Today we wrap up our top 10 list of the best baseball managers in independent leagues. This list shows the depth of talent in the independent leagues. It ranges from guys who have been in the game fro 50+ years, managed or played at the highest levels, but also includes some of the up and coming talent.
# 5 Doug Simunic
Doug Simunic is entering his 20th season of managing in independent baseball. For the past 16 years he has been the manager of the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks. He has some impressive records in his time. He has posted winning records in 18 of his 19 years as a manager. He has six titles to his credit including five with the Redhawks, and last season became the first independent manager to win 1,000 games.
Simunic has 17 trips to the postseason, and looks to get back on track in 2012 after his only losing season last season.
#4 Patrick Scalabrini
Former minor leaguer and Canadian National Team member Patrick Scalabrini has kept the winning tradition alive in Quebec when he took over the Capitales job in 2010. Scalabrini served as the Capitales hitting coach in 2009 when they won the Can-Am League title.
After taking over in 2010, Scalabrini led the Capitales to two straight titles. Both seasons under Scalabrini, Quebec has finished with the best record and the title. He will look for his third title in as many years this year as he returns to Quebec to lead the Capitales.
#3 Sparky Lyle
Former Major League pitcher Sparky Lyle has been at the helm of the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League since its inception in 1998. Over that time he has led the Patriots to over 900 wins and five championships.
In 14 years of managing, Lyle’s teams have finished under .500 only twice. The former Cy Young winner has won the Manager of the Year three times in the Atlantic League. He will return to the Patriots this season for his 15th year.
#2 Doc Edwards
Doc Edwards has been in baseball for over half a century including playing and managing at the highest level. After 13 years in the minor leagues as a manger, Edwards got his shot at the big leagues with Cleveland in 1987 where he would go on to manage over 350 games.
Edwards started his independent managing career in 1996 with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. Two years later he would lead the Atlantic City Surf to the initial Atlantic League title. Edwards has won over 600 games over the years leading several of his teams to the playoffs. For the past five seasons he has been at the helm of the San Angelo Colts of the North American League, formally of the United League, where he has led them to the playoffs three times and the championship once.
#1 Ricky Vanasselberg
Where ever Ricky VanAsselberg has coached success has followed. In six years managing independent league teams, he has led his teams to four championships including the last two in the American Association. Last season he led the Grand Prairie Airhogs to their first league crown. The previous season, in 2010, he led the Shreveport-Bossier City Captains to their first title in only his second season at the helm.
Prior to winning titles in the American Association, VanAsselberg was winning back-to-back titles in the United Baseball League with the Alexandria Aces. After a two year absence, the Aces joined the United League in 2006 and promptly took home the crown. A year later, they would repeat under the tutelage of VanAsselberg. Heading into the 2012 season, VanAsselberg has posted a .580 winning percentage and four titles over six years.
We’d like to hear your thoughts on the list as well. Think we left someone off? Let us know by commenting below.
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.