Hey, how about it? Happy birthday today to one of the best managers in Chicago Cubs history, Joe Maddon, who turned 64 years old. Though you wouldn’t know he was a day over 50, with all the fun-loving, wine-guzzling shenanigans he brings to the clubhouse.
But to that first point … after only three years in Chicago, is Joe Maddon really one of the best managers in Chicago Cubs history? Uh, yeah. Yeah, he is.
Consider that, at the highest level, he’s done the one thing no one has been able to do in over 100 years: bring a World Series Championship to the North Side of Chicago. That alone places him in rare company. But on top of that, he was also the only manager to ever deliver the Cubs to three straight NLCS appearances – the only other time the Cubs even reached *the playoffs* in three consecutive seasons was back in 1906-1908, and the NLCS didn’t exist back then.
And because the Cubs missed the postseason in 1909, that means that if he’s coaching the Cubs in the postseason this October, Maddon will be the first Cubs manager EVER to go to the postseason in four straight seasons. How’s THAT for a distinctive measure of success?
As for his winning percentage compared to all other Cubs managers, Maddon comes up just short of the top spot, albeit one from a slightly different era (minimum 3 seasons):
- Frank Chance (1905-1912): 768-389 (.664)
- Joe Maddon (2015-2017): 292-193 (.602)
- Cap Anson (1879-1897): 1282-932 (.579)
- Joe McCarthy (1926-1930): 442-321 (.579)
- Frank Selee (1902-1905): 280-213 (.568)
Other notable managers: Lou Piniella, Jim Frey (.519, 13th), Don Zimmer (.507, 15th) Dusty Baker (.497, 22nd).
It’ll be all but impossible for Maddon to ever overtake Chance’s ridiculous winning percentage – he’d have to average 123 wins over his remaining two seasons under contract, bringing his total to 538-271 (.665) – but he could match Chance’s two World Series title in the next two years and that would make this race even closer.
And in other random facts, Maddon is only the fourth Cubs manager (Frey, Zimmer, Piniella, and himself) to win NL Manager of the Year honors (2015).
So on this, the man’s 64th birthday, let’s say Cheers! to Joe Maddon. And thanks. Thanks for being one of the best managers this team has ever seen in its storied 141 seasons.