Managerial encores common in MLB history
John Gibbons' return to Toronto for a second tour as the Blue Jays manager is intriguing.It, however, is not unique. Bringing back a former manager is not something that happens on a regular basis, but it has happened, and at times it has led to success, such as the return of Bobby Cox to Atlanta. Cox managed the Braves from 1978-81, and returned for a 21-year run in 1990, which included a professional sports record 14 consecutive division titles, five National League pennants, and the 1995 World Series championship. In between Atlanta tenures, Cox managed Toronto from 1982-85, taking the Jays to the playoffs for first time in franchise history in '85. He returned to the Braves as their general manager from the next season until his mid-season move back to the dugout in 1990 to replace Russ Nixon. The Gibbons hiring is at least the 18th managerial reunion during the expansion era, which began in 1961, including Billy Martin making four encores with the New York Yankees. It is the first since the Blue Jays brought back Cito Gaston to replace Gibbons in the midst of the 2008 season. Gaston remained on the job through '10. He originally managed the Blue Jays from 1989-97. During his first tenure, the Blue Jays won five division titles, and back-to-back World Series championships in '92-93 -- the most recent team other than the New York Yankees to repeat as World Series champions. And it is at least the 27th time in history that a manager has had a second tour with the same franchise, including Bucky Harris, who had three managerial stints with the original Washington Senators, and two with the Detroit Tigers during a 29-year managerial career in which he worked for five different organizations. Harris also had one-year stints with the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox and spent two years managing the Yankees. Harris won a World Series championship in his debut as a player/manager with the Senators in 1924, and won the AL pennant in '25. The only other postseason appearance in his managerial career was a World Series championship with the Yankees in '47. This doesn't include those interim hires, like Jack McKeon, who after managing Florida from 2003-05 -- including winning a World Series championship in 2003 -- returned to the dugout for the Marlins for the final 90 games in 2011, but was never a candidate to replace Edwin Rodriguez on a full-time basis. Or the cameo appearances of Eddie Popowski, who twice stepped in for the Boston Red Sox, managing nine games in 1969 and one game in '73. Also excluded from the total was Leo Durocher, who did have a one-year hiatus as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, and then returned for 66 games in 1948 before being fired. Durocher originally managed the Dodgers from '39-46, and was suspended for the '47 season for his "association with known gamblers." It does, however, include Burt Shotton, who took over for Durocher in 1947, leading the Dodgers to the NL pennant, and facilitating the firing of Durocher, who Shotton again replaced in '48. Shotton took the Dodgers to another NL pennant in '49. Bill Carrigan made his managerial debut with the Boston Red sox at the age of 29 in 1913, and during four years on the job guided the Red Sox to World Series victories in '15 and '16. Cited by Babe Ruth the best manager he ever played for, Carrigan left baseball to become a banker, but he returned to Boston for three more seasons ('27-29), each of which ended with a last-place finish. The Yankees have rehired a manager eight times, all since expansion began in 1963, including Martin four times during the George Steinbrenner era. Originally hired by Steinbrenner in 1975, Martin guided the Yankees to two AL pennants and a World Series championship before being fired in '78. He made four returns, never lasting more than a year - '79 (55-40), '83 (91-71), '85 (91-54) and '88 (40-28). Gene Michael was fired by Steinbrenner late in 1981, and replaced by Bob Lemon, who lasted14 games into 1982 before Michael returned to the dugout. Lemon also managed the Yankees in parts of the '78 and '79 seasons, taking over 95 games into the '78 season, guiding the Yankees as they overtook Boston in the AL East and then winning the World Series championship that October. He was then was replaced by Martin after 65 games in '79 during Martn's first return to the Yankees. Yogi Berra, who managed the Yankees in 1984 and 16 games into '85, also had managed the team to an AL pennant in '64, in between tours by Ralph Houk. Houk managed the Yankees to three AL pennants and two World Series championships during his initial three-year tour ('61-63) and then returned to manage the team again from '66-73. The Orioles were looking to recapture their old magic when they brought Earl Weaver back for the 1985 and '86 seasons. The O's were 73-89 and finished seventh in the seven-team AL East in '86. It was a far cry from Weaver's first tenure ('68-82) when the franchise was 1,354-919, winning six division titles, four AL pennants and the '70 World Series. Danny Murtaugh had three successful tours with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He originally stepped down after an eight-year stint (1957-64) that included the 1960 World Series championship because of health issues. After 78-game season-ending interim role in '67, Murtaugh returned for two seasons in '70 and '71, winning an NL East title the first year and World Series championship the second. He then came back for the final 26 games of the '73 season before winning two NL East titles with the Bucs from '74-76. Others who had multiple managerial tenures with the same team since 1961 include George Bamberger with the Brewers (1978-79, '80, '85-86); Al Lopez with the White Sox ('57-65, '68-69); Paul Richards with the White Sox ('51-54, '76); Birdie Tebbetts with the Indians ('63, '64-66); and Hank Bauer with the A's ('61-62, '69).
Tracy Ringolsby is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.