Bill Rigney

William Joseph Rigney (January 29, 1918 – February 20, 2001) was an American infielder and manager in Major League Baseball. A 26-year big-league veteran, Rigney played for the New York Giants from 1946 to 1953, then fashioned an 18-year career as a manager (1956–72; 1976) with the Giants, Los Angeles/California Angels and Minnesota Twins. The Bay Area native was the last manager of the Giants in New York City (1957), and their first in San Francisco (1958). Three years later, Rigney became the first manager in Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim franchise history.

Bill Rigney
Bill Rigney 1953
Rigney in 1953.
Infielder / Manager
Born: January 29, 1918
Alameda, California
Died: February 20, 2001 (aged 83)
Walnut Creek, California
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 16, 1946, for the New York Giants
Last MLB appearance
September 12, 1953, for the New York Giants
MLB statistics
Batting average.259
Home runs41
Runs batted in212
Managerial record1,239–1,321
Winning %.484
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

New York Giants' infielder

Born in Alameda, California, Rigney batted and threw right-handed, stood 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m) tall and weighed 178 pounds (81 kg). He began his professional baseball career in 1938 when he signed with the unaffiliated Oakland Oaks of the top-level Pacific Coast League. After seasoning in the Class B Western International League, Rigney played the full seasons of 1941–42 with the Oaks, then performed World War II service in the United States Coast Guard from 1943–45.

Acquired by the Giants during the war, he was a 28-year-old rookie in 1946 and played third base, shortstop and second base during his MLB career—appearing in over 100 games played in each of his first four MLB seasons. Rigney was the Giants' regular third baseman in 1946 and their starting second baseman in both 1947 and 1948. His most productive season came in 1947, when he reached career highs in home runs (17), RBI (59), runs (84), hits (142), doubles (24) and games played (130). In 1948, he was selected to the National League All-Star team; in the 1948 midsummer classic, on July 13 at Sportsman's Park, St. Louis, he drew a base on balls off Joe Coleman in his only plate appearance. As a utility infielder, Rigney was a member of the 1951 NL champion Giants, and he appeared in four games of the 1951 World Series, collecting one hit in four at bats (a single off Vic Raschi), with an RBI, as a pinch hitter.

As a big-leaguer, Rigney was a .259 career batsman with 510 hits, 41 home runs and 212 runs batted in 654 games.

Manager of three MLB clubs

Giants

Following his MLB playing career, Rigney was named manager of the Giants' top farm club, the Triple-A Minneapolis Millers, in 1954–55, then was promoted to skipper of the Giants in 1956, succeeding his mentor, Leo Durocher. Despite the presence of Hall of Fame center fielder Willie Mays, the Giants' final two seasons in Upper Manhattan, 1956 and 1957, were dismal: they lost 87 and 85 games, respectively, finished in sixth place in the eight-team National League both years (a combined 52 games out of first place), and their attendance fell below 700,000.

But upon their move to San Francisco in 1958—and rejuvenated by young players such as Orlando Cepeda, Jim Davenport, Felipe Alou, and, later, Willie McCovey—the Giants returned to the first division and contended for the NL pennant into the final regular-season weekend in 1959. The 1960 Giants moved into new Candlestick Park and were expected to again contend for the league title. They got off the mark quickly, winning 20 of their first 29 games. But then they stumbled, losing 16 of their next 29, and were coming off a three-game series sweep at home by the eventual world champion Pittsburgh Pirates when, on June 17, Rigney was fired. At 33–25, his club was in second place, four games behind Pittsburgh, when Rigney was dismissed. Tom Sheehan, the veteran scout who replaced Rigney, fared even more poorly, however, going only 46–50 as the Giants plummeted into fifth place by season's end.

Angels

Bill Rigney 1964
Rigney in 1964

Rigney was not unemployed for long. He became the first skipper in the history of the expansion Los Angeles Angels of the American League in 1961. Gene Autry and Robert O. Reynolds, the Angels' owners, originally wanted to hire future Baseball Hall of Fame manager Casey Stengel, a resident of nearby Glendale who had been fired by the New York Yankees after the 1960 World Series. But Stengel declined all managerial offers and spent 1961 in temporary retirement. Then Durocher, out of uniform since leaving the Giants in 1955 and working as a broadcaster, campaigned for the Angel job. Like Stengel, he had become a permanent resident of Southern California—he lived in Palm Springs—and was a future Hall of Fame pilot. But Autry and Reynolds bypassed him and chose Rigney instead, believing that he would have the patience to develop an expansion team's younger players.

