With the help of a few people in the know, we have compiled a list of the top 10 independent league managers. We are going to bring this to you in a two part series with #’s 6-10 today. So here is the first part of our list….
#10 Steve Brook
Steve Brook took over as manager of the River City Rascals in 2010 after a successful career pitching for the club. In his first season he led the team to a 2nd place finish in the regular season. In the postseason that year, he would lead them to a Frontier League Title.
In his second season, he led the Rascals to a franchise record 68 wins and a return trip to the finals where they fell to the Joliet Slammers. He returns to the Rascals for his 3rd managerial season in 2012.
#9 Chris Paterson
Chris Paterson is the reigning manager of the year from the Pecos League having led the Roswell Invaders to the first ever Pecos League crown. He returns to the Pecos League in 2012 leading the White Sands Pupfish.
Chris Paterson might be one of the youngest managers in the game. After spending most of his professional playing career overseas with some of the top clubs in Europe, he began his managerial career in 2010 for the Desert Valley Mountain Lions of the Continental Baseball League. He led the team to a 26-26 record to garner his first Manager of the Year award. He has managed teams in the California Winter League, the Arizona Winter League, and the Pecos Spring League.
In two seasons as field manager, Chris has a .579 winning percentage and has won 2 Manager of the Year awards in two separate leagues. He looks to continue his success this season in New Mexico.
#8 Phil Warren
Phil Warren is heading into his 6th season as the Gateway Grizzlies manager in the Frontier League. In his first 2 seasons with the Grizzlies, Warren led them to playoff appearances.
The former Frontier League All-Star led Gateway to a franchise record 64 wins in his first season at the helm in 2007. He has led the Grizzlies to almost 250 wins in his short tenure, and he looks to improve on the Grizzlies 3rd place West Division finish.
#7 Eddie Dennis
Eddie Dennis has had three stints as the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings manager. He took over the team in the 1998 season and led them to their only title in 2000 in the Texas-Louisiana League. He returned in 2006 as the WhiteWings were reborn after two years, this time in the newly formed United League.
Dennis would continue manage again for the 2007 season before stepping away once again. However, he returned to help rebuild the franchise in 2009 after a horrible 20-62 2008 campaign. He was able to almost double their win total the next season going 39-41, and in 2010 brought the WhiteWings back to the playoffs. In the 2011 season, Dennis led Rio Grande to the league finals only to lose to Edmonton.
# 6 Andy Etchebarren
Two-time World Series Champion Andy Etchebarren also has a few titles as a manager for the York Revolution. The former MLB catcher has led York to back-to-back titles the past two seasons in the Atlantic League.
After managing for years in the Baltimore Orioles organization, Etchebarren returned in 2009 to take over the Revolution managing spot late in 2009. He was able to turn a last place team from 2009 into league champions in 2010. The team continued to get better in 2011 posting the leagues 2nd best record and once again winning the Atlantic League title. “Etch” returns to York in 2012 as he looks for his 3rd straight title.
We’ll bring you the top 5 tomorrow. So be sure to check back.
Eric Bynum is Managing Editor here at BaseballdeWorld. He spent three years as an ESL teacher in South Korea, and is now working on his master's degree in history with a focus on baseball and WWII. He has played and/or written about baseball for the past 30 years and is an avid Atlanta Braves fan.