Statistics Background Still Key To New Phillies Manager Joe Girardi's Approach To The Game

Girardi and Professor Tamhane

The Philadelphia Phillies introduced Joe Girardi as their new manager last week, hoping that the veteran manger will help them take the next step towards contention after several disappointing campaigns.  A major focus of Philadelphia's rebuilding efforts has been an organizational investment in their analytics department, and they hope that Girardi can help to effectively communicate their findings with the team's players.  While a focus on analytics has taken MLB front offices by storm over the last two decades, Girardi's relationship with statistical analysis goes back quite a bit further.  Before his 15 year playing career and stints as manager of the Yankees and Marlins, Girardi was an Industrial Engineering student at Northwestern University, graduating in 1986. 

Professor Ajit Tamhane recently spoke with the Philadelphia Enquirer about Girardi's time in his statistics class, with a particular interaction at the end of the quarter standing out after 30+ years.  Tamhane and Girardi previously recorded a video for the YES Network during Girardi's time as the Yankees' manager as well.  Girardi credits Professor Tamhane with sparking his interest in the subject, which has served him well through several positions in the game.  With the role of analytics taking on increased prominence in teams' decision making every year, that background promises to serve him well for years to come.