The first name that usually comes to mind when discussing managerial longevity is Connie Mack, who was at the helm of teams for 53 seasons. Perhaps the most impressive part of his run is that 50 of those seasons came consecutively for the same team — the Athletics, from 1901-50.
The longest continuous tenure for an active manager with his current team isn’t nearly as long as that, of course. That belongs to Bob Melvin, who has managed the A’s for the past 10 seasons. Terry Francona has managed the Indians for eight years, and Kevin Cash and Craig Counsell have helmed the Rays and Brewers, respectively, for six.
While Mack leads the way by a large margin historically, he is by no means the only manager to lead the same team for a long time across consecutive years. Here’s a look at the 13 longest continuous managerial tenures with one team.
1) 1901-50 Connie Mack, Athletics (50 seasons)
Mack’s entire career was legendary. During his time with the A’s, which began when he was just 38 years old, the team totaled nine pennants, with five of those resulting in World Series titles. Only two managers — fellow Hall of Famers Joe McCarthy and Casey Stengel — won more titles, with seven each.
2) 1902-32 John McGraw, Giants (31 seasons)
The 29-year-old McGraw signed with the Giants during the season in 1902 after the player/manager was released by the Orioles, beginning a tenure that would last until 1932. Primarily an infielder, he spent his first five years with the Giants as a player/manager before becoming solely the skipper. During his span with New York, the Giants won 10 pennants and converted three of those into World Series titles. The Giants had a .591 winning percentage during McGraw’s time in charge.
3) 1954-76 Walter Alston, Dodgers (23 seasons)
Alston spent his entire managerial career in Dodger blue, guiding the team through its move from Brooklyn to Los Angeles in 1958. Under Alston, the team experienced success that was unprecedented for the Dodgers, winning four World Series and appearing in another three Fall Classics. The team’s 1955 title in his second year in charge was the first in franchise history, and came after losing four World Series in the prior eight seasons.
4-T) 1990-2010 Bobby Cox, Braves (21 seasons)
In all, Cox managed the Braves for 25 seasons, but only the final 21 were consecutive. He first managed the club from 1978-81 to begin his career, never finishing higher than fourth, before joining the Blue Jays for four years. In 1990 he returned to stay, as the Braves’ division dominance was about to begin. Cox’s Braves won a record 14 straight division titles, with five pennants and a World Series title in 1995.
4-T) 1976-96 Tommy Lasorda, Dodgers (21 seasons)
Lasorda spent his entire managerial career with the Dodgers, and his tenure only ended when dealing with health issues. In his first full season in 1977, the team won the first of two straight NL pennants. Then, in 1981, he guided the club to its first World Series title since 1965. They won it all again in 1988, and Lasorda got to see the Dodgers win another World Series in 2020 before he passed away in January 2021.
6-T) 2000-18 Mike Scioscia, Angels (19 seasons)
Scioscia had a 13-year career as a catcher with the Dodgers, playing under Lasorda the entire time and playing on two of the aforementioned World Series-winning teams. When it came time for him to become manager, he remained in Southern California, taking charge of the Angels in 2000. The Angels won the 2002 World Series in Scioscia’s third season, and appeared in the playoffs seven times overall, winning the AL West in six seasons.
6-T) 1879-97 Cap Anson, White Stockings/Colts (19 seasons)
Anson, who was the first member of the 3,000-hit club, spent much of his career as a player/manager, including a 19-year stretch with the franchise that we now know as the Cubs. His entire time with the club was prior to the first World Series, but his team did win the National League pennant five times — awarded to the team with the best regular-season record. Chicago had a .579 winning percentage in Anson’s years at the helm and on the field.
8) 1914-31 Wilbert Robinson, Robins (18 seasons)
Robinson led the team we now know as the Dodgers for 18 straight years, winning NL pennants in 1916 and 1920. The team finished above .500 eight times in that span. A former catcher, Robinson was remembered for his guidance of the pitching staff. A few of the pitchers he managed were Hall of Famers Dazzy Vance, Burleigh Grimes and Rube Marquard, among other notables.
9) 1979-95 Sparky Anderson, Tigers (17 seasons)
Anderson’s managerial career began in 1970 with the Reds, where he presided over the Big Red Machine for four NL pennants and two World Series titles. From there, he headed to Detroit and led the Tigers to a title, too, in 1984. During his time in Detroit, Anderson managed Hall of Fame players Jack Morris and Alan Trammell, in addition to Kirk Gibson.
10-T) 1996-2011 Tony La Russa, Cardinals (16 seasons)
La Russa joined the Cardinals after 17 seasons as a manager, first with the White Sox and then with the A’s. His longest continuous tenure came in St. Louis, which he led for 16 seasons that included three pennants and two World Series titles.
10-T) 1986-2001 Tom Kelly, Twins (16 seasons)
Kelly was 36 years old when he managed his first game for the Twins, and he stayed in that role through age 51. The Twins won two World Series titles with him at the helm, in 1987 and 1991.
10-T) 1931-46 Joe McCarthy, Yankees (16 seasons)
McCarthy managed three teams in his career, starting with the Cubs for five seasons and ending with the Red Sox for three, sandwiching his 16 years in New York. But it was the time with the Yankees that made him a Hall of Fame manager, winning eight pennants and seven World Series. Those seven titles are tied with Stengel for the most, and each won all seven with the Yankees.
10-T) 1900-15 Fred Clarke, Pirates (16 seasons)
Clarke ushered the Pirates into the modern era, taking over the club for the 1900 season and skippering them as a player/manager in all but one of the 16 seasons. Under Clarke, the Pirates won four pennants and one World Series, in 1909. One of their pennant years was in 1903 — the first modern World Series.