An 18-year major league manager, Rigney took the reins of the Giants in 1956, succeeding Leo Durocher, for whom he had played from 1948 to 1953. “I learned a lot from Leo Durocher,” he said. “I learned about the hit-and-run, about gambling and going against the percentages. You can’t play it the same all the time.”
Rigney was a shrewd, sharp needler who was often ejected by umpires. He managed the Giants in New York and San Francisco until 1960. He then became the expansion Los Angeles Angels’ first manager, moved with them to Anaheim, and remained until 1969. His only division title came as manager of the Twins in 1970, but he was swept by Baltimore in the LCS.
A light-hitting infielder, he turned a weakness on inside pitches into a strength by altering his stance and hit 17 HR in 1947. He did not play regularly after 1949. A California native, Rigney scouted for the Padres and Angels, and became a TV commentator with the Angels and A’s.