Chuck Tanner

Last updated
Chuck Tanner
Chuck Tanner 1971.jpg
Outfielder / Manager
Born:(1928-07-04)July 4, 1928
New Castle, Pennsylvania
Died: February 11, 2011(2011-02-11) (aged 82)
New Castle, Pennsylvania
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
April 12, 1955, for the Milwaukee Braves
Last MLB appearance
May 8, 1962, for the Los Angeles Angels
MLB statistics
Batting average .261
Home runs 21
Runs batted in 105
Managerial record1,352–1,381
Teams
As Player

As Manager

Career highlights and awards

Charles William Tanner (July 4, 1928 February 11, 2011) was an American professional baseball player and manager. He played as a left fielder in Major League Baseball. He was known for his unwavering confidence and infectious optimism. [1] [2] He managed the Pittsburgh Pirates to a World Series championship in 1979. He last served as a senior adviser to Pirates general manager Neal Huntington.

Americans citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Manager (baseball) someone who manages a baseball team

In baseball, the field manager is the equivalent of a head coach who is responsible for overseeing and making final decisions on all aspects of on-field team strategy, lineup selection, training and instruction. Managers are typically assisted by a staff of assistant coaches whose responsibilities are specialized. Field managers are typically not involved in off-field personnel decisions or long-term club planning, responsibilities that are instead held by a team's general manager.

Contents

Playing career

A left-handed batter and thrower, Tanner signed his first professional baseball contract with the Boston Braves. He played for eight seasons (1955–1962) for four teams: the Milwaukee Braves, Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Angels. In 396 games played, Tanner batted .261 with 21 home runs. While with the Braves, Tanner hit a home run off the first pitch in his first career at-bat on April 12, 1955. [3] He is the only Braves player to hit a home run in his first at-bat in Milwaukee.

Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.

Chicago Cubs Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The Chicago Cubs are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The Cubs compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. The team plays its home games at Wrigley Field, located on the city's North Side. The Cubs are one of two major league teams in Chicago; the other, the Chicago White Sox, is a member of the American League (AL) Central division. The Cubs, first known as the White Stockings, were a founding member of the NL in 1876, becoming the Chicago Cubs in 1903.

Cleveland Indians Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a major league franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships: in 1920 and 1948, along with 10 Central Division titles and six American League pennants. The Indians' current World Series championship drought is the longest active drought.

Managerial career

Tanner is best known as a manager, having managed four teams from 1970 to 1988. His overall managerial record was 1,352–1,381 in 17 full seasons and parts of two others. [4]

Minor leagues

Tanner would spend his entire Minor League managing career in the Angels' system. In 1963, Tanner began his managerial career with the single-A Quad Cities Angels in the Midwest League. Tanner would spend the next seven season climbing the Angels' organizational ladder and in 1970 he led the AAA Hawaii Islanders to 98 wins in 146 games and a Pacific Coast League pennant. In late September, he received his first major league managing assignment guiding the Chicago White Sox for the final 16 games of the season after the firing of manager Don Gutteridge and interim manager Bill Adair.

Midwest League baseball league operating at the Class A level of Minor League Baseball in the Midwestern US

The Midwest League is a Minor League Baseball league, established in 1954 and based in the Midwestern United States. It is a Class A league that plays a full season; its players are typically players in their second or third year of professional play.

The Hawaii Islanders were a minor league baseball team based in Honolulu, Hawaii, that played in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League for 27 seasons, from 1961 through 1987.

The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is a Minor League Baseball league operating in the Western, Midwestern, and Southeastern United States. Along with the International League and the Mexican League, it is one of three leagues playing at the Triple-A level, which is one grade below Major League Baseball. It is officially named the Pacific Coast League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. Its headquarters are in Round Rock, Texas.