While the Angels' maiden edition lost 91 games and finished eighth in the ten-team AL, the 1962 team, paced by young pitchers Dean Chance and Bo Belinsky, stunned baseball by finishing in third place with an 86–76 record during their second season of existence. As a result, Rigney was named Manager of the Year by The Sporting News.

During Rigney's eight full years with the Angels, the club played in three home ballparks—Wrigley Field (Los Angeles), Dodger Stadium and Anaheim Stadium—and also compiled winning records in 1964 and 1967. But 1969, Rigney's ninth season, proved catastrophic. The Angels started the year 11–28 and were mired in a ten-game losing streak when Rigney was fired on May 27 and succeeded by Lefty Phillips. Later in 1969, Rigney joined the San Francisco Giants' radio broadcast team to close out the season; coincidentally, KSFO, the Giants flagship station, was then owned by Autry and Reynolds.

Twins

Returning to the field (and to the Twin Cities of Minneapolis–St. Paul) the next year, Rigney succeeded Billy Martin as manager of the Minnesota Twins in 1970, leading them to 98 victories and the 1970 American League West Division championship. But the Twins fell in three straight games to the eventual world champion Baltimore Orioles in the 1970 American League Championship Series, then won only 74 games in 1971. The Twins recovered somewhat in 1972, and were at 36–34 on July 5 when Rigney was replaced by one of his coaches, Frank Quilici.

Second turn with Giants

After serving as a scout for the San Diego Padres and California Angels (1973–74), Rigney had a second managerial stint with the Giants in 1976, a year of transition between the Horace Stoneham and Bob Lurie ownerships. Rigney's 1976 club went only 74–88 and finished 28 games behind the world champion Cincinnati Reds. Joe Altobelli replaced him at the Giants' helm in 1977. Rigney finished with a managerial record of 1,239 wins and 1,321 losses.[1]

Managerial record

Team From To Regular season record Post–season record
W L Win % W L Win %
New York/San Francisco Giants 1956 1960 332 342 .493
Los Angeles/California Angels 1961 1969 625 707 .469
Minnesota Twins 1970 1972 208 184 .531 0 3 .000
San Francisco Giants 1976 1976 74 88 .457
Total 1239 1321 .484 0 3 .000
Ref.:[1]

Broadcaster, scout and 'ambassador'

In an 18-season managerial career, Rigney posted a 1,239–1,321 record (.484) in 2,561 games. The Twins' three-and-out loss in the 1970 ALCS was his only MLB postseason managing appearance. As a minor league pilot, Rigney won the 1955 American Association championship at the helm of the Minneapolis Millers.

After leaving the Giants at the close of his second managerial term in 1976, he served as a front-office consultant and a radio and television broadcaster for the Oakland Athletics in the 1980s.

Rigney died in Walnut Creek, California, at age of 83.

The "Bill Rigney Good Guy Award" is given each year to a San Francisco Giant and Oakland Athletic who is most accommodating to the media. [1]

Quotation

  • Rigney took the reins of the Giants in 1956, succeeding Leo Durocher, for whom he had played from 1948 to 1953. "I learned a lot from Leo Durocher", he said. "I learned about the hit-and-run, about gambling and going against the percentages. You can't play it the same all the time." – Norman L. Macht, at Baseball Library [2]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Bill Rigney". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved August 3, 2016.

External links

Preceded by
Freddie Fitzsimmons
Minneapolis Millers manager
1954–1955
Succeeded by
Eddie Stanky
1947 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1947 New York Giants season was the franchise's 65th season. The team finished in fourth place in the National League with an 81-73 record, 13 games behind the Brooklyn Dodgers. It was the first season to be broadcast on television, with WNBT acting as the official team television broadcast partner.

