On Monday, Jim Leyland made one of the all-time great managerial quips. Concerning the Orioles' great young third baseman, Manny Machado, he said, "Machado leads the league in doubles. I'm second in doubles -- double vodkas, double scotches ..."
Managing a baseball team has always been a high-stress job -- when Frank Lucchesi was named manager of the Phillies in 1970, his mother was asked for a comment. Her first thought was, "The poor boy -- he's going to get ulcers now." One of the ways they have blown off steam is through self-mockery, either of their team or of their sorry lot in life. Herewith, 14 other great self-deprecating manager quotes.
- "We could finish first or in an asylum." -- Frankie Frisch on his "Gashouse Gang" Cardinals, 1930s.
- "I didn't see a baserunner for eighteen innings, so I couldn't make any mistakes." -- Casey Stengel after his team was no-hit in one game of a doubleheader and shut out in the other, 1934 Dodgers.
- "They could knock your brains out -- if you had brains." -- Jimmy Dykes on his team, the 1940 White Sox, vs. the Tigers.
- "Don't cut my throat. I may want to do that later myself." -- Casey Stengel, to a barber, c. 1940 Boston Bees.
- "The night we won the World Series, I was understandably feeling my oats. I asked my wife how many great managers she thought there were in baseball. Glaring at me, she said, ‘I think there's one less than you do.'" -- Danny Murtaugh, 1960 Pirates.
- "We need just two players to be a contender -- Babe Ruth and Sandy Koufax." -- Whitey Herzog, 1973 Rangers.
- "The toughest thing for me as a young manager is that a lot of my players saw me play. They know how bad I was." -- Tony La Russa, 1983 White Sox.
- "I got into computers four or five years ago. I fed all the information in and pushed the button. It said, ‘Fire the manager.'" -- Buck Rodgers, 1984 Expos.
- "I still don't know if I can manage or not. I really haven't had much of a chance so far. When you're behind in the game by three runs all the time, there isn't much to manage." -- Larry Bowa, 1987 Padres.
- "The doctor said I should do a lot of walking, so I walk to the mound nine or ten times a game." -- Cal Ripken, Sr., 1987 Orioles.
- "The great thing about baseball is when you're done, you'll only tell your grandchildren the good things. If they ask me about 1989, I'll tell them I had amnesia." -- Sparky Anderson, 1989 Tigers.
- "The weather's cold. My club's bad. My knee hurts. I can't putt no more. I'm off my diet. My wife is nagging me. Other than that, everything's great." -- Don Zimmer, 1990 Cubs.
- "We're just as bad as the old Mets, but this time nobody's laughing." -- Dallas Green, 1993 Mets.
- "It was one of the worst innings I've seen since I put on a uniform, and my first uniform was made out of an onion bag in the Dominican." -- Felipe Alou, 2006 Giants.
Sources include The McFarland Baseball Quotations Dictionary (David Nathan), The Gigantic Book of Baseball Quotations (Wayne Granger), and Baseball's Greatest Quotations (Paul Dickson).