Earlier this week, Mark Kotsay was hired as the manager of the Oakland Athletics. Earlier in his playing career, Kotsay spent one season with the Milwaukee Brewers. In 2011, he was part of the squad that advanced all the way to the National League Championship Series. What many people did not realize about the signing of Kotsay to the Oakland bench was that he is now the sixth former Brewers player to currently hold a managerial job in Major League Baseball.
Craig Counsell, of course, is one of those former players. The current Brewers manager spent six seasons as a player for his hometown team. His first season was 2004 when he was traded to Milwaukee by the Arizona Diamondbacks as part of the deal for Richie Sexson. After returning to Arizona for two seasons, Counsell spent the last five years of his playing career with the Brewers. He was hired as the Milwaukee Brewers manager in 2015. Under his leadership, the Brewers have made the playoffs in four-straight seasons. Currently, Counsell is third in team history for managerial wins with 405. This upcoming season, he will undoubtedly catch and pass Ned Yost, another former Brewers player turned manager. Yost had 457 wins during his tenure with the Brewers. Phil Garner is the Brewers’ all-time leader in managerial wins with 537.
Other Former Brewers Who Are Now MLB Managers
In addition to Craig Counsell and Mark Kotsay, there are four other current MLB managers who used to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. Perhaps the most successful is Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona. Francona finished his Major League playing career with the Brewers in 1989-90.
Gabe Kapler played for the Milwaukee Brewers in 2008. After two uneventful seasons as the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, Kapler became the manager of the San Francisco Giants. This past season, he won NL Manager of the Year after guiding his Giants to 107 regular season wins.
Mike Matheny is a name well-known to Brewers fans outside of his playing days with the Crew. As a catcher for the St. Louis Cardinals, he won three Gold Gloves (and a fourth with the Giants) as Milwaukee struggled to find decent defensive catching. Prior to St. Louis, Matheny played for the Brewers from 1994-1998. He managed the Cardinals from 2012-2018. Currently, he is the manager of the Kansas City Royals.
Finally, David Bell, who played the last 53 games of his career with the Brewers in 2006, rounds out the list of former Milwaukee players holding managerial positions. Bell became the manager of the Cincinnati Reds in 2019 and still holds that position.