Every major sport has its share of hard luck losers — the players and coaches who routinely outperform their competition, only to fall just short when it matters most.

As we head down the stretch in the Major League Baseball season, we look at some skippers who have racked up Hall of Fame credentials, manager of the year awards, and just about every other managing accolade of note. Still, each of them has missed out on championship hardware. Here are five managers who probably wish they had better luck:

Art Howe

You know you’re successful when Brad Pitt decides to make a movie about your team. Billy Beane may have pulled the strings, but Howe was the guiding force behind the 2002 Oakland Athletics. The squad won an American League record 20 straight games and inspired a film (and book) entitled ‘Moneyball.’ During his tenure, the normally middling A’s enjoyed an unprecedented three-year run of success. Unfortunately, all of the Hollywood magic in the world couldn’t get Art a title. Still, he’s won over 1,000 games and helped to change the way baseball teams are assembled.

Bobby Valentine

Although he’s known more for his quirky antics (i.e., fake mustaches) than for his managing, Bobby Valentine has carved out an extremely successful career. He led a scrappy New York Mets squad to the 2000 National League pennant, then hopped over the Pacific Ocean and won a championship in Japan. After his stint abroad, he became a hot commodity, with several MLB teams vying for his services. His current tenure with the Red Sox has been eventful and disappointing so far, but a massive payroll has a way of increasing one’s chances at a championship.


Showalter is known as a rebuilder, the type of manager that can turn a hapless franchise into a perennial contender. His most memorable stint came as the manager of the New York Yankees from 1992-95. The Bronx Bombers were floundering in the cellar of the AL East until he showed up. Buck turned the team around, only to be fired just before the Yankees’ dominant four-championship run. After similar stints in Arizona and Texas, its safe to say Showalter has the worst luck of anyone on this list. He may get the chance to boost his resume now that he’s got the Baltimore Orioles in the playoff hunt.

Dusty Baker

Dusty Baker has quietly played a major role in several of baseball’s biggest moments of the last 20 years. With the help of Barry Bonds, the two-time manager of the year turned a floundering San Francisco Giants franchise around, leading them to the 2002 World Series. As the skipper of the Chicago Cubs, he nearly overcame the dreaded ‘Curse of the Billy Goat,’ only to have a Steve Bartman infamously interfere during a pivotal NLCS moment. Now at the helm of a hungry Cincinnati Reds club, Dusty still has a great shot at earning that elusive ring.

Al Lopez

An old-timer on our list, Lopez may not be a household name in 2012, but you don’t record the fourth-highest career winning percentage in baseball history without some serious managerial chops. After a successful playing career, Lopez led both the Indians and White Sox to World Series berths, but ultimately fell short of a title. The Hall of Famer was also the only non-Yankee manager to win a pennant from 1949-64 — no small feat against Mickey Mantle in his prime. In 15 years as a manager, he never once finished with a losing record.