequel film, Moneyball 2: Selling Jeans.