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Terry Francona officially becomes winningest manager in Cleveland baseball history

While the club won 30 games last season with Francona out of action, he has formally been credited with those victories by starting this year in the dugout.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Terry Francona now stands alone.

By virtue of merely being in the dugout for Thursday's season opener in Kansas City, the future Hall of Famer officially became the winningest manager in Cleveland baseball history. His 753 victories put him ahead of the great Lou Boudreau for No. 1 on the list.

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Francona's path to the top was a rather unique one, revolving around the health problems that kept him out of action for the final 63 games of 2021. At the time, the then-named Indians were 50-49, and proceeded to finish 30-33 under acting manager and bench coach DeMarlo Hale.

With Francona's future uncertain, the front office came up with a unique arrangement: If Tito returned to action in 2022, those 30 wins (as well as the 33 losses) would be added to his record. If he decided to retire, then Hale would get the credit.

We knew it would be the case for weeks, but Francona was indeed with the now-Guardians this afternoon. He is now 25 wins clear of Boudreau, and his winning percentage of .556 with the franchise is also third behind only Al López (.617) and Ossie Vitt (.570).

Credit: Ross D. Franklin/AP
Cleveland Guardians manager Terry Francona smiles as he talks with coaches in the dugout prior to the team's spring training baseball game against the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, March 22, 2022, in Goodyear, Ariz.

Now in his 22nd season as a big league skipper with three different teams, Francona has an all-time record of 1,782-1,516, with his win total ranking 17th all-time. He notably earned two World Series championships with the Boston Red Sox, and in nine years with the Indians/Guardians has made the postseason five times and won the 2016 American League pennant.

Besides last season, Francona also missed the bulk of the 2020 campaign, with Sandy Alomar Jr. acting as manager down the stretch. The entire 35-25 mark from than COVID-shortened campaign was credited to Tito from the get-go.

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