Today In History – Bill Carrigan Is Born

22 October 1883 – On this day one hundred twenty-five years ago, former Boston Red Sox player-manager William Francis Carrigan, better known as Bill Carrigan or “Rough” Carrigan, is born in Lewiston, ME. Carrigan spent ten years in professional baseball as a catcher for Boston between 1906 and 1916; in that span, he caught three no-hitters and played for three world championship teams, two of which he managed. He is the only manager in franchise history to lead Boston teams to back-to-back world championships and the only manager other than current skipper Terry Francona to win more than one World Series at the helm of the Red Sox.

Carrigan started his career as a platoon catcher for Boston in July of 1906 and caught a career-high 110 games in 1910. Never an offensive threat, he collected just over 500 hits and batted only .257 in his career. Midway through the 1913 season, he was asked to replace Jack Stahl as manager of the then-defending world champion Red Sox after it was turned down by Fielder Jones, who had guided the 1906 Chicago White Sox to a World Series title; like his predecessor, Carrigan assumed his position as player-manager. After a second-place finish in his first full season at the helm in 1914, he guided the team to a 101-50 record and the American League pennant before leading his team to a 4-1 World Series win over the Philadelphia Phillies. The following season, his team finished 91-63 and won its second straight World Series title over the Brooklyn Robins. Following that season, he retired from baseball, returned to his hometown of Lewiston, and began a second career in the banking business. In 538 games, he had compiled a 322-216 record as manager for a .599 winning percentage.

Ten years later, the Red Sox convinced Carrigan to manage the club once again, but fortunes had changed dramatically at that point for the once-proud club; the franchise had not enjoyed a winning season since its last championship in 1918 and the celebrated skipper could do nothing to reverse its fortunes given the lack of talent at his disposal. Three straight seasons that averaged 95 losses convinced Carrigan to permanently retire from baseball after the 1929 season, and he returned to Lewiston to spend the rest of his life, passing away in 1969 at the age of 85. In 2004, the Red Sox posthumously honored the former manager with induction into the team’s Hall of Fame.

Red Sox Give Francona Contract Extension

With two world championships in the last four years to his credit guiding a team that hadn’t won a World Series since 1918, Terry Francona received a three-year contract extension Sunday from the Boston Red Sox that will keep him at the helm until at least through the 2011 season. The contract also includes a club option for two additional years, making it possible that the 44th manager in team history may be with the franchise for several years to come. Francona took over managerial duties in 2004 and immediately found success, taking Boston to its first World Series in 18 years and winning the club’s first title in nearly a century with a four-game sweep of St. Louis. The team repeated that success last season, capping the 2007 season with another four-game sweep of the Colorado Rockies in the World Series, and Francona became the first manager in MLB history to win his first eight World Series games without a loss.

In 648 games over his first four seasons, Francona has 375 wins and a winning percentage of .579, the best among Boston skippers with at least three full seasons or 462 games managed. The only other Red Sox manager to equal that mark over the same span of games is Don Zimmer, who took over for Darrell Johnson midway through the 1976 season and remained with the club until being fired with five games left in the 1980 season; his career winning percentage at the helm of the Red Sox is four percentage points behind the incumbent skipper. Francona is also one of only five managers in team history to lead a club to a world championship and the only manager other than Bill Carrigan (1915 and 1916) to lead a Boston club to two titles. In addition, he is one of three Boston managers to win two pennants and the first to take his club to the post-season three times.