Managerial greats live on after Weaver's passing

Managerial greats live on after Weaver's passing
With the passing of Earl Weaver on Saturday at age 82, baseball lost another of the greatest managers ever to set foot on the dugout steps, his death following those of Sparky Anderson and Dick Williams in recent years.

Those members of the Hall of Fame left quite a legacy, each in his own way, but there remain many managerial greats among us -- a cadre of special former skippers, some actively involved in baseball, others enjoying retirement.

Two of them are in the Hall of Fame as managers, and still others as players. A few are on the cusp of being considered for that highest honor very soon as among those eligible on the 2014 ballot. And that's just part of the club.

In tribute to Weaver, here are some of the living managerial luminaries among those mourning his passing:

Hall of Famers
Now that Weaver is gone, there are only two men alive who have Cooperstown credentials as a manager: Tommy Lasorda and Whitey Herzog.

At age 85, Lasorda continues to spread the message of Dodger blue to this day, and will be leading a group of Dodgers out on the team's winter caravan, starting Monday. Herzog, 81, helped counsel Cardinals manager Mike Matheny last spring as Matheny headed into his first season in the skipper's chair.

Two other accomplished managers are among the cherished living Hall of Famers, also. Frank Robinson earned entrance on the first ballot as one of the all-time great players, not for his 1,065 managerial wins. And at 89 years old, Red Schoendienst is the dean of former managers, having gained entrance via the veterans' committee as a player but also winning two World Series as a manager.

Others in a similar spot -- in Cooperstown as a player but also served as a manager -- include Yogi Berra and Tony Perez.

Cusp of Cooperstown
As it turns out, the 2014 Hall of Fame ballot will have a treasure trove of managerial talent available for consideration, as the Expansion Era (1973-present) takes its turn among the three eras now part of what used to be known as the veterans' committee ballot.

Nos. 3-5 on the all-time managerial wins list are at the head of the class, with Tony La Russa (2,728), Bobby Cox (2,504) and Joe Torre (2,326) all eligible for consideration. La Russa finished with flair, winning a third World Series ring with the Cardinals in 2011. Torre, who will manage Team USA in the upcoming World Baseball Classic, hauled in four World Series titles with the Yankees, and Cox won one while leading the Braves to 14 consecutive division titles.

After that trio that had so much success for so long, the living manager with the most wins under his belt is Lou Piniella with 1,835 -- and Sweet Lou, too, will be among those eligible next time around for consideration to be inducted into Cooperstown's hallowed hall.

Each of them was active beyond age 65, which means they don't have to wait five years after retirement to be considered for the Hall -- assuming any of them don't come out of retirement before the ballot comes out, that is.

Among the greats
Active managers Jim Leyland (1,676), Dusty Baker (1,581) and Bruce Bochy (1,454) lead the current class of managers in career wins, with Bochy poised to pass Weaver's 1,480 this coming season.

Retired or at least currently inactive managers who have posted 1,000 wins or more include, in descending order of their victories, Mike Hargrove, Bobby Valentine, John McNamara, Tom Kelly, Art Howe, Felipe Alou and Jim Fregosi -- and Bill Virdon, respected as a mentor to many managers after him, checks in with 995 wins.

So, while one great has passed, many who have made their mark on Major League managing remain.

Of course, none of them were quite like Weaver, who stood apart with his wit and his competitive fire -- qualities that will live on in history after his passing Saturday.

John Schlegel is a national reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.