Chicago White Sox

With the White Sox, Tanner managed such star players as Wilbur Wood, Carlos May, Bill Melton, and the temperamental Dick Allen. His most successful season with the Sox came in 1972, when he managed them to a close second-place finish behind the eventual World Series champion Oakland Athletics in the American League (AL) Western Division. The pitching staff was led by 24-game winner Wood, whom Tanner had converted from a reliever to a starter. Tanner was voted that year's The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award. [2] He also converted Rich "Goose" Gossage from a starting pitcher to a reliever, a role that would lead Gossage to the Hall of Fame. [2] He finished his White Sox career with a record of 401 wins and 414 losses. [4] Tanner was replaced by Paul Richards on December 17, 1975. Bill Veeck, who had repurchased the White Sox, invited Tanner to remain in the organization in a different capacity, but the offer was declined. Tanner still had to be paid $60,000 in each of three remaining years of his White Sox contract. [5]

Wilbur Wood American baseball pitcher

Wilbur Forrester Wood, Jr. is an American former professional baseball player. He was a pitcher in Major League Baseball for seventeen years, most notably with the Chicago White Sox where he earned 163 of his 164 wins. A knuckleball specialist, he threw left-handed, and batted right-handed.

Carlos May is an American former professional baseball player. May played ten seasons on three Major League Baseball (MLB) teams – the Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees, and California Angels. May also played four seasons in Japan for the Nankai Hawks, from 1978 through 1981. Primarily a left fielder, May batted left-handed and threw right-handed.

William Edwin Melton, nicknamed "Beltin' Bill" or "Beltin' Melton", is an American former professional baseball player and current television sports commentator. He played as a third baseman in Major League Baseball from 1968 through 1977 for the Chicago White Sox, California Angels and Cleveland Indians. He is now a commentator for NBC Sports Chicago White Sox broadcasts.

Oakland Athletics

One day later on December 18, 1975, Tanner was hired to succeed Alvin Dark as manager of the Oakland Athletics. [5] With speedy players such as Bert Campaneris, Bill North, Claudell Washington, and Don Baylor, Tanner made the A's into a running team, stealing an AL league-record 341 bases. [2] Eight players had 20 or more steals, including 51 by pinch runners Matt Alexander (who only came to the plate 30 times) and Larry Lintz (who had one at-bat all season). [1] However, the days of the juggernaut A's of Reggie Jackson and Catfish Hunter had passed with the coming of free agency and Tanner's switch to small-ball couldn't prop up a crumbling dynasty as the team finished second in the AL West, 2 12 games behind the Kansas City Royals. He finished his Athletics career with a record of 87 wins and 74 losses. [4]

December 18 is the 352nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 13 days remain until the end of the year.

Alvin Dark American baseball player and manager

Alvin Ralph Dark, nicknamed "Blackie" and "The Swamp Fox", was an American Major League Baseball (MLB) shortstop and manager. He played fourteen years for five National League teams from 1946 through 1960. Dark was named the major leagues' 1948 Rookie of the Year after batting .322 for the Boston Braves.

Oakland Athletics Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Oakland, California, United States

The Oakland Athletics, often referred to as the A's, are an American professional baseball team based in Oakland, California. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) West division. The team plays its home games at the Oakland–Alameda County Coliseum. They have won nine World Series championships, tied for the third-most of all current MLB teams. The 2018 season was the club's 50th while based in Oakland.

A's owner Charlie Finley had hoped to secure a manager at a cut rate for at least three years, but ended up in a dispute with Veeck and the American League (AL) over how much each team owed Tanner. AL president Lee MacPhail ruled that the White Sox had to pay most of the $60,000 owed to Tanner for the 1976 season but was released from any contractual obligation for 1977 and 1978. [6]

Pittsburgh Pirates

Tanner returned to his Western Pennsylvania roots when he was traded by the A's to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Manny Sanguillén and $100,000 on November 5, 1976. He succeeded the recently retired Danny Murtaugh as Pirates manager. [6] This was the second instance in major-league history where a manager has been part of a baseball trade (Joe Gordon and Jimmie Dykes were traded for each other in the 1960s; Lou Piniella of the Seattle Mariners was traded to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays almost 30 years later). However, Sanguillén would be traded back to the Pirates in 1978.

