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.