Roy Hartsfield

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Roy Hartsfield
Second baseman / Manager
Born: (1925-10-25)October 25, 1925
Chattahoochee Hills, Georgia
Died: January 15, 2011(2011-01-15) (aged 85)
Ball Ground, Georgia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 28, 1950, for the Boston Braves
Last MLB appearance
June 14, 1952, for the Boston Braves
MLB statistics
Batting average .273
Stolen bases 14
Home runs 13
Runs batted in 138
Games managed 484
Managerial record 166–318
Winning % .343

As player

As manager

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.

Playing career[edit]

Hartsfield played for the Boston Braves between 1950 and 1952.[1] In 265 career games,[2] he had a .273 batting average,[1] 13 home runs,[1] and 59 runs batted in[2] during his playing career.

Managerial career[edit]

Early career[edit]

Hartsfield was a successful pilot at top levels of minor league baseball, with the Spokane Indians, then Los Angeles Dodgers' top farm team, and the Hawaii Islanders, the San Diego Padres' top affiliate, where he won Pacific Coast League championships in 1975 and 1976. He also coached in the Majors for the Dodgers (1969–72) and Atlanta Braves (briefly in 1973).

Toronto Blue Jays[edit]

1977 season[edit]

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 and Padre organizations. 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."[1] Hartsfield led the Jays to a 54–107 record in the 1977 season.[1] 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.[1] The Jays finished the season 45.5 games behind the Yankees.[1]

1978 season[edit]

The Jays improved slightly, finishing the season with a record of 59–103,[1] although they still finished the season in last place.[1] The Jays finished second last in runs scored and earned run average.[1]

1979 season[edit]

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.[3]

"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[4]

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.[5] In fact, the Jays improved by 14 games that year.

This would be Hartsfield's only managerial job in Major League Baseball.[1] He compiled a record of 166–318 (.343) in 484 games,[6] giving Hartsfield the worst managerial winning percentage since World War II, amongst major league managers with 200 games or more.[7] His teams finished last in the American League East Division in each of his three seasons.

Later career[edit]

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.

Managerial record[edit]

Team Season Record
W L Win %
Toronto Blue Jays 1977 54 107 .335
1978 59 102 .366
1979 53 109 .327
Total 166 318 .343


Hartsfield died from complications of liver cancer at his daughter's home in Ball Ground, Georgia, on January 15, 2011, aged 85.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Campbell, Morgan (January 19, 2011). "Remembering Roy Hartsfield". Toronto Star. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  2. ^ a b "Roy Hartsfield". Baseball Reference. Retrieved December 20, 2014. 
  3. ^ Gordon, Alison, Foul Balls: Five Years In The American League, General Paperbacks, Toronto, 1986, pp 56-58.
  4. ^ Gordon, Alison, Foul Balls: Five Years In The American League, General Paperbacks, Toronto, 1986, p 57.
  5. ^ Abel, Alan (12 March 1980). "'Messed up' Mark finds peace of mind". The Globe and Mail. p. 39. 
  6. ^ a b "Roy Hartsfield". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved December 21, 2014. 
  7. ^

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