ANAHEIM, Calif. — It’s almost the Mount Rushmore of baseball managers. The trio of managers that were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. Sunday morning were first-ballot legends that Los Angeles Angels manager Mike Scioscia felt could very well be immortalized in granite on a mountain somewhere.
What made Tony LaRussa, Bobby Cox and Joe Torre so successful and so revered in the Major Leagues? The three all embodied the intangible qualities that Scioscia feels are the difference between good managers and great ones.
"I think there were a lot of managers out there that were very special but I think that these three guys, they were second to none," Scioscia said. "There are probably a lot of things that you could write down about them, but the bottom line of a manager doing a good job or not is the process."
Those three managers developed a set of ideals over time that came from that process.
"As far as that process, I think there’s a lot of things that go into it," Scioscia said. "I think it’s certainly important to put a philosophy in place that the players understand and trust and move forward with. I think those three guys just epitomized that."
They rarely deviated from it, yet always managed to adapt as the game the changed. The fact that they stayed relevant and won even late in their careers attests to their dedication, their communicated well with players, young and old, changing front offices and their abilities to evaluate talent.
"You couldn’t be happier for those three guys that put so much of their lives into something they loved and they’re getting honored for that."
As for the pitchers inducted, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, Scioscia sees similarities between two of the greatest control pitchers and his own control pitcher, Angels’ staff ace Jered Weaver.
"Getting outs comes in all forms," Scioscia said. "I think those two guys are obviously Hall of Famers because they understood that. They studied hitters and knew what they could do and were extremely proficient at hitting their spots.
"I think those two guys, they evolved as their careers went on and they had to make adjustments. Whether it was because of some declining velocity or maybe some declining stamina, whatever it is that catches up with a pitcher from time-to-time, and Weav has certainly evolved from when he first came up here to where he is now and he’ll continue to evolve."
The similar career paths and work ethics have not gone unnoticed by the Angels’ skipper.
"I think he’s still having success because he’s just in tune with what he needs to do on the mound and what he needs to do to make pitches," Scioscia said. "He’s become very consistent over his career."