"Catchers make the best managers” is a very old baseball adage. “Catchers make good managers” was cited in 1912 and “catchers make the best managers” was cited in 1918.
The expression was used in 2014, when it was noted that all four managers of league championship teams began as catchers.
18 March 1912, Bemidji (MN) Daily Pioneer, “Catcher as Manager,” pg. 4, col. 1:
But here is one line of dope you have some foundation to argue on: catchers make good managers, whether they lead from bench or behind the bat. Of the 16 major clubs 6 of them are piloted by catchers or ex-catchers.
31 March 1917, El Paso (TX) Herald, pg. 14, col. 7:
PLAYING MANAGER FOR SOX
Barry Is the Only Playing Manager This Season; Covers Second Base.
CATCHERS MAKE GOOD MANAGERS
23 July 1918, Rockford (IL) Morning Star, “Two Catchers Are Secret of Success of Chicago Cubs” by Paul Burman, pg. 7, col. 2:
It has long been a baseball tradition that catchers make the best managers, a tradition which has put catchers in one-third of the managerial positions of the big leagues as against two-thirds from the other eight positions.
14 June 1919, Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch, “Former Catchers Lead Seven Big League Clubs” by James J. Corbett, pg. 8, col. 1:
“Why is it that catchers make the best managers and why is it that a catcher must be brainy to be a success?”
5 June 1920, The Rice Belt Journal (Welsh, LA), “Diamond Notes,” pg. 2, col. 6:
George Gibson, catcher-manager, is another to show that catchers make good managers.
Little wonder that catchers make good managers
By Marty Noble / MLB.com | November 6, 2012
Catchers have a different perspective. Of course they do. They play a position different from all others, not only because they face that-a-way.
Catchers routinely become apprentice managers, candidates to run a team and a game even if they have no designs on appointments to permanent dugout duty. Baseball acumen comes with the territory behind the plate. And an enhanced grasp of multiple facets of the game is what moves a seemingly inordinate number of masked men from behind the plate to the front of the dugout.
Catchers make the best managers. Bochy, Girardi, Matheny, Redmond currently and then Joe Torre too.
11:15 PM - 15 Oct 2014
Washington (DC) Post
All four managers in League Championship Series grew up as catchers
By Barry Svrluga October 16, 2012
ST. LOUIS — Bruce Bochy last strapped on the gear and crouched behind the plate in a major league game 25 years ago, and by now, he has managed 2,600 more games than he appeared in as a catcher.
All four managers who remain in baseball’s postseason grew up as catchers.
All of them say catching prepared them for the jobs they do now, which is nothing new, because going back to the days of Connie Mack, catchers seemed to naturally drift to managing.