Terry Francona is one of the best managers in Cleveland Indians franchise history.
That fact is true now and will remain true when he dons a Guardians jersey in 2022.
A manager spending so much time in one clubhouse is tough enough these days.
But success is what has kept Francona around since his thrilling arrival following the 2012 season.
All he has done since then is win and the veteran skipper is approaching a record that will cement his legacy in franchise history.
Although he was not with us in the dugout today, Tito gets credit for the victory, moving him into sole possession of 2nd all-time in manager wins in franchise history.#OurCLE pic.twitter.com/AqP0pKtZVm
— Cleveland Indians (@Indians) July 25, 2021
Francona got a bit closer to the all-time mark Sunday by passing Mike Hargrove, even though he was technically at home sick.
All He Does Is Win
The Indians have still not had a losing season under Francona since he arrived.
2015 was the closest he got with an 81-80 finish before things really took off in 2016.
We should also point out he would already easily be the all-time leader if not for the shortened 2020 season.
Francona has taken the team to the playoffs on five occasions, which is the same number of times as Hargrove.
The difference is the front office is putting faith behind Francona.
Hargrove was fired after a 1999 season in which his team won 97 games.
While he was there since 1991, the change did not do much to help the team improve.
2021 marks Francona’s ninth season in town and it is hard to think of a scenario where he would be fired.
He is still only 62 years old, but lingering health reasons could eventually force an early retirement.
Then again, it would not exactly be “early” because of his time already spent in the game of baseball.
Returning To The Dugout
Francona has now missed two straight games with a cold.
Luckily, it is not COVID.
Terry Francona will miss his second straight game today as he’s dealing with a head cold. He tested negative for COVID.
José Ramírez has a scheduled day off today, but he’s available off the bench if needed.
— Zack Meisel (@ZackMeisel) July 25, 2021
Francona still got credit for Sunday’s win, but it would obviously have been sweeter if he could have been on the bench.
The focus now turns toward having him back healthy when he does set the record sometime in early August.
Francona is approaching the all-time record held by Lou Boudreau, whose own accolades are more impressive considering he was a player-manager from 1942-1950.
That meant he was at the helm the last time the Indians actually won a World Series, way back in 1948.
Francona surpassing him without a title is a fair note, but there is still time to accomplish that ultimate goal.
There are six managers in team history with over 500 wins: Boudreau, Francona, Hargrove, Tris Speaker, Al Lopez, and Eric Wedge.
Only Boudreau and Speaker have World Series titles to their name.
Francona is not a perfect manager, and few, if any, are.
What he is, however, is consistent and the fact the Indians have been in playoff contention every year since he arrived says a lot about the type of clubhouse he runs.
Seeing him reach this mountaintop is well-deserved and special considering all the success he had in Boston before even coming to Cleveland.
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