(Born on November 10, 1922) -- Johnny Lipon managed for 31 seasons, 30 of them in the minor leagues. His worst winning percentage came in Buffalo, which tells you all you might need to know about the team he led that season.
“Skids” went to high school in Detroit and debuted in the major leagues in 1942. World War II interrupted his career, but Lipon returned to stay with the Tigers through 1952. Then he was traded to the Red Sox that also involved Boston legend Johnny Pesky. The shortstop bounced through St. Louis and Cincinnati at the end of his major-league career in 1954.
Lipon spent a few more years playing in the minors, including a stop in Havana. He got his first chance to manage in 1959 in Selma, Ala. He worked his way up to AAA and then jumped to the Indians’ coaching staff. Lipon was Cleveland’s interim manager in 1971, and didn’t have much talent. The Tribe went 18-41.
Lipon went back to the minors from there, and skippered the Buffalo Bisons in 1981. The Pirates gave him some “colorful” personalities and not much talent, and the Bisons went 56-81.
At 58, it almost seemed like the game had passed him by. But Lipon showed his staying power from there. He managed for 11 more seasons, finally retiring in 1992 at the age of 69. Lipon died in 1998.
--- Budd Bailey