Where Mickey Callaway fits in Mets’ all-time managers ranking

The Mets are hiring again, so it’s a timely thing to see where the New Guy can find himself in one man’s list of all-time (non-interim) Mets managers:

1. Gil Hodges (1968-71, 339-309, .523, 1 title, 1 World Series appearance, 1 playoff): At some point, one of the Hall’s veterans committees will open the door for Hodges, a borderline Cooperstown player whose candidacy should be put over the top by the fact that he managed the ’69 Mets and four years guided the team to the first three winning seasons in its history. If the Mets could’ve borrowed the bounces from ’69 a year later, they may well have repeated as NL East champs.

2. Davey Johnson (1984-1990, 595-417, .588, 1 title, 1 World Series, 2 playoffs): If the Mets could’ve won even one extra title of the several seasons in which it felt like they left one on the table (notably 1985, ’87 and ’88) then Johnson would almost certainly rank higher than even the beloved Hodges on this list. Johnson probably isn’t given enough credit for instilling the attitude that permeated and elevated those ’80s Mets. But he was a great manager.

3. Bobby Valentine (1996-2002, 536-467, .534, 0 titles, 1 World Series, 2 playoffs): Take another look at that 2000 Mets roster and ask yourself, how many managers could’ve taken an outfield of Benny Agbayani, Timo Perez and Jay Payton within three games of a title? His off-field stuff sometimes took away from his genius in the dugout. It shouldn’t have.

4. Terry Collins (2011-17, 551-583, .486, 0 titles, 1 World Series, 2 playoffs): Collins’ tenure deserves another look, especially after the last two seasons. Not always aligned with his bosses (or his fans), but for two seasons he pushed almost every correct button.

5. Yogi Berra (1972-75, 292-296, .497, 0 titles, 1 World Series, 1 playoff): History tells us Whitey Herzog would’ve been the better choice to succeed Hodges, and Yogi’s Mets tenure will forever be defined by not starting George Stone in Game 6 of the ’73 Series, saving Tom Seaver on full rest for Game 7.

6. Willie Randolph (2005-08, 302-253, .544, 0 titles, 1 playoff appearance): He was losing traction in the clubhouse, but it was still a short-sighted decision to jettison him after three winning seasons in the middle of his fourth.
(Starting here … hoo boy …)

7. Joe Torre (1977-81, 286-420, .405): Bad timing. No players, no leadership, no fan support, no chance … but he did get those teams to (mostly) play hard, they were at .500 in July 1980 and were in the second-half NL East race in strike-shortened ’81.

8. Joe Frazier (1976-77, 101-106, .488): Frazier’s tenure actually got off to a fine 86-76 start in ’76 (which, until 1984, stood as the team’s second-best record, ever, across its first 22 seasons).

9. Bud Harrelson (1991-92, 145-129, .529): He never did get a full year, but he did get the 20-2 stretch just after he succeeded Johnson that gave brief birth to “Buddy Ball.”

10. Jerry Manuel (2008-10, 204-213, .489): I know. I have a hard time believing he’s a top 10 manager, either. But take a good look at what’s after him.

11. Mickey Callaway (2018-19, 163-161, .503): I know, I know, I know. But take a really good look at what’s after him.

12. Dallas Green (1993-96, 229-283, .447): He didn’t win very much, but it was fun listening to his daily get-off-my-lawn rants. For a while, anyway.

13. Wes Westrum (1965-67, 142-237, .375): He actually led the Mets out of last place for the first time (66-95, ninth, 1967). But they also couldn’t wait to figure out how to get Hodges in from Washington to replace him.

14. Casey Stengel (1962-65, 175-404, .302): Yes, there was value to him being the beloved face of the franchise in the early going. But, man, that’s a lot of losses.

15. Art Howe: (2003-04, 137-186, .424): His teams were every bit as boring as they were bad, but, hey, have you ever been portrayed in a movie by Philip Seymour Hoffman?

16. Jeff Torborg (1992-93, 85-115, .425): Well, someone was going to have the ruins of the ’80s fall on them like the house on the Wicked Witch.

17. George Bamberger (1982-83, 81-127, .389): It took him about two weeks on the job to realize he’d rather retire. Unfortunately it took him a year and a half to announce it.

Vac’s Whacks

Whenever and wherever the Mets interview their managerial candidates, can we all agree they’d be better not using the same room that Art Howe and Mickey Callaway lit up?

I have a Netflix subscription, so I’m already good for “El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie” next Friday, but if necessary I’m gathering all my old DVRs, VCRs and TiVo boxes. Just in case.

I’m sure I speak for every other aging basketball hero with a hundred sprained ankles under our belts when I look at Saquon Barkley and say: I’ll have what he’s having.

Do you think even Al Pacino would take himself seriously if he delivered his “we fight for that inch” down in Philly on Sunday before the Jets-Eagles tilt?

Whack Back at Vac

Gary Stern: You’re on the money about David Fizdale. Let’s see what he can do. I am rooting for him to make us all believers.

Vac: There really is no other way to root if you still care about basketball in this town.

Howard Heller: If every available manager had the same contractual price tag, who would the Mets go after? The answer has to be Joe Girardi or Buck Showalter. I personally prefer Girardi. Let’s see who the new manager is.

Vac: The answer will tell us so much about this team. Almost everything, in fact.

@rsnckjsn1: Do you think Mitchell Robinson makes a big jump this year? I love him, he oozes potential, but the fouling/limited offensive game last year showed.

@MikeVacc: I think he is the entire key to the Knicks being watchable this year. If he takes a 50 percent leap — or better — the Knicks will, at least, be occasional must-see-TV.

Dave Pettit: Isn’t it amazing that every year the Yankees sign or bring up someone or multiple someones to take Brett Gardner’s position on the roster, but he always ends up being the last man standing.

Vac: Of all the characters on this crazy quilt of a Yankees roster, I think his is consistently the best story.

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