The topic of the moment at Dodger Thoughts is manager heir-apparent Don Mattingly and whether or not his lack of professional managing experience is an issue. At some point it occurred to me that it would be pertinent to examine the thirty current major league managers and the experience they brought to the job when they were hired. Perhaps this could give us an idea of how baseball general managers look at managing experience.
|ARI||A. J. Hinch||0||0|
Experience is in seasons, with partial seasons counted as one season
Hillman also managed five seasons in Japan
Maddon was twice an interim manager
All MiLB experience was prior to any MLB experience
Average MiLB experience is about 4.5 seasons; the median is 3 or 4.
Twenty-two of the current managers had minor-league managing experience prior to being hired as major-league managers, leaving only eight who did not manage in the minors. Four of these men were first hired as managers sixteen or more years ago (Baker, Gaston, Piniella, Torre) so their lack of minor league experience doesn't really tell us much about the current thinking of baseball GMs.
That leaves four managers that were recently hired with no managing experience whatsoever: Guillen, Girardi, Black, and Hinch. Hinch did have some management experience having held positions with Arizona as the manager of minor league operations and the director of player development. It should also be noted that Hinch was a mid-season hire.
Girardi was hired by the Florida Marlins for the 2006 with no prior managerial experience; obviously he had that pleasant Florida experience before being hired by the Yankees.
On the other side of the coin, eleven managers had zero experience as major-league managers when hired, but had managed in the minors previously, with nine of those managers having three or more years managing minor-league teams.
I don't see that I can draw hard and fast conclusions from this information, but it does seem the managerial hire with no professional experience is a fairly rare event in recent years.