Rays Manager Joe Maddon Turns 60
Happy Birthday to Rays Manager Joe Maddon who turns 60 years old today. He has been part of the Rays organization for the past 8 years since his hired as the teams manager on November 5, 2005.
He brings a leadership quality that extends well beyond the baseball field into the community and is truly the face of the franchise. The 2014 season marks his 40th year in professional baseball, 21st in the major leagues, and 9th as Rays manager.
His management style is unique as the players never know what may be waiting for them in the clubhouse when they arrive. Last season during a mid-April home stand over the course of four consecutive days the players were greeted by a disc jokey, a magician, a cockatoo, and a pair of penguins. Later in May a merengue band performed in the clubhouse. Finally, in mid-August a python was brought in.
He also held what is known as “American Legion Week” from August 26th through 29th against the Los Angeles Angels. The purpose of the week is to allow the players “to get off their feet” by showing up later and just stretch out and play without the normal batting practice.
The fun extends to the road beginning with themed road trips. On these trips the team dresses up in various themes including Letterman Jackets, all white, accidental nerds, camouflage, to their favorite college gear.
There was also a “win or weep” party announced by Joe Maddon on Twitter prior to the teams September 3rd contest against the Los Angeles Angels where he announced win or lose the fans in Rays gear that showed up at a local bar after the game would receive a free beer. It’s an idea that he got from his youth back in Hazelton where there was a Win or Weep Dance after the Thanksgiving Day football game between Hazleton and West Hazleton.
While it’s fun to look at the awkward things he may do off the diamond but between the white lines there have been very few to have the success he has.
His 1297 games on the bench of the Rays is 798 more than any other manager. The franchise record when he took over was 518-775 and his record since taking the helm is 677-620.
Only the Twins Ron Gardenhire (2002) an the Angels Mike Scioscia (2000) have a longer tenure than he does. When the 2014 season begins he will have the third highest winning percentage of all active managers (minimum 1000 games) at .525 trailing only the Indians Terry Francona (.532) and the Angels Mike Scioscia (.544).
The Rays promotional staff had a little fun with his 60th birthday to promote their flex-pass ticket plan: