Joe Maddon was named Cubs manager on November 3, 2014. 11 years to the day after the White Sox named Ozzie Guillen manager. 25 years to the day after Phil Jackson made his debut as Bulls Head Coach.
That’s a fun piece of trivia. Also fun: all three won a championship in year two.
And when the Cubs won the 2016 World Series, the game ended after midnight (EST) on… November 3!
It still feels like Maddon just arrived in Chicago, yet here we are heading into year five. As much as you may want to nitpick his work, remember that only one team can win every year. Also, 387 regular season wins for the Cubs from 2015-18 are eight more than any other team over that span. The next most are 379 by the Dodgers, and they are still seeking their first World Series win since the 1988 squad of Kirk Gibson & Orel Hershiser.
Maddon started a charity called Respect 90. The 90 represents the number of feet to first base. Another 90 that Maddon respects is 90 wins. The Cubs have won at least 90 games in all four seasons Maddon has been at the helm. If he does it again in 2019, he’ll join some select company.
Currently only 13 managers in MLB history have had ten or more 90+ win seasons.
Bobby Cox 15 HOF 2014
Joe McCarthy 15 HOF 1957
John McGraw 14 HOF 1937
Connie Mack 13 HOF 1937
Tony La Russa 12 HOF 2014
Joe Torre 12 HOF 2014
Casey Stengel 11 HOF 1966
Earl Weaver 11 HOF 1996
Sparky Anderson 10 HOF 2000
Walter Alston 10 HOF 1983
Dusty Baker 10 ---
Terry Francona 10 ---
Al Lopez 10 HOF 1977
11 of the 13 are currently in the Hall of Fame. Baker & Francona both may end up in Cooperstown as well. If Maddon joins this list (even if he doesn’t), he’ll have a pretty decent chance at the Hall of Fame.
Five of Maddon’s 90-win seasons came with the Tampa Bay Rays – the first five 90-win seasons in the history of that franchise. A 90-win campaign in 2019 makes it five apiece with the Rays & Cubs. Only one manager in MLB history can claim a handful (as in five) of 90-win seasons with two different teams. And he has a Tampa connection as well. The first Tampa native to play in the Majors was Al Lopez, who later managed both the Indians & White Sox to five 90-win seasons including a pennant.
Unlike Lopez, Maddon would have five 90-win seasons in each league. And only one other manager in MLB history has done that. That would be Tony La Russa, who had seven 90-win seasons with the Cardinals in the National League, after collecting five in the American League (one with the White Sox and four with the A’s).
A fun connection between Maddon & La Russa – twice in MLB history (the Manager of the Year was first given out in 1983, so there’s not that much to work with) a team has garnered Manager of the Year, Cy Young Award & Rookie of the Year honors in the same season.
Mgr of the Year Cy Young Award Rookie of the Year
1983 White Sox Tony La Russa LaMarr Hoyt Ron Kittle
2015 Cubs Joe Maddon Jake Arrieta Kris Bryant
And of course, La Russa was born in Tampa too.