The baseball season is long and grueling and full of failure. Think about it — the best teams still lose 40 percent of their games and the best hitters still get out over 60 percent of the time. And when those summer temperatures spike in mid-August, a lot of tempers boil over as well. Managers have been getting thrown out of baseball games for over a century now, and no amount of rule changes or umpire improvements seem to fix the situation. Even today, when managers are told they can’t argue with New York’s decision after an Instant Replay review, we still see bench bosses getting tossed for having their say.
Half the guys on this list are genuine Hall of Famers, which proves that even managers with long, successful careers are prone to hitting the showers early from time-to-time. Obviously, the more games someone manages, the higher they will inevitably climb on this list — that’s just basic math. Some of the today’s modern managers are younger than ever, with the Padres’ boss Andy Green (40-years-old), Alex Cora of the Red Sox (42), and Tampa’s Kevin Cash (40) all just starting managerial careers that could potentially last decades. As baseball continues to shift towards a younger, more analytical approach, it’s possible some new names will eventually top this list.
15. Charlie Manuel, Clint Hurdle – 50 Ejections
We’re kicking things off with a tie! Former Philadelphia Phillies manager Charlie Manuel and current Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle have both been ejected exactly 50 times in their career. It’s only a matter of time before Hurdle takes this spot on the list for himself, since the Pirates are projected to be pretty awful in 2018. Those frustrations are bound to bubble up and get Hurdle tossed at least a few times this summer.
Manuel, who started his managerial career with the Indians in 2000 before being fired over a contract dispute, eventually found the promised land when he led the Phillies to a World Series title in 2008. The Phillies would fail in their quest to win back-to-back Fall Classics in 2009 when they lost to the Yankees in the year’s final series. Manuel, despite his large number of ejections, helped the Phillies to five straight years of postseason baseball from 2007 to 2011. He still works for the team today, as a senior adviser to the General Manager.
14. Bill Rigney – 51 Ejections
Bill Rigney had a moderately successful pro baseball career, playing for the New York Giants from 1946 to 1953. He didn’t put up amazing numbers (a career .259 batting average and just 41 home runs to his name), but he did manage to be named an All-Star in 1948. Rigney truly left his mark on baseball as a manager, though. Over two decades following his retirement, Rigney managed the Giants (as they moved to San Francisco), the Angels, the Twins, and one final stint with the Giants in 1976.
His 51 ejections mostly stem from a long career of mediocre results. Rigney managed to reach the playoffs a few times in his career, but never made it to the World Series. His final win-loss record of 1,239-1,321 is hardly anything to write home about. He eventually retired and got into radio and television broadcasting, before passing away in 2001 at the age of 83.
13. Clark Griffith – 58 Ejections
We have to go waaaaaaay back in baseball history for this one, as Clark Griffith played ball in the late 1800s and transitioned into a player/manager in the early 1900s (when that was still a thing). He was in charge of 2,856 games as the manager of the Chicago White Stockings, New York Highlanders, Cincinnati Reds, and Washington Senators. He even managed to put up a .522 winning percentage as a manager, which isn’t that bad (although not great).
During his playing days, Griffith was a right-handed starting pitcher who posted a career ERA of 3.31 and piled up 955 strikeouts. Perhaps his most notable contributions to the game weren’t as a player or a manager, though. He helped bridge the merger of the American and National Leagues, and also successfully petitioned U.S. presidents Wilson and Roosevelt to allow the continuation of baseball during WWI and WWII. He was eventually elected into the Hall of Fame.
12. Bruce Bochy – 61 Ejections
With 61 career ejections (and counting), we have arrived at the second active manager on our list. Bruce Bochy has been a Big League manager since 1995 and has spent his entire bench career with just two teams — the Padres from 1995 to 2006, and the Giants from 2007 until present. While his career record as a manager is just 1853-1855 (technically below .500), he must be doing something right besides getting tossed from 61 games. Bochy and the Giants have won three World Series rings with their “Even Year Magic” in 2010, 2012, and 2014.
Oddly enough, the Giants missed the playoffs entirely in 2011 and 2013 and 2015, which could be the source of some of Bochy’s obvious frustrations. They were expected to be in contention again in 2017, but a 64-98 record was the worst of Bochy’s career and the Giants’ worst in over 30 years. Bochy could find himself unemployed and unable to climb up the career ejection records if the Giants don’t drastically improve in 2018.
11. Lou Piniella – 63 Ejections
Lou Piniella managed in over 3,500 MLB games during stints with the Yankees, Reds, Mariners, Rays, and Cubs. And while his nickname “Sweet Lou” may have accurately referred to his swing as a player (AL Rookie of the Year, an All-Star in 1972, and two World Series rings), it’s used sarcastically when it comes to his demeanor with umpires and the media.