1948 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1948 New York Giants season was the franchise's 66th season. The team finished in fifth place in the National League with a 78–76 record, 13½ games behind the Boston Braves.

1951 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1951 New York Giants season was the franchise's 69th season and saw the Giants finish the regular season in a tie for first place in the National League with a record of 96 wins and 58 losses. This prompted a three-game playoff against the Brooklyn Dodgers, which the Giants won in three games, clinched by Bobby Thomson's walk-off home run, a moment immortalized as the Shot Heard 'Round the World. The Giants, however, lost the 1951 World Series to the New York Yankees in six games.

1957 New York Giants (MLB) season

The 1957 New York Giants season involved the team finishing in sixth place in the National League with a 69–85 record, 26 games behind the NL and World Champion Milwaukee Braves. It was the team's 75th and final season in New York City before its relocation to San Francisco, California for the following season. The last game at their stadium, the Polo Grounds, was played on September 29 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

1958 San Francisco Giants season

The 1958 San Francisco Giants season was the franchise's inaugural season in San Francisco, California and 76th season overall. The Giants' home ballpark was Seals Stadium. The team had a record of 80–74 finishing in third place in the National League standings, twelve games behind the NL Champion Milwaukee Braves.

Of the broadcast team, Russ Hodges left his former broadcasting partners in New York and for that season was joined on both KTVU and KSFO by Lon Simmons.

1959 San Francisco Giants season

The 1959 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 77th year in Major League Baseball and their second year in San Francisco since their move from New York following the 1957 season. The team finished in third place in the National League with an 83-71 record, 4 games behind the World Champion Los Angeles Dodgers. It was the team's second and final season at Seals Stadium before moving their games to Candlestick Park the following season.

1960 San Francisco Giants season

The 1960 San Francisco Giants season was the Giants' 78th year in Major League Baseball. The team moved their home games from Seals Stadium to the new Candlestick Park. In their third season in the Golden Gate City, the Giants finished in fifth place in the National League, 16 games behind the World Champion Pittsburgh Pirates.

1962 Los Angeles Angels season

The 1962 Los Angeles Angels season involved the Angels finishing 3rd in the American League with a record of 86 wins and 76 losses, ten games behind the World Series Champion New York Yankees. The 1962 Angels are one of only two teams to achieve a winning record in its second season of existence in the history of Major League Baseball (the other would be the 1999 Arizona Diamondbacks of the National League, who finished as NL West Champions at 100–62). The 1962 Angels was the first Angels team to reside at Dodger Stadium, called Chavez Ravine by the team.

1963 Los Angeles Angels season

The 1963 Los Angeles Angels season involved the Angels finishing 9th in the American League with a record of 70 wins and 91 losses.

1964 Los Angeles Angels season

The 1964 Los Angeles Angels season involved the Angels finishing fifth in the American League with a record of 82 wins and 80 losses, 17 games behind the AL Champion New York Yankees.

1970 Minnesota Twins season

Led by new manager Bill Rigney, the 1970 Minnesota Twins won the American League West with a 98–64 record, nine games ahead of the Oakland Athletics. The Twins were swept by the Baltimore Orioles in the American League Championship Series. After the ALCS, Metropolitan Stadium would never see another post-season game, and the Twins would not return to the postseason stage until 1987 when they won the World Series.

1972 Minnesota Twins season

The 1972 Minnesota Twins finished 77–77, third in the American League West.

Bobby Rhawn

Robert John Rhawn (February 13, 1919 – June 8, 1984) was an American professional baseball player. He appeared in the Major Leagues, primarily as a third baseman, for the New York Giants, Pittsburgh Pirates and Chicago White Sox between 1947 and 1949. Nicknamed "Rocky", Rhawn got into 90 MLB games during parts of those three seasons. He had an 11-year career overall (1938–1940; 1945–1952), most of it taking place at the highest levels of minor league baseball. He also served in the United States Army during World War II.Rhawn batted and threw right-handed; he stood 5 feet 8 inches (1.73 m) tall and weighed 180 pounds (82 kg). He made his MLB debut after the end of the 1947 minor league season—when he had batted .302 and knocked in 90 runs, and made the American Association's All-Star team as a utililtyman. In his first big-league contest, he relieved Giants' second baseman Bill Rigney in mid-game, collected two singles in two at bats, and scored two runs in a 9–3 Giants' victory over the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. Four days later, he went 3–for–4 against the Philadelphia Phillies, and hit the first of his two MLB home runs, a two-run shot off Schoolboy Rowe, pacing a 6–4 New York win.Rhawn's 47 MLB hits also included nine doubles and two triples.

