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All-Star Selection Bias by Team, Top 10 Overachieving/Underachieving Managers




On a previous lunch hour, between bites of an All-P sandwich* I was wondering if there was a useable correlation between the number of All-Stars teams have and an expected number of wins. I thought if a team had a lot of all-stars and lower-than expected the wins, it might suggest a lackluster managing job. Higher than average wins per all-star, good managing. It turns out there actually is a very strong step up in average winning percentage for each incremental All-Star a team has. Roughly this: 1 All-Star – average winning percent of .458; 2 All-Stars, .501; 3 All-Stars, .542; 4 All-Stars, .557, and so on.


The problem with using this information is the incredible market bias in all-star selections. To be able to evaluate Yankees managers and Twins managers on common ground, each team’s positive or negative bias in All-Star selections has to be compensated for.


To do this, I counted the number of All-Star selections each year and totaled the number of total league wins. I then figured out each year’s average wins per all-star and applied this to each team’s winning percentage to determine the equitable number of all-stars each team should have had. Summing the actual number of All-Stars each team had historically and dividing this by the sum of equitable All-Stars historically creates an index value per team than can be used for the aforementioned manager evaluation.


Which team has the biggest bias in All-Star team selection? Do I really have to ask? Of course, it’s the Yankees with nearly 52% more All-Stars than a fair distribution suggests given the team’s success. This is by far and away the highest bias as the next closest team, the Cardinals, are at +23%. Rounding out the top 5 are the Red Sox at +21%, and the Dodgers and the Reds both at 13%. Conversely, the Rodney Dangerfield teams of All-Star selections are led by the Rays at -20%, the A’s and Astros at -19%, the Pirates at -18%, and the Royals at -17%. The Twins, if you’re curious, are at -15% which is 9th worst.


If you’re curious about which managers overachieved or underachieved in their careers relative to the number of All-Stars their teams had, (adjusted for All-Star bias) here are looks at the top 10 and bottom 10 calculated during today’s lunch hour between bites of a Waldorf salad. (Based on average seasonal difference between actual wins and expected wins – had to be the manager for the majority of a team’s games to be credited for that season, had to manage at least 5 seasons.)


The Good


1. Joe McCarthy +12.7 wins per season to expectation.

2. Billy Southworth +11.2 wins

3. Joe Girardi +9.9 wins

4. Bobby Cox +7.8 wins

5. Al Lopez +7.7 wins

6. Earl Weaver +7.7 wins

7. Walter Alston + 7.7 wins

8. Pete Rose + 6.7 wins

9. Billy Martin + 6.6 wins

10. Jimy Williams +6.5 wins


The Not-So Good

1. Connie Mack -12.2 wins

2. Jimmie Wilson -11.8 wins

3. Billy Meyer -9.7 wins

4. Preston Gomez -9.7 wins

5. Buddy Bell -9.3 wins

6. Ossie Bluege -8.1 wins

7. Fred Haney -7.7 wins

8. Del Crandall -6.5 wins

9. Manny Acta -6.1 wins

10. Mary Marion -6.0 wins


And finally a look at the Twins managers , ranked best to worst:


1. Billy Martin +6.7 wins

2. Frank Quilici +3.2 wins

3. Ron Gardenhire +1.5 wins

4. Gene Mauch +0.7 wins

5. Ray Miller -0.3 wins

6. Sam Mele -1.2 wins

7. Tom Kelly -2.4 wins

8. Cal Ermer -2.6 wins

9. Billy Gardner -3.9 wins

10. Bill Rigney -5.4 wins

* pastrami, prosciutto, provolone, peppers, poupon and pickles on pumpernickel


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