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Happy Birthday, Joe Maddon!

As of today, Joe Maddon is 57 years old.

In 5 years with the Rays, Joe has gone 404-406 -- just 2 games shy of .500. I think we all anticipate ol' Joe will reach and exceed that mark fairly quickly in 2011.

For his managerial career (which includes 51 games at the helm of the California/Anaheim Angels), Maddon is 431-430, or 1 game above .500. In his first 2 seasons with the Rays, he oversaw 197 losses. In the combined 3 seasons that followed, Joe's teams lost only 209 games.

Joe was a catcher in the Angels minor leagues, and his career stolen base percentage is an impressive 1.000 (that is, 1 SB, 0 CS). He started managing minor league teams in 1981, and eventually got his first full-time manager gig in 2006 with the (then) Devil Rays.

If you are not already a fan of the quirky, intelligent, renaissance-man Joe Maddon, then you never will be. Sorry. I personally feel he is presently the smartest manager in the league, and one of the smartest managers of all time -- and not for just his creative and daring managerial tactics, but for his general, scholarly aptitude.

Happy birthday, Joe.

[raises wine glass]