October 25, 1925|
Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia, U.S.
|Died: January 15, 2011
Ball Ground, Georgia, U.S.
|April 28, 1950 for the Boston Braves|
Last MLB appearance
|June 14, 1952 for the Boston Braves|
Roy Thomas Hartsfield (October 25, 1925 – January 15, 2011) was a second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball; his MLB playing and managing careers each lasted three years. Hartsfield played his entire major-league career with the Boston Braves (now the Atlanta Braves) from 1950 to 1952. He was then traded to the Brooklyn Dodgers for outfielder Andy Pafko. Hartsfield spent the next 19 years in the Dodgers organization as a minor league player and manager and major league coach. In the latter role, he worked under Los Angeles skipper Walter Alston for three seasons.
Toronto Blue Jays
In 1977, Hartsfield was hired as the first-ever manager of the expansion Toronto Blue Jays by the Jays' first general manager, Peter Bavasi, who had worked with him in the Dodger organization. Hartsfield was quoted in 1997 that "the guys I managed the year before in Hawaii (in the triple-A Pacific Coast League) were probably a better team." Hartsfield led the Jays to a 54–107 record in the 1977 season. Notable games from the season include a 9–5 win against the Chicago White Sox on opening day and a 19–3 win against eventual division champions New York Yankees. The Jays finished the season 45.5 games behind the Yankees.
The Jays finished the season with a record of 59–103. The Jays finished the season in last place. The Jays defeated the White Sox 4–2 in front of a record crowd of 44,000. The Jays finished second last in runs scored and earned run average.
In 1979, Hartsfield led the Jays to a record of 53–109, their worst showing yet, and the worst showing of any American League team since 1966. Unpopular with the Blue Jays players, by August the team was in open revolt against Hartsfield, with players airing their grievances in the media on a near-daily basis.
"Hartsfield was a bitter man, loathed by many of his players, ignored by his coaches, and the focus of the frustration of supporters who were impatient to win. It was not an enviable position, but he handled it badly. He had given up all pretence of talking to his players or taking a direct hand in their day-to-day development. These basics he left to the coaches while he sat glumly in the corner of the dugout, lost in another world...It was embarrassing and painful to watch." - Alison Gordon
Having lost over 100 games in each of his three years as manager, and having been very publicly criticized by the Toronto sports media for apparently having lost control of the team, Hartsfield was let go at the conclusion of the 1979 season and replaced by Bobby Mattick. "This year, we should win 10 more games on attitude alone," enthused pitcher Mark Lemongello about the managerial change. In fact, the Jays improved by 14 games that year.
This would be Hartsfield's only managerial job in Major League Baseball. He compiled a record of 166–318 (.343) in 484 games, giving Hartsfield the worst managerial winning percentage since WWII, amongst major league managers with 200 games or more. His teams finished last in the American League East Division in each of his three seasons.
Hartsfield managed in the Chicago Cubs organization in 1981, starting the season with the Triple-A Iowa Oaks and finishing with the Double-A Midland Cubs. Both teams ended up with losing records, as did the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians in 1983, which was Hartsfield's final management job.
|Toronto Blue Jays||1977||54||107||.335|
- Campbell, Morgan (January 19, 2011). "Remembering Roy Hartsfield". Toronto Star. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- "Roy Hartsfield". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 20, 2014.
- Gordon, Alison, Foul Balls: Five Years In The American League, General Paperbacks, Toronto, 1986, pp 56-58.
- Gordon, Alison, Foul Balls: Five Years In The American League, General Paperbacks, Toronto, 1986, p 57.
- Abel, Alan (12 March 1980). "'Messed up' Mark finds peace of mind". The Globe and Mail. p. 39.
- "Roy Hartsfield". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 21, 2014.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference, or Baseball-Reference (Minors)
- Venezuelan Professional Baseball League statistics