Of the 828 mangers in MLB history, only 65 skippers have reached the 1,000-win landmark. Former power-hitting outfielder Pat Burrell had the fortune of playing under four of them. In his mind, though, one stood tall above the rest.
But first, let's introduce the three in question. First was Terry Francona (1,782 wins), who led the Philadelphia Phillies from 1997 to 2000, getting fired after a dismal 65-97 performance during Burrell's rookie year. Next was Charlie Manuel (1,000 wins), who took over for Larry Bowa in the middle of Burrell's eight-year journey in Philly and led the team to a World Series championship in the final season of his outfielder's stint. Burrell then went to the Tampa Bay Rays and played under Joe Maddon (1,355 wins), who didn't get to see the best of the veteran slugger during his two-year deal. Ultimately, he was designated for assignment, and Bruce Bochy (2,003 wins) and his Giants represented the final opportunity for Burrell to make an impact in the majors.
As it turns out, it was that last skipper who made the biggest impression on Burrell, who joined Bret Boone on his podcast to discuss his career.
"There's really no doubt in my mind that he (Bruce Bochy) was the best I played for," Burrell said when discussing his Giants stint. "The way he managed the game, the way he handled the bullpen... I mean, I don't think there's anybody better."
Burrell has reason to think this way, too, as Bochy granted him with a great opportunity at a time when Burrell wasn't sure his career would continue after his DFA from the Rays.
"I remember getting back to Arizona and I had my ten years, and as you know, that's kind of a big mark for us players," Burrell told Boone. "So that was kind of where I was at. I said I won one and I got my ten years and, if this is it, I've got to be pretty grateful for all the opportunities. I thought about that for a while and thought, you know, if I can get back in the National League and maybe get a chance to play, maybe I've got something left.
"...They (the Giants) just couldn't score any runs and I think they were searching so bad just to try to get some guys in there that could put some runs on the board. They finally said let's give it a shot and I went down to Triple-A. I kind of got hot down there and was there for probably four or five days, and got hot at the right time and they brought me up, and that's when I met Bochy."
It doesn't seem like Burrell has any hard feelings for his other managers, though, as he discussed Manuel's impact in Philly with Boone as well and only had fond memories for his time there. As for the end of his Philly career, however, he might still have a little bit of a bitter taste in his mouth.