List of Los Angeles Angels managers

There have been 21 managers in the history of the Los Angeles Angels Major League Baseball franchise. The Angels are based in Anaheim, California. They are members of the American League West division of the American League (AL) in Major League Baseball (MLB). The Angels franchise was formed in 1961 as a member of the American League. The team was formerly called the California Angels, the Anaheim Angels, and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, before settling with the Los Angeles Angels.

Bill Rigney became the first manager of the then Los Angeles Angels in 1961, serving for just over eight seasons before being fired by Angels owner Gene Autry during the 1969 season. In terms of tenure, Mike Scioscia has managed more games and seasons than any other coach in franchise history. He managed the Angels to six playoff berths (2002, 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008, and 2009) led the team to a World Series championship in 2002, and won the Manager of the Year award in 2002 and 2009. With the Angels' 2009 Playoff appearance, Mike Scioscia became the first Major League Baseball manager "to guide his team to playoffs six times in [his] first 10 seasons." None of Scioscia's predecessors made it to the World Series. Dick Williams and Whitey Herzog, who served as an interim manager immediately before Williams, are the only Angels managers to have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

There have been 16 interim managers in Angels history. In 1969, manager Bill Rigney was fired and replaced by Lefty Phillips. In 1974, manager Whitey Herzog replaced Bobby Winkles. After four games with Herzog at the helm, Dick Williams took over the managerial job and was then replaced with Norm Sherry. A year later, Sherry was replaced by Dave Garcia. Garcia didn't last a full season either, as Jim Fregosi took over as manager in 1978. In 1981, Fregosi was replaced in the mid-season by Gene Mauch. In 1988, manager Cookie Rojas was replaced eight games before the end of the season. After a start of 61 wins and 63 losses in 1991, manager Doug Rader was fired and was replaced by Buck Rodgers. A season later, Rodgers was replaced by Marcel Lachemann, who took the position for four games. He was then succeeded by John Wathan. Rodgers returned as manager in 1993, but he was soon replaced by Lachemann. In 1996, Lachemann was replaced by John McNamara, who in turn was replaced by Joe Maddon. In 1999, Terry Collins resigned as manager in mid-season. Joe Maddon finished the season. Mauch, Rodgers, Lachemann, McNamara, and Maddon have had two stints as manager.

As of 2019, Brad Ausmus replaced Mike Scioscia as manager of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

List of San Francisco Giants managers

The San Francisco Giants are a Major League Baseball team that plays in the National League Western Division. Since their inception as the New York Gothams in 1883, the Giants have employed 36 managers. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field.The franchise's first manager was John Clapp, who managed the team for one year before being replaced in 1884 by Jim Price. The New York Giants won two World Series championships during the 19th century, in 1888 and 1889, with Jim Mutrie as their manager both years. John McGraw became the Giants' manager during the 1902 season, beginning a streak of 54 consecutive years in which the Giants were managed by a Baseball Hall of Famer. McGraw himself managed for more than 30 years, until the middle of the 1932 season, the longest managerial tenure in Giants history. McGraw won 2,583 games as the Giants manager, the most in Giants history. While managing the Giants, the team won the National League championship 10 times—in 1904, 1905, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1917, 1921, 1922, 1923 and 1924. They played in the World Series nine times (no World Series was played in 1904) and won three, in 1905, 1921 and 1922.McGraw's successor was Hall of Famer Bill Terry, who managed the team from the middle of the 1932 season until 1941. He won 823 games as the Giants' manager, fourth most in Giants history, and won three National League championships, in 1933, 1936 and 1937, winning the World Series in 1933. Hall of Famers Mel Ott and Leo Durocher managed the team from 1942 through 1955. Durocher was the manager for the Giants' World Series championship in 1954.The Giants moved from New York to San Francisco in 1958, with Bill Rigney as their manager. They won their first National League championship in San Francisco under Alvin Dark in 1962 but lost the World Series that year. In their first 28 years in San Francisco, they had 14 managers (including two terms by Rigney). Since 1985, the Giants' managerial situation has been more stable. Roger Craig managed the team for more than seven seasons, from the middle of the 1985 season until 1992, including a National League championship in 1989. His successor, Dusty Baker, managed the team for ten years from 1993 through 2002, winning the National League championship in 2002. Baker has the third highest win total of any Giants manager with 840. Felipe Alou replaced Baker in 2003 and managed the team until 2006. The current Giants manager, Bruce Bochy, has managed the team since the 2007 season, winning World Series championships in 2010, 2012, and 2014, and has the second most wins among all Giants managers. Mutrie has the highest winning percentage of any Giants manager, with .605. Heinie Smith has the lowest, with .156, although he managed just 32 games. The lowest winning percentage of any Giants manager who managed at least 100 games is .389, by Jim Davenport in 1985.

