Philly fans are spoiled lately, even though they haven’t been winners. The Eagles made it to the Super Bowl earlier this year. The Phillies went to the World Series last fall despite finishing 14 games behind the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets in the NL East.

And every single day, they have the option of choosing from about 95,000 restaurants serving the world’s greatest food, the Philly cheesesteak. Wit or wit-out. With Whiz or provolone or American.

Sorry, all of y’all who would say the In and Out burger has it beat. That is simply a falsehood, it says here, and this is an opinion article in which a cheeseburger cannot trump a Picasso sandwich.

But back to the Phillies. They are languishing below .500 at this early stage of the season, and they are on the Betway board at +3000 to win the World Series and +1600 to be the last NL team standing. They tend to play their best when the games matter most, so sleep on them at your own peril.

Who is the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies?

Rob Thomson has been in charge of the team since Joe Girardi was fired last June. A former catcher and third baseman from Sarnia, Ontario, who never made it past Class A ball as a player in the Detroit Tigers system, he began coaching in the Tigers system and then spent 27 years in the New York Yankees system as a third-base coach, first-base coach, and bench coach. He moved to the Phillies in 2018 under former manager Gabe Kapler. USA Today has named him the second-most handsome MLB manager behind Buck Showalter, for what that is worth.

Phillies Manager History

This franchise has been around since 1883, when they were known as the Philadelphia Quakers, so they have 140 years of history to consider when compiling a list of their top 10 managers. There have been 55 managers, 16 of which have been player-managers. Only seven of them have taken the team to the postseason, so picking the top Phillies managers is somewhat tricky. This list will not include Blondie Purcell, who went 13-68 in 1883.

Famous Phillies Managers

When it comes to “fame,” the men who have led the Phillies have made their mark as managers rather than as players. Many other franchises have transitioned great players into great managers, but not the Phillies. Why that is the case falls under the same category as “Why would anyone want Swiss cheese on a Philly cheesesteak?” (Michael Dukakis ordered that when he was running for president, which did not help his candidacy in the Keystone State.)

Ranking the Top 10 Greatest Phillies Managers of all time

  1. Harry WrightYears with Phillies: 1884 to 1890 and 1891 to 1893
    Career Record with Phillies: 636-568
    Honors and Awards: Hall of Fame (1953)

The native of Sheffield, England, was a center fielder for the very first baseball team, the Cincinnati Red Stockings. Philadelphia joined the NL in 1884 and finished last at 17-81, then improved by 20 wins under Wright and went above. 500 for the first time in 1885, going 56-54.

  1. Bill Shettsline
    Years with Phillies: 1898 to 1902
    Career Record with Phillies: 367-302.

A Philly native, Shettsline went 98-54 in 1989, but that was only good enough for third place. He began his career with the Phillies in 1883 as an office boy and by 1896 was the club's secretary and business manager. He spent 30 years with the franchise, and his 367 career managerial wins rank eighth in club history.

  1. Pat MoranYears with Phillies: 1915 to 1918
    Career Record with Phillies: 323-257

The Fitchburg, Mass., native won two titles as a player with the Chicago Cubs. He retired as a player in 1914 and immediately became a manager. Moran helped with the acquisition of Grover Cleveland Alexander, who led the Phillies to the 1915 World Series, where they lost to the Red Sox. He subsequently guided the team to a pair of second-place finishes, which got him fired.

  1. Larry BowaYears with Phillies: 2001 to 2004
    Career Record with Phillies: 337-308
    Honors and Awards: National League Manager of the Year (2001)

The NL Manager of the Year award gets Bowa a nice ranking on this list because he coaxed 21 more wins out of the Phillies than they had the previous season. However, he was fired with two games remaining in the 2004 season after failing to reach the postseason or finish within 10 games of first place over his last three years.

  1. Danny OzarkYears with Phillies: 1973 to 1979
    Career Record with Phillies: 594-510

Although he enjoyed most of his success while serving as a coach with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ozark had the Phillies showing steady improvement over his first four years to the point where they won a team-record 101 games in 1976 and again in 1977. They also made the playoffs in 1978, but the underachieved after acquiring Pete Rose in 1979, and Ozark was fired.

  1. Rob ThomsonYears with Phillies: 2022 to present
    Career Record with Phillies: 90-73 (through Saturday, May 27)

Not a huge body of work, but taking a third-place team all the way to the World Series was a heck of an accomplishment last season. Thomson’s Phillies defeated St. Louis 2-0 in the wild-card series, Atlanta 3-1 in the NLDS, and San Diego 4-1 in the NLCS. Three straight losses to Houston in the World Series prevented a third title.

  1. Gene Mauch
    Years with Phillies: 1960 to 1968
    Career Record with Phillies: 646-684
    Honors & Awards: Associated Press Manager of the Year (1962)

The Salina, Kansas, native is by far the winningest manager to have never won a league pennant or the World Series. He came within one win three times, and he had the Phillies playing for the pennant in 1964, where they had the misfortune of going against Bob Gibson after an epic late-season collapse made them fall from first place. Mauch emphasized a speed game built around stolen bases, bunts and manufacturing runs. His 646 wins as manager stood as a team record until 2011.

  1. Eddie Sawyer
    Years with Phillies: 1948 to 1952
    Career Record with Phillies: 296-292

In 1949, his first full season, the Phillies enjoyed their first winning year since 1932, winning 81 games and finishing third in the National League. Following the final game of the season, Sawyer told his team: “We are going to win it all in 1950. Come back next year ready to win.” With 91 victories against 63 losses in 1950, the Phillies won their first pennant since 1915 but lost 4-0 to the Yankees in the World Series. Still, that was a heck of a slump he broke. He also is credited with developing the pinstriped uniforms that the Phillies still wear.

  1. Dallas Green
    Years with Phillies: 1979 to 1981
    Career Record with Phillies: 169-130.

You get to be No. 2 on this list when you have led the franchise to its first World Series title ever, which happened in 1980. A blustery guy from Newport, Del., one of Green’s best quotes was: "I express my thoughts. I'm a screamer, a yeller, and a cusser. I never hold back." He won the NL East in 1981, but lost to Montreal 3-2 in the playoffs. Philadelphians loved him because he spoke like so many of them, straight from the gut, no matter how offensive some folks found that language. Those types are a dying breed. 

  1. Charlie Manuel
    Years with Phillies: 2005 to 2013
    Career Record with Phillies: 780-636

The Northfork, W.Va, native won an MVP award in the Japanese League before returning to the states and becoming a manager. He led the Phillies to the 2008 World Series title, the franchise’s second and most recent. Philadelphia made it to the World Series the following year, too, but lost. In 2010, the Phillies finished the season at 97–65; it was the first time in franchise history that Philadelphia had completed a season with Major League Baseball's best record, and they made the postseason for the fourth straight year, a streak that reached five the following season. That is a historic accomplishment, given this franchise’s lengthy history of failures.

Parameters of Ranking

Well, when you have only two championships, compiling a list such as this one is arduous. But there is a heck of a lot of history to pull from, and there have been several pennants and several very memorable teams, most recently the 2022 club, as well as the one your grand-folks still talk about, the Whiz Kids. Winning trumps everything, but turning around moribund losers counts for something, too.

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