Former Mariners Skipper Piniella Misses Out On HOF
By Adam Levi
Former Mariners skipper, Lou Pinella, had a chance to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame yesterday in the “Today’s Game Era” hall of fame ballot but didn’t receive seventy-five percent of the vote from the sixteen-member committee.
Two induction cycles back, the Mariners greatest manager (sorry Servais), Lou Piniella, was in Cooperstown for the 2015 hall of fame ceremony in Cooperstown, New York… to sign baseballs.
Despite his well-known temper -and the probable disappointment that lingers in a player/manager that hasn’t been elected to the hall- “Sweet Lou” had a smile the entire weekend (maybe not in private) even though his name wasn’t on the ballot.
Fast forward two years and Piniella’s name was on the ballot for his amazing years at the managerial position, but in the end, could not earn seventy-five percent of the vote from the small group of sixteen writers, hall of fame players and executives -seven of the sixteen members cast votes for Piniella.
To be fair, only two of the ten men on the ballot were chosen this year. Other greats in their respective fields like Orel Hershiser or George Steinbrenner also didn’t reach the mark to be forever cast in bronze.
Whether he deserves to be in enshrined is up for discussion. I will leave it up to the reader to decide, but here are some numbers to peruse over that might influence your decision.
Piniella’s one thousand eight hundred and thirty-five wins over twenty-three years of service ranks him fourteenth all-time for managers in the modern era. He trails such legendary skippers such as Joe Torre, Bobby Cox, and John McGraw to name a few.
Interestingly enough, only one former manager has more wins than Piniella that isn’t in the hall of fame; he is the past Angels, Twins, Expos and Phillies field general from the sixties until the eighties, Gene Mauch.
On the flip slid, Piniella lost quite a few games too. There are thirty-five captains that have a better win percentage than him, and ten of them aren’t in the hall. Granted, four of them are currently still managing, so that number drops to six skippers.
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When it comes to the big hardware, Piniella is one of fifty men to lead a team to a World Series title -the 1990 Cincinnati Reds.
Furthermore, he is one of thirty-four skippers in the National League to win the majestic, prestigious, sterling silver trophy.
And let’s not forget what he did for the Mariners. He helped all-time great players like A-Rod, Griffey Jr., and Edgar Martinez become even better players under his tutelage.
As for the numbers, he won eight hundred and forty games during his longest tenured managerial position in the majors (ten years).
Included in those near one thousand wins, were the remarkable ninety-plus win seasons -three to be exact- and the Mariners infamous one hundred and sixteen victory season in 2001, which is still a record today.
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So, whether his entire resume deserves enshrinement or not, his time in Seattle leading the Mariners does merit a plaque in Cooperstown. Let’s hope that the man who nearly led the Mariners to multiple titles will someday get some real estate in the hall of fame.