Piniella was definitely surly, even at the best of times, so it’s no surprise that he racked up over 60 ejections during his days in management. When he didn’t get tossed from games, he was actually quite good. He has a career record of 1,835-1,712 (.517 win percentage), was named AL Manager of the Year three times, and won a third World Series ring as the manager of the Reds in 1990. He was also in charge for the infamous 2001 Seattle Mariners team, who won 116 regular season games before faltering in the playoffs.
10. Ron Gardenhire – 66 Ejections
Despite managing in almost 1,500 fewer games than Lou Pinella, former Twins and current Tigers manager Ron Gardenhire still has three more career ejections than Sweet Lou. At that rate, he could easily climb into the top five of this list within a few more years.
Gardenhire had a brief baseball career as an infielder for the Mets from 1981 to 1985, but turned out to be a much better manager when he officially took over the Twins in 2002 after a decade of being an assistant coach. He even won the AL Manager of the Year award in 2010. Unfortunately, he took an immediate nosedive after that. His last four years with the Twins were the worst in franchise history, winning just 62, 66, 66, and 70 games in each one. All that losing will definitely build up frustration, which helps explain his extra frequent ejections.
Gardenhire took over for Brad Ausmus in Detroit ahead of the 2018 season, but they aren’t projected to be a playoff threat anytime soon. Expect more umpire confrontations from Gardenhire — and more ejections.
9. Joe Torre – 66 Ejections
Technically, Joe Torre is tied with Ron Gardenhire on the all-time ejections list with 66. But it took him a lot longer to accumulate all those early exits, since Torre managed in over 4,300 games in a coaching career that spanned over three decades with five different teams (Mets, Braves, Cardinals, Yankees, and Dodgers).
As a player, Torre was a nine-time All-Star and the 1971 NL MVP. As a manager, he’s a four-time World Series champion (all with the Yankees), and a two-time AL Manager of the Year. It was an unquestionable inductee into the Hall of Fame (Class of 2014) when he finally hung up the clipboard at the end of the 2010 season. He’s worked in the MLB front office since 2011, where part of his duties include overseeing umpiring and discipline for ejected players and managers. How ironic.
8. Jim Leyland – 68 Ejections
Jim Leyland was never quite able to crack a Big League roster as a player, spending seven years with the Tigers minor league organization in the 1960s. That eventually turned into him managing in the minors, and eventually breaking through in The Show when he landed the Pirates’ manager job in 1986. Leyland managed them to a three-peat of NL East division titles from 1990-1992, but reached the pinnacle of baseball when he managed the Florida Marlins to a World Series title in 1997, just their fifth year of existence.
The Marlins promptly executed one of the most aggressive fire sales in MLB history, and Leyland could only manage a 54-108 record the following year. A single season with the Rockies followed before an eight-year stint with the Tigers brought his final managerial record to 1,769-1,728. When you stick around baseball for 3,500 games, you’re bound to get thrown out of a few of them.
7. Frankie Frisch – 80 Ejections
Frankie Frisch played in the league for almost 20 years (for the Giants and the Cardinals), and had an amazing career — a .316 batting average, 1,244 RBIs, three All-Star appearances, an NL MVP award (1931), and four World Series titles. Near the end of his playing days, he became a player/manager for the Cards and coached for another 15 years after hanging up the cleats for good in 1937.
As a manager, Frisch recorded a 1,138-1,078 record (a .514 winning percentage) during stints with the Cardinals, Pirates, and the Cubs. He was quite the speedster in his playing days, leading the NL in stolen bases three different times. He was also quick to jump out of the dugout and get in umpire’s faces, as we can see from his 80 career ejections. Frisch was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1947 and moved into radio and television when his managerial career ended. He passed away in 1973.
6. Paul Richards – 80 Ejections
Paul Richards spent his almost all of his life in the game of baseball. He started in the minor leagues as a 17-year-old in 1926, eventually breaking in with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1932. His playing career lasted until 1946. Although his career numbers are certainly nothing special (.227 average, 155 career RBIs, and part of a World Series winning Detroit Tigers team in 1945), he spent another 25 years as either a manager or a general manager for the White Sox, Orioles, Astros, and Braves.
His managed in fewer games than most on this list, posting a win-loss record of 923-901. That makes his 80 career ejections even more impressive (or disappointing, depending on your viewpoint). His managerial style relied more on small ball, stolen bases, and solid pitching, rather than the home run, which meant he spent more time arguing with umpires about balls and strikes or close plays on the base paths. No wonder he was tossed so often.
5. Tony La Russa – 87 Ejections
Everyone knows about Hall of Fame manager Tony La Russa. He was in charge the White Sox, Athletics, and Cardinals for over 30 years, won three World Series titles (one with Oakland, two with St. Louis), and was named Manager of the Year four different times. His career spanned over 5,000 games, with a final record of 2,728-2,365, for an impressive winning percentage of .536.
