Nine to Know: Joe Maddon edition

There are many great pics of Maddon in a variety of garb and hair styles, but I like this one of Joe hosting Thanksmas, for the sixth year in a row, an event that helps feed hundreds of needy people in St Petersburg, Tampa and Bradenton.

Joe Maddon and the Rays have agreed to a three-year contract extension and why not? Not only has Maddon proven, by far, to be the greatest manager in Tampa’s history, but during his tenure he has been the best manager in the game.

Here’s nine numbers that tell the Maddon story:

  1. Maddon took over the Rays in 2006 and has led them to a 495-477 record.
  2. This coming season, early in the midst of Maddon’s seventh season, he will win his 519th game. That will give him more wins than this three predecessors, Larry Rothschild (four seasons and 205 wins), Hal McRae (two seasons and 113 wins), and Lou Pinella (three seasons and 200 wins), had in nine combined seasons.
  3. The Rays have had four .500+ seasons in their 14 year history, all over the last four seasons.
  4. The Rays, Yankees, and Phillies are the only teams in baseball who have made the postseason three out of the last four seasons.
  5. Over the last four seasons, the Yankees and the Phillies have averaged 96 wins and the Red Sox have averaged 92.25. Meanwhile, the Rays have averaged 92 victories and I don’t even want to compare the budget totals for those four teams. But fortunately, Phil Rogers did compare and found that the Rays had a four-year payroll total of $222 million. The three teams that won more, , spent an average of $644 million in payroll over those four years.
  6. On the same topic, Bill Chastain, of, points out that only four other teams in MLB history have averaged over 90 wins over four seasons after averaging 90 losses over the previous four seasons: the 1987-94 Braves, the 1971-78 Phillies, the 1964-71 Athletics and the 1997-2004 Twins.
  7. In 2008, Maddon joined Atlanta’s Bobby Cox as the only managers in major league history to reach the postseason the year after finishing with the majors’ worst record.  Cox and the Braves won the 1991 NL flag after a 1990 last-place finish.
  8. Put aside for a moment the great Red Sox collapse of 9/11 and realize that they still could have gotten away with it if the Rays had not had an outstanding September. Like the Sox, the Rays began 2011 by losing their first six games 0-6, but Boston recovered much earlier and on September 2 led Tampa by 9 games in the hunt for the wild card. But during crunch time,  Maddon’s team won 17 of their final 25 games and like in 2008, Maddon was named the Manager of the Year.
  9. Since he took over in 2006, Maddon and the Rays are 56-53 head-to-head against the Red Sox and 46-62 against the Yankees which is the opposite of his 62-46 record against the Blue Jays. He is 58-51 against the Orioles which means that in his tenure he is 222-212 (.511) against his AL East competitors. Over the last four seasons, the Rays are 42-30 head-to-head against the Red Sox, 33-39 against the Yankees, 47-25  against the Blue Jays, and 45-27 against the Orioles. All told, in what has been called “the toughest division in baseball,” over the last four seasons, Maddon is 167-121 (.580) against his AL East competitors.

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