Minneapolis Millers

The Minneapolis Millers were an American professional minor league baseball team that played in Minneapolis, Minnesota, through 1960. In the 19th century a different Minneapolis Millers were part of the Western League. The team played first in Athletic Park and later Nicollet Park.

The name Minneapolis Millers has been associated with a variety of professional minor league teams. The original Millers date back to 1884 when the Northwestern League was formed. This league failed and the Western League replaced it, absorbing some of the old teams. According to Stew Thornley, this team folded in 1891 due to financial problems. In 1894, another team calling itself the Millers was formed when Ban Johnson and Charles Comiskey revived the Western League in hopes of making it a second major league. The Millers continued to play in the Western League through 1900, when the name was changed to the American League to give it more of a national image. Following the 1900 season, several cities were abandoned for bigger markets in cities recently vacated by the National League, including Minneapolis. Some teams were transferred, as was the case of the Kansas City franchise to become the Washington Nationals (Senators). However, some of the teams were just left out in the dark. It is unclear which of these two paths the Millers took, but most evidence seems to point toward abandonment, not a transfer to Baltimore, especially given that no player for the 1900 Millers played for the 1901 Orioles.

Several teams went by the nickname Millers, but the most prominent of these was the team in the American Association from 1902 to 1960. The Millers won four Association pennants during the 1910–23 tenure of "Pongo Joe" Cantillon, then were managed from 1924–31 by another legend, Michael Joseph Kelley, one of the great figures of American Association history. Kelley operated the team as club president until 1946. Broadcaster Halsey Hall was the Millers' play-by-play man from 1933 until the club folded in 1960 to make way for the Minnesota Twins.

Ted Williams, Willie Mays and Carl Yastrzemski were among some future major leaguers who played for the Millers. The Millers won nine pennants in the Association during their fifty-nine years. They played their home games at Nicollet Park until 1955, the ballfeld being demolished the following year. That site, at 31st and Nicollet Avenue, is now the home of a Wells Fargo bank. In 1956 they moved into Metropolitan Stadium in Bloomington, until 1960.

They had a heated crosstown rivalry with the St. Paul Saints. The two clubs often played "streetcar double-headers" on holidays, playing one game in each city.

Over the years the Millers were participants in four Junior World Series; matchups between the champions of the American Association and the International League. In the 1932 championship, the team was defeated by the Newark Bears 4 games to 2. The Millers, under manager Bill Rigney, clinched the 1955 series against the Rochester Red Wings, 4 games to 3, in the final ball game played at Nicollet Park. In 1958, the Millers, with Gene Mauch as skipper, beat the Montreal Royals 4 games to 0. Their last appearance in this Series was in 1959, with Mauch as manager, when the Millers lost the series 4 games to 3 to the Havana Sugar Kings.

After the farm system era began, the Millers were top-level affiliates of the Boston Red Sox (1936–38; 1958–60) and New York Giants (1946–57). The Red Sox actually swapped ownership of their top farm club, the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League, for the Millers in 1957, enabling the Giants to move to San Francisco.

