Dave Bristol
Born: (1933-06-23) June 23, 1933 (age 90)
Macon, Georgia, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 15, 1966, for the Cincinnati Reds
Last MLB appearance
October 5, 1980, for the San Francisco Giants
MLB statistics
Games managed1,424
Win–loss record657–764
Winning %.462
Career highlights and awards

James David Bristol (born June 23, 1933) is an American former manager in Major League Baseball in the 1960s and 1970s. He managed the Cincinnati Reds, Milwaukee Brewers, Atlanta Braves, and San Francisco Giants during this period.

Success in the minors, and with the Reds

Bristol attended high school at the Baylor School in Chattanooga, TN. He went on to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Western Carolina University. Bristol worked as an assistant football coach at Murphy High School in Cherokee County, North Carolina.[1] A right-handed hitting and throwing infielder, he never played in the Major Leagues. Bristol became a playing manager in the Cincinnati farm system at the age of 24 with the Hornell Redlegs of the Class D New York–Penn League in 1957. By 1964, he was managing the Reds' top farm team, the San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League, where, at age 31, he won a pennant and playoff title—the fifth league championship of his eight-year career to date. In nine seasons (1957–65) as a minor league pilot, his teams won 652 games and lost 562 (.537).

In 1966, Bristol was named to the Reds' coaching staff, and when the team performed badly under rookie skipper Don Heffner, Bristol took over the club as manager on July 13. At 33, he was the youngest pilot in the Major Leagues that season through 1969. Bristol guided the Reds through 312 winning seasons, but he was dismissed following the 1969 campaign. Sparky Anderson, who took over from Bristol, would go into the Baseball Hall of Fame as the leader of the "Big Red Machine".

Cincinnati (298–265, .529) represented the highwater mark of Bristol's managing career. He would never manage another winning club.

Later struggles as MLB manager

Not long after being fired by the Reds, Bristol was hired by the Seattle Pilots as the second manager in their history. He walked into a very difficult situation; the Pilots were on the verge of bankruptcy, and went to spring training not knowing whether they would play in Seattle or Milwaukee in 1970. Just six days before Opening Day, the Pilots got word they would be moving to Milwaukee as the Brewers. The Brewers under Bristol were never able to put together a winning team; he was fired 30 games into the 1972 season.

In 1976, Bristol was hired as manager of the Atlanta Braves. Midway through the 1977 season, with the Braves mired in a 16-game losing streak, owner Ted Turner sent Bristol on a 10-day "scouting trip" and took over as his own manager. This only lasted for one game (a 2–1 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates) before National League president Chub Feeney ordered Turner to give up the reins, citing major league rules which forbid managers or players from owning stock in a team.[2] After the Braves broke the streak with third-base coach Vern Benson as interim manager, Bristol—who had returned to his offseason home in Andrews, North Carolina—was brought back to finish out what was at the time the worst season in the Atlanta portion of Braves history (61–101—including a 60–100 record by Bristol). He was fired at the end of the season.[3] He last managed in MLB with the Giants late in the 1979 season and all of 1980 before he was replaced by Frank Robinson, prior to the 1981 season. In June 1980, Bristol got into a fight with Giants pitcher John Montefusco after a victory over the rival Los Angeles Dodgers. Montefusco was angry at Bristol for removing him from the game too early.[4] Bristol finished with a career managerial record of 657 win and 764 defeats (.462).

In addition to his rookie MLB season with Cincinnati, Bristol also served as the third-base coach of the Montreal Expos (1973–75) and Giants (1978–79), plus two terms with the Philadelphia Phillies (1982–85; 1988), and two additional stints with the Reds (1989; 1993).

In 2018, he was named to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.[5]

After MLB Career

After retiring Bristol returned full time to live in his beloved Blue Ridge Mountains in Andrews, North Carolina. Bristol was encouraged to help nearby Young Harris College’s baseball program by Georgia Governor Zell Miller(he was himself a YHC baseball player and alumni, class of 1951). Bristol began helping the YHC Mountain Lion baseball team for and continued for 17 years. He has served as an on-field mentor to YHC’s baseball players and coaches and because of his generous efforts and support he was inducted into the Young Harris College Athletics Hall of Fame in 20215


  1. ^ Quinones-Belian, Anngee (2023-11-01). "Having a ball reuniting in The Ballroom". Cherokee Scout. Murphy, N.C.: Community Newspapers, Inc. p. 8A.
  2. ^ Hannon, Kent (May 5, 1977). "Benched from the Bench". Sports Illustrated. Archived from the original on June 15, 2013. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  3. ^ "Atlanta Fires Bristol As Team Starts Rebuilding". The Blade. Toledo, Ohio. Associated Press (AP). October 26, 1977. p. 46. Retrieved August 7, 2015.
  4. ^ "Bristol, Montefusco Come to Blows". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2023-08-07.
  5. ^ Wallner, Jeff (July 23, 2018). "Adam Dunn, Fred Norman, Dave Bristol earned spot in Reds Hall of Fame". WCPO. Retrieved March 29, 2020.

Preceded byfirst manager Hornell Redlegs manager 1957 Succeeded bylast manager Preceded byfirst manager Geneva Redlegs Manager 1958 Succeeded byReno DeBenedetti Preceded byLarry Taylor Geneva Redlegs Manager 1959 Succeeded bylast manager Preceded byTony Pacheco Palatka Redlegs Manager 1960 Succeeded byMike Fandozzi Preceded byJohnny Vander Meer Topeka Redlegs Manager 1961 Succeeded bylast manager Preceded byJerry Snyder Macon Peaches Manager 19621963 Succeeded byRed Davis Preceded byDon Heffner San Diego Padres (PCL) Manager 19641965 Succeeded byFrank Lucchesi Preceded byFrank Oceak Bruce Kimm Sam Perlozzo Cincinnati Reds 3rd base coach 1966 1989 1993 Succeeded byVern Benson Sam Perlozzo Bobby Valentine Preceded byJim Bragan Montreal Expos 3rd base coach 19731975 Succeeded byOzzie Virgil, Sr. Preceded byLee Elia Philadelphia Phillies 3rd base coach 19821985 Succeeded byLee Elia