Although he has the energy and countenance of a much younger man, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon turns 63 today. As I can imagine the man himself explaining: age is just a number.
That’s not the only number that favors Maddon today.
Through 13 seasons of managerial experience – brief interim stints with the Angels, and then nine seasons with the Rays, two with the Cubs – Maddon has accumulated 981 wins, the 66th most as a manager in big league history. Should the Cubs finish above .500 this year, as you’ve got to believe they will, Maddon will move just outside the top 50. And if Maddon’s Cubs average 90 wins in the three remaining years on his contract with the team, he’ll move into the top 40.
But it’s not just the raw win total that’s impressive. Only 25 of the managers ahead of Maddon on the list have a better winning percentage than Maddon’s .535.
(Fun statistical aside: the .535 winning percentage ranks Maddon 66th in baseball history – exactly the same as his raw win total.)
Moreover, Maddon is a three-time manager of the year, who’s been in the World Series in both leagues, and obviously took home the title with the Cubs last year. He was well-regarded in Tampa Bay, where he helped lead low-budget teams consistently to winning records, working in tandem with the front office in that regard, despite frequent roster turnover.
If we reasonably project out the rest of his managerial career, however long that might last, it’s not unfair to suggest he’s a future Hall of Famer. It might take a few more deep postseason runs, and perhaps another championship, to get him there, but Maddon is certainly helming the right crew, in the right organization, to help him get there.
Reviewing the list of Hall of Fame managers, you’ll see the Maddon compares favorably in a number of ways, but he’ll probably need to manage a good while longer, with several more playoff appearances, to become an obvious yes.
Of course, even at age 63, it sure seems like the youthful Maddon has as many more years in him as he wants.
Happy birthday, Joe.
When the birthday cake rolls in.
— Chicago Cubs (@Cubs) February 8, 2017