brewers baseball and things

family tree in progress


Lasorda_2Tommy Lasorda was recently asked what he thought about the Milwaukee Brewers and he said, “Manager Ron Roenicke plays that Mike Scioscia Dodgers brand of baseball. He’s doing a great job.”

Exaggerated Dodger importance? or ideologies handed down from manager to player who eventually become managers themselves; generation to generation? Probably a little bit of both. Managers and ground breaking ideas? Hmmmmm.. Maybe Tony LaRusss as the first manager to experiment with so many pitching changes?

Can managers trace their ideological origins back to one primordial big daddy manager? Well, baseball is old, but not that old. So I guess it’s possible to go back and find a source.

Is the legacy of John McGraw still rippling in 2014? The bad tempered, loud mouth New York Giants skipper crawled under the skin of any player he encountered during his 20 plus years as the Giant’s manager and yet he was beloved and respected.

The relationship he shared with pitcher and Hall of Famer Christy Mathewson is the most remarkable to me. Mathewson didn’t drink or swear and was about as close to an angel as humanly possible and yet McGraw never tried to sway him over to some “dark” side. He embraced him on his terms and the two formed a memorable relationship that extended to their wives.

McGraw managed and influenced Casey Stengel and I think lobbied for him to get a managerial position. Stengel, in turn did the same for Billy Martin. I don’t know enough about any of their specific managerial strategies to say a baton was passed, but all three left their mark with loud personalities.

Along side McGraw was Connie Mack, manager of the Philadelphia Athletics; remembered as the skipper who wore a suit and tie rather than a uniform. Maybe Mack represented a different branch in this family tree.

There must be many of these branches throughout the years and I don’t know where it all started or how one rubbed off on another, but there are interesting points along the way where the influence is obvious. Back to Lasorda.

Walter Alston probably influenced Lasorda and that takes us back to Brooklyn and the late 1950’s and before that Leo Durocher and before that Casey Stengel 1934-1936.

And heading in the other direction, Lasorda managed Mike Scioscia for many years as a Dodger and when Scioscia’s playing days were over, he eventually became manager of the California Angels (2000). He’s been the skipper ever since and three of Scioscia’s coaches went on to become big league managers.

Ron Roenicke manages the Brewers, Bud Black the Padres and Joe Maddon the Tampa Bay Rays. Maddon is credited with pioneering defensive shifts. No team aligns their defense on every pitch quite like the Rays; except maybe the Brewers under Roenicke. I’m not sure if the Padres under Black or Scioscia and the Angels shift to such an extreme or the Dodges when they were under Lasorda.

The Angels under Scioscia used to run like crazy, maybe a little less now after splurging on free agent power in Pujols and Hamilton. Roenicke and the Brewers love to run, so does Black in San Diego. It’s more than stealing bases. It’s stretching singles into doubles and taking an extra base whenever possible. That’s a direct influence from Scioscia and in turn Lasorda? Alston? My eyes can only trace it back to Scioscia.

Roenicke is his own person; his own manager, but he integrated some of Scioscia’s ways who in turn integrated some of Lasorda’s who in turn integrated some of Alston’s? and so on backwards all the way to the beginning.  Ditto for Maddon and Black and any major league manager.

Ron Roenicke; wikipedia

Roenicke; wikipedia

One day I’d like to draw a family tree of all baseball managers with ideologies designated as the different branches.

Roenicke’s Brewers were in Arizona to play the final of a three game series. All was quiet in comparison to Tuesday Night’s bean balls, ejections and grand slams. No two games are alike of course, but most west coast games do start at the same 9:40 EST time. I was asleep in the top of the second.

Arizona scored 2 in the first inning and another in the third inning. Khris Davis tied the score with an opposite field home run in the fourth and then all went quiet until the bottom of the ninth. Arizona won on a walk off single by Tony Campana. Final score; Arizona 4, Brewers 3.

The Brewers are 43-30 and will soon be returning back east.


Author: Steve Myers

I grew up in Milwaukee and have been a Milwaukee Brewers baseball fan for as long as I can remember.

4 thoughts on “family tree in progress

  1. Just a brief note on base running. Lasorda coached under Alston. During their managerial careers, Alston had Maury Wills and Lasorda had Dave Lopes. So a lot of base running there. So if there is a tree, Scioscia would likely do a lot a base running.

    • Thanks v. That explains a lot. I’m excited to find out more about this possible base running lineage from Alston to Lasorda to Scioscia and now to the Padres and Black and Brewers under Roenicke.

  2. That family tree and my graph!

  3. As with families, sometimes things skip a generation. Base-stealing is a big deal for 15 years or so, then recedes in favor of the long ball. After another 15 years or so, when pitching reasserts itself, we begin to see more aggressive base-running once again. I’m probably more like my paternal grandfather than I am my dad (though neither of us was much of a base-runner or a power-hitter.) 🙂

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