He reached the pinnacle of his managerial career in 1979 as the skipper of the Pirates' 1979 World Series champion team. The team included future Hall of Famers, first baseman Willie Stargell and pitcher Bert Blyleven, along with curmudgeonly stars like third baseman Bill Madlock and outfielder Dave Parker. Tanner guided the team together, and the players selected the Sister Sledge hit "We Are Family" as their theme song. The Pirates were able to win the World Series after falling behind three games to one to the Baltimore Orioles. Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson wrote of the Pirates, "They do everything with abandon, because that's the way Chuck Tanner wants it. He's an aggressive manager, a manager who doesn’t go by the book. That's why Pittsburgh is such an exciting team." [2] 1979 would be Tanner's only divisional winner as a manager.

Tanner's next few teams would not match his 1979 World Series winner as the 1985 Pittsburgh Drug Trials showed that serious drug problems beset the team—arguably the worst of any major league team. The most famous Pirate affected by his usage was Parker, whose cocaine habit punched a hole in his offensive production in the middle of his career—possibly costing him a chance at Cooperstown. Reliever Rod Scurry had it much worse; his cocaine habit ultimately forced him out of baseball in 1988 and cost him his life in 1992. Following five years of mediocre seasons in which the Pirates neither lost nor won no more than 84 games, but only finished as high as second place in the division once, Tanner was fired following a 104-loss season in 1985. [4] He finished his Pirates career with a record of 711 wins and 685 losses. [4]

Atlanta Braves

Tanner was hired by the Atlanta Braves prior to the 1986 season, but his teams would continue to muddle along near the bottom of their division—finishing last and second to last in the NL West in his two full seasons. Following a 12–27 start to the 1988 season, Tanner was fired by the Braves and replaced by Russ Nixon. He finished his Braves career with a record of 153 wins and 208 losses. [4]

Managerial record

TeamFromToRegular season recordPost–season record
WLWin %WLWin %
Chicago White Sox 19701975401414.492
Oakland Athletics 197619768774.540
Pittsburgh Pirates 19771985711685.50973.700
Atlanta Braves 19861988153208.424
Total13521381.49573.700
Reference: [4]

Front office career

After spending five seasons as a special assistant to the general manager of the Cleveland Indians, Tanner was named a senior advisor to new Pittsburgh Pirates GM Neal Huntington in the autumn of 2007.

Other honors

In 2006, he was invited to be a coach in the 2006 All Star game by NL manager Phil Garner, who had played for both the A's and the Pirates during Tanner's tenure as manager. Prior to the start of the game, Tanner threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

In 2007, the Rotary Club of Pittsburgh began the Chuck Tanner Baseball Manager of the Year Award. For the first three years, the award was given to a manager in Major League Baseball. In 2010, a second award was presented to the "Chuck Tanner Collegiate Baseball Manager of the Year"; the original award was renamed the "Chuck Tanner Major League Baseball Manager of the Year Award".

Personal life

He was the father of former major league player and coach Bruce Tanner. Tanner later opened a restaurant in his hometown of New Castle, Pennsylvania, which has since been sold but remains under the great name "Chuck Tanner's Restaurant". [1] Tanner died at age 82 on February 11, 2011, in New Castle after a long illness. [7]

See also

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References

  1. 1 2 3 Cook, Ron (May 28, 2011). "Tanner has a lot of life left". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette .
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 Weber, Bruce (February 12, 2011). "Chuck Tanner, Who Managed Pirates to '79 Title, Dies". The New York Times . p. D8.
  3. https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/MLN/MLN195504120.shtml
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 "Chuck Tanner". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved September 28, 2015.
  5. 1 2 "Tanner selected Oakland skipper". Spartanburg Herald . Associated Press. 19 December 1975. p. C2. Retrieved 3 June 2010.
  6. 1 2 Brown, Craig. "Retracing Chuck Tanner's path to Pirates," ESPN.com, Sunday, February 13, 2011. Retrieved August 29, 2018
  7. "Chuck Tanner dies at 82". ESPN.com. Associated Press. February 11, 2011.