The Oddest MLB Managers of Sports Betting History

Posted by Alex Murphy on May 30, 2015 in

A few weeks ago, the Miami Marlins sent their general manager, Dan Jennings, down to the field as their new manager. One possible issue, of course, is that Jennings’ only coaching experience comes from a short stint at the high school level. He didn’t play pro baseball – and he has never coached at it at any level. However, while Jennings’ hire might seem strange, it’s not the strangest decision by a team’s ownership when it comes to its baseball manager – not by a long shot. Let’s take a stroll down memory lane to see the most bizarre MLB managers who left sports betting fans around the world amazed.

An Inside Look at The Oddest MLB Managers of Sports Betting History

St. Louis Browns, 1951: The Fans

On August 24, 1951, Browns owner Bill Veeck had his team’s manager, Zack Taylor, sit out of the dugout in a rocking chair – wearing his slippers. A select group of 1,115 fans had red and green cards they would hold up to respond to potential strategic decisions in the middle of the game. The Browns would win this game, 5-3, in a season in which they would only win 51 others while dropping 102.

Atlanta Braves, 1977: Ted Turner

Near the end of the 1977 campaign, the Braves had just completed a 16-game losing streak. Team owner Ted Turner decided that he could do a better job himself, so he managed one game. Then, the National League ruled that a team owner could not manage his own team. Of course, this overturned the precedent that Connie Mack had set by managing his own Philadelphia A’s for decades. Turner’s take was: “If I’m smart enough to save $11 million to buy the team, I ought to be smart enough to manage it.”

Cincinnati Reds, 1984: Pete Rose

Rose was Major League Baseball’s last player-manager, coaching from 1984 to 1986 and putting himself into 312 games over that stretch. At the time, it was the player-manager role that was stranger than what would later emerge as a problem when Rose was banned from the game for betting on his own team. When Rose took the helm, he was the first player-manager since 1979.

New York Yankees, 1988: Billy Martin

George Steinbrenner brought Martin back to manage the Yankees a fifth time in 1988, even though all four of his prior stints had ended in controversy. These events included a feud with Reggie Jackson that led to his firing in 1978 and a fight in a bar with a marshmallow salesman in 1979. This last stint would end when Martin got in a fight in the restroom of a topless bar in Texas.

Arizona Diamondbacks, 2009: A.J. Hinch

Hinch was only 34 when he took the helm of the Diamondbacks, and he had never coached or managed at any level. He had played as a major league catcher and earned a psychology degree from Stanford, but he was on the track toward becoming a general manager before the Diamondbacks put him on the field. Currently, he is managing the Houston Astros – and has them in first place in the American League West.

Chicago Cubs, 1961: The College of Coaches

Instead of having a manager, Cubs owner P.K. Wrigley instituted a system of eight head coaches, calling them the “College of Coaches.” These coaches would rotate throughout the farm system and at the major league level, putting a consistent system of play throughout the entire organization. The next two years produced uneven results (and uneven processes). The Cubs would name Bob Kennedy the head of this “college” in 1963, and then would go back to a traditional manager system by hiring Leo Durocher as the manager in 1966. In retrospect, it seems like an idea that may have been ahead of its time.