Jim Leyland's Tigers annually seemed to give the Yankees problems (especially in the playoffs) during his tenure as manager, which recently came to a close. However, even including that sterling 10-3 playoff record against the Yankees, he was an under-.500 manager in his career against them. Although that can partially be blamed on the 1998 Marlins' complete ineptitude, it's still remarkable that the Yankees have played so well when facing a manager with a reputation for running strong teams.
So how have other well-regarded managers fared against the Yankees throughout their 110-year history? I looked into the managerial records of all baseball managers with at least 1,000 victories, narrowing the pool to the skippers regarded as baseball's all-time best. (It was tricky since multi-season managerial splits are hard to find.) I included playoff games and established a minimum of 50 games managed against the Yankees to increase the sample size and ensure that these managers spent the equivalent of at least two or three full seasons of baseball in charge of teams that regularly faced the Yankees.
Without further ado, here's the list of the 36 qualifying managers:
|Rank||Manager||G v. NYY||W v. NYY||L v. NYY||W-L% v. NYY||Years Active||Teams v. NYY|
|1||Tony LaRussa||201||115||86||0.572||1979-2011||White Sox, A's, Cardinals|
|5||Dick Williams||140||74||66||0.529||1967-88||Red Sox, A's, Angels, Mariners|
|7||Chuck Tanner||72||36||36||0.500||1970-88||White Sox, A's|
|8||Terry Francona||173||86||87||0.497||1997-||Phillies, Red Sox, Indians|
|9||Jim Leyland||77||38||39||0.494||1986-2013||Marlins, Tigers|
|10||Sparky Anderson||208||102||106||0.490||1970-95||Reds, Tigers|
|11||Joe McCarthy||51||25||26||0.490||1926-50||Red Sox|
|12||Bobby Valentine||140||66||74||0.471||1985-2012||Rangers, Mets, Red Sox|
|13||Ralph Houk||128||60||68||0.469||1961-84||Tigers, Red Sox|
|14||Whitey Herzog||77||36||41||0.468||1973-90||Rangers, Royals|
|16||John McNamara||103||46||57||0.447||1969-96||A's, Angels, Red Sox, Indians|
|17||Lou Piniella||182||81||101||0.445||1986-2010||Mariners, Devil Rays|
|18||Billy Martin||117||52||65||0.444||1969-88||Twins, Tigers, Rangers, A's|
|19||Joe Cronin||326||144||182||0.442||1933-47||Senators, Red Sox|
|20||Bobby Cox||84||37||47||0.440||1978-2010||Blue Jays, Braves|
|21||Al Lopez||315||138||177||0.438||1951-69||Indians, White Sox|
|22||Bill Rigney||181||77||104||0.425||1956-76||Angels, Twins|
|24||Steve O'Neill||221||90||131||0.407||1935-54||Indians, Tigers, Red Sox|
|25||Frank Robinson||79||32||47||0.405||1975-2006||Indians, Orioles, Nationals|
|26||Buck Showalter||104||42||62||0.404||1992-||Rangers, Orioles|
|Jack McKeon||52||21||31||0.404||1973-2011||Royals, A's, Marlins|
|28||Jim Fregosi||93||37||56||0.398||1978-2000||Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays|
|29||Art Howe||83||32||51||0.386||1989-2004||A's, Mets|
|30||Chuck Dressen||104||39||65||0.375||1934-66||Dodgers, Senators, Tigers|
|Mike Hargrove||200||75||125||0.375||1991-2007||Indians, Orioles, Mariners|
|32||Jimmy Dykes||405||151||254||0.373||1934-61||White Sox, A's, Orioles, Tigers, Indians|
|33||Bucky Harris||570||212||358||0.372||1924-56||Senators, Tigers, Red Sox|
|34||Lou Boudreau||323||120||203||0.372||1942-60||Indians, Red Sox, Royals|
|35||Gene Mauch||104||38||66||0.365||1960-87||Twins, Angels|
Unsurprisingly, LaRussa is on top of this list--he was one of the greatest managers in baseball history, and almost all of his time spent managing against the Yankees occurred when they were in a 14-year playoff drought. Jennings, the first manager to guide the Tigers to the AL pennant is in second place. Like LaRussa, he faced the Yankees when they were not a very good team. This trend is mostly consistent throughout this ranking, which makes sense; if the Yankees were good, then opposing managers had problems.
The biggest victim of the Yankees' success is Gardenhire, whose Twins have never played well against the Yankees. They are the anti-Tigers. However, Gardenhire's hapless Twins were far from the only victims. Several Hall of Fame or future Hall of Fame managers were under .500 in their careers against the Yankees, most notably Anderson, McCarthy, Herzog, and Cox. Dick Williams seemed to succeed wherever he went though, and the Penguin's 2000-10 success against the Yankees is reflected here.
Which other managers are you surprised about on this list?