La Russa wasn’t necessarily known as a hot head, but when you manage in that many games, ejections are inevitable. He was thrown out of 87 games in his career, but that only really works out to two or three ejections per season. Not too scandalous, really. La Russa was elected into the Hall of Fame in 2014 and still works in baseball, most recently as VP and special assistant to Boston Red Sox general manager Dave Dombrowski.
4. Leo Durocher – 94 Ejections
When you develop the nicknames “Lippy” and “Leo the Lip,” it comes as no surprise that Leo Durocher had a reputation for running his mouth and getting thrown out of ball games. He played 20 years in the Big Leagues from 1925 to 1945, and spent another 25 years or so managing (including a single year in Japan at the end of his career, oddly enough). He accumulated an impressive 2,008-1,709 record (a solid .540 win percentage) on his way to two World Series titles as a bench boss, to go along with the two he won as a player.
Durocher could be best described as a jerk, frequently ending up at odds with umpires, the press, and even the baseball commissioner at times. He would bark “Stick it in his ear!” from the dugout, a thinly veiled order for his pitcher to plunk the poor batter at the plate. He would frequently tell anyone who would listen that “nice guys finish last,” meaning he would rather be a prickly winner than a friendly loser. He won a lot, and was ejected from 94 career games
He flaunted his personal friendships with notorious gamblers, bookies, and members of the mafia, much to the chagrin of then-commish Albert “Happy” Chandler. He was eventually suspended a season for “association with known gamblers,” but much of that has been forgiven over time due to his part in helping Jackie Robinson break baseball’s color barrier — he was one of the first white members of MLB to speak up in support of allowing talent to decide who played, rather than skin color. He was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1994.
3. Earl Weaver – 94 Ejections
Unlike most managers on this list, Earl Weaver stuck with a single team for his entire career. He served as the Baltimore Orioles manager from 1968 to 1982, and then again from 1985 to 1986 after a brief retirement. His career win-loss record of 1,480-1,060 is among the best in baseball history (a .583 win percentage). He guided the O’s to four AL pennants, and won the World Series in 1970. Despite all that winning, Weaver clearly had a problem with authority.
Although some records are fuzzy, Weaver was ejected from 94 official ball games (although some sources say as many as 98, plus a handful of postseason games too). Amazingly, he was ejected from both games of a doubleheader on three separate occasions! He was ejected from two games before they even started and was the pioneer of the classic “kick dirt at the umpire” move that many managers have copied since. He once got so mad that he pulled his team off the field, resulting in the only forfeit in Orioles’ history.
His most famous tirade came in a game where umpire Bill Haller was wearing a microphone, resulting in clear audio of a profanity-filled argument over a balk and an alleged finger poke.
Warning: NSFW language in this video. Turn on the captions for increased hilarity.
2. John McGraw – 132 Ejections
Now we’re getting into truly legendary levels of agitation, as John McGraw becomes the first manager on our list to break the century mark of 100 ejections. His 132 total tosses were the all-time record, which stood for 75 years before finally being beaten by the next name on our list. Like plenty of others from the early 1900s, McGraw started as a player-manager before transitioning into full time management after retiring from playing in 1907.
He was known for innovating little-used strategies (for the time), like the hit-and-run, bunting, and sacrifices. He employed other tricks like trying to impede opposing base runners and wearing sharpened spikes, along with practicing mental warfare against other players and (especially) umpires. His constant barrage of verbal attacks were designed to intimidate the umpire into making favorable calls, but often just ended with McGraw being kicked out of the game entirely.
Despite his reputation for being a “dirty” player and manager, he excelled at both. He owns a career .334 batting average and a 2,763-1,948 record in charge of a dugout. He won a World Series as a player and two more as a manager, all with the New York Giants. He made the Hall of Fame in 1937.
1. Bobby Cox – 161 Ejections
Bobby Cox had a (very) brief career as a baseball player (with the Yankees in 1968 and 1969), but will be remembered forever as a Hall of Fame manager with the Atlanta Braves (and four seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, which a lot of people forget about). As the Braves’ skipper, he won 11 division titles, five National League pennants, and a single World Series (in 1995). He was named Manager of the Year four times, while piling up an excellent 2,504-2,001 winning record. And he managed to be ejected 161 times, more than any other manager in baseball history.
Cox was not short tempered like McGraw was, but he was quick to defend his players. He often “took the bullet” for his guys, arguing with umpires and getting thrown out so that his players could stay in the game. He is the only manager in baseball history to be ejected from two different World Series games (once in 1992 for throwing a batting helmet and again in 1996 for arguing a close play at second base). He once famously quipped that he wrote the league a $10,000 check for preemptive fines, and simply asked the head office to let him know when it ran out. A smart strategy, considering the ridiculous number of ejections he ended up with over the years.