The Millers ceased operations after the 1960 season with the arrival of the Minnesota Twins in 1961. The Red Sox affiliated with the Pacific Coast League's Seattle Rainiers for 1961. The Millers ended with an overall record of 4,800–4,365. Through the years, Millers pitchers threw seven no-hitters, and a Miller batter was the league-leader in home runs twenty-one times and RBIs nine times.

Tom Sheehan

Thomas Clancy Sheehan (March 31, 1894 – October 29, 1982) was an American pitcher, scout, coach and manager in Major League Baseball.

Born in Grand Ridge, Illinois, Sheehan, a right-hander, had a six-year pitching career from 1915–16, 1921 and 1924–26, playing for the Philadelphia Athletics and New York Yankees of the American League and the Cincinnati Reds and Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League. He pitched for two of the worst teams in big league history — the 1915-16 Athletics. Manager and part-owner Connie Mack totally dismantled his 1914 AL-champion club after it was swept by the "Miracle" Boston Braves in the World Series. After Mack replaced his stars with inexperienced players, the A's of 1915–16 won a total of 79 games, while losing 226 — a winning percentage of only .259. At 21, Sheehan won four games and lost nine in 1915, but the following season he dropped 16 of 17 decisions (.059), although he compiled a decent earned run average of 3.69.

Overall, Sheehan appeared in 146 major league games, winning 17 and losing 39 (.304) with a 4.00 ERA.

Sheehan coached for the Reds (1935–37) and Boston Braves (1944), and spent many years as a minor league manager and scout for the New York/San Francisco Giants. In June 1960, at age 66, he succeeded the fired Bill Rigney as pilot of the Giants. Sheehan became the oldest person to make his debut as a big-league manager. The move was a shocker, and it backfired. Rigney's Giants had won 33 of 58 games and were in second place in the National League; but under Sheehan, San Francisco won 46, lost 50 (.479) and fell to a second-division, fifth-place finish. Sheehan resumed his scouting duties at season's end.

He died in Chillicothe, Ohio at the age of 88.

Willie Smith (outfielder)

Willie Smith (February 11, 1939 – January 16, 2006) was an American Major League Baseball pitcher and outfielder. After starting his career as a pitcher for the Detroit Tigers in 1963, Smith was converted to an outfielder in 1964 by the Los Angeles Angels, and remained an outfielder and pinch hitter for the Angels (through 1966), Cleveland Indians (1967–68), Chicago Cubs (1968–70) and Cincinnati Reds (1971). He also played two seasons in Japan for the Nankai Hawks (1972–73). Listed at 6 feet (1.8 m) tall and 182 pounds (83 kg), he threw and batted left-handed. He was born in Anniston, Alabama.

Smith was a highly regarded pitching prospect in the Detroit farm system. In 1963, playing for the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs, he led the International League in winning percentage (.875) with a 14–2 won/loss mark, and posted a 2.11 earned run average. He also batted .380 (30 hits in 79 at bats), with one home run and 13 runs batted in. Smith was still plying his trade on the mound when he was swapped to the Angels for Julio Navarro on April 28, 1964. He had compiled a 1–4 record with an earned run average of 2.84 with the Angels in 33⅔ innings pitched when Halo manager Bill Rigney shifted Smith to the outfield to get his bat in the lineup on a daily basis. Smith responded by hitting .301 that season (his career-best batting average) with 11 home runs and 51 RBI.

In nine seasons he played in 691 Games and had 1,654 At Bats, 171 Runs, 410 Hits, 63 Doubles, 21 Triples, 46 Home Runs, 211 RBI, 20 Stolen Bases, 107 Walks, .248 Batting Average, .295 On-base percentage, .395 Slugging Percentage, 653 Total Bases, 9 Sacrifice Hits, 15 Sacrifice Flies and 20 Intentional Walks. His record as a pitcher was 2–4 with a 3.10 ERA in 29 games and 61 innings spread over three MLB seasons.

He died of an apparent heart attack in his hometown at the age of 66.

Smith is perhaps best remembered by Chicago baseball fans for his dramatic extra inning walk-off home run at Wrigley Field on Opening Day, April 8, 1969, resulting in a Cubs win over the Philadelphia Phillies.

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