Wednesday, October 26, 2011

World Series Coaches and Some Stuff You Might Not Know

So much attention has been paid in this World Series to Tony LaRussa and Ron Washington that you may not know very much about their respective coaching staffs. Oh, you probably have some idea of their pitching coaches as Dave Duncan has this uber-pitching coach reputation and Mike Maddux is developing the same sort of reputation (along with being the brother of a Hall of Fame pitcher). You probably also know Mark McGwire, probably the most prodigious slugger not in the Hall of Fame. But what about the other coaches? Do you even know who they are? Who is the Rangers' batting coach? See? Your genial host has decided to provide you some bits of information about these coaches just so you can add to your banks of knowledge. Let's do this.

Did you know that the Rangers' bullpen coach has the only World Series win in San Diego Padres' history? He started the very next season with an 11-0 record. Who is he? Why, he's Andy Hawkins, of course. The World Series was in 1984 and the next season when he finished with an 18-8 record was 1985. He is probably better known to Yankee fans as one of their more horrible pick ups during the 1989 and 1990 seasons. He was hated then about as badly as A.J. Burnett is hated now. Even his one shining moment with the Yankees turned to dust. On July 1, 1990, Andy Hawkins pitched a complete game (eight innings) and gave up no hits and lost. Jesse Barfield made an error in the outfield followed by an error by Jim Leyritz in left field. The two errors plated four runs to give Hawkins the loss. Jim Leyritz in the outfield? Whoever thought that was a good idea? Did you know that Andy Hawkins' real first name is Melton? Melton?

The Cardinals' first base coach was the first ever third baseman for the Toronto Blue Jays after he was selected by that team in the expansion draft. His original team was the Minnesota Twins. For that team, he hit a home run in the first at bat of his big league career in 1971. That same 1971 season saw Dave McKay hit safely in 21 of his first 22 games in the big leagues. He also hit a home run for the Oakland Athletics in their division series against the Kansas City Royals in 1981. McKay was born in Vancouver and was elected to the Canadian National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2001. Those "1" years were good years for Dave McKay.

That Texas Rangers' hitting coach is Scott Coolbaugh. He fits into that amazing number of coaches category that were pretty insipid ball players. Coolbaugh played parts of four seasons in the majors and hit a solid .215 in total. His career OPS+ was 76. He did accomplish one solid feat. He hit exactly two homers in all four of his big league seasons. That's consistency. Coolbaugh also played several years professionally in Japan and Korea.

Who is the Cardinals' bench coach? Unless you were a core Cardinal fan, few of us would know that it is Joe Pettini and he has been in that role for ten years. Really? Who knew. Pettini played nine years in the minors but never made it in the majors to a starting position. He did show a solid bat in Triple A as a shortstop, so it's a little baffling to understand why he never got a shot. Perhaps his 46 OPS + in 392 big league appearances is the answer. Do the Cardinals need a bench coach with mad genius, Tony LaRussa, running around? Perhaps they do because Pettini has been doing it for a long time.

Rangers' pitching coach, Mike Maddux played twelve seasons in the big leagues for nine different teams. His 39 career wins is about one-tenth of his brother's totals. But Maddux did have 20 saves. He got into one post season with the Red Sox in 1995 and has a perfect 0.00 ERA in post season play covering three innings of work. Known primarily as a relief pitcher, Maddux did start four games for the 1989 Phillies and completed two of them, one a complete game shut out. Maddux compiled a mighty total of 4.4 rWAR in his twelve seasons.

Mike Maddux had a higher career rWAR than Derek Lilliquist did in his eight season big league career. Lilliquist has to be considered as a bust as a #1 draft pick.  Lilliquist started as an ineffective starter for the Braves and Padres in 1989 and 1990. But he had two terrific years for the Indians as a reliever in 1992 and 1992. He had a sparkling 1.75 ERA for the 1992 Indians in 71 appearances. Of course, in hindsight, it has to be one of the BABIP flukes of the century. He only gave up 5.6 hits per nine innings that season despite striking out only 6.9 batters per nine. His BABIP that season was .211. Lilliquist was a teammate of Mike Maddux on the 1995 Red Sox, but Lilliquist did not make the post season roster. Oh yeah, Lilliquist is the guy who answered the phone as the bullpen coach when LaRussa called the other day. 

The Rangers' third base coach was on the on deck circle in the 1988 World Series against the Athletics when Tommy Lasorda instead decided to pull Anderson back in favor of Kirk Gibson. The rest, of course, is history. Dave Anderson was another first round draft pick that didn't amount to much in the big leagues. He played a long time (ten years) and was never more than a utility player. He played every position in the infield during his career. But he finished with a 79 OPS+ for his career.

The Cardinals' third base coach was the first National League player since 1918 to play all nine positions in the field when he did so in the 1988 season. He is a big fan favorite in St. Louis and was named as the top utility man in voting for the All Time Busch Stadium II team. In 1990, Jose Oquendo set major league records for the fewest errors (three) and highest fielding percentage (.996) for a second baseman. Oquendo is one of the rare players who started his big league career as a low walk guy and ended up being a very good on base player. He played 163 games for the Cardinals in 1989 and finished that season with a .375 OBP. Of course, he always batted ninth, so he had 58 career IBBs.

The Rangers' bench coach played one season with the Detroit Tigers in 1965. He was their opening day starting catcher. Unfortunately, Jackie Moore didn't hit. He finished his one and only season with an .094 batting average and a .278 OPS. Oof. Moore managed the Oakland Athletics for parts of three seasons from 1984 through 1986 and finished with 164-190 managerial record. At 72, he's probably the oldest coach on either team.

The Rangers' first base coach, Gary Pettis was the Juan Pierre of his day. He stole a lot of bases, but was never worth much as a player, though he played a long time. Pettis was a better fielder than Pierre and won five Gold Gloves during his career.

The Cardinals' bullpen catcher is so indistinct that he doesn't even have a bio on the team's site. His name is Jeff Murphy.

Josh Frazier is the Rangers' bullpen catcher and started with the Rangers as an intern. He has a lot of duties now besides being the bullpen catcher. His bio explains them all. Can you tell this writer is running out of steam?

Coach Johnny Narron of the Rangers is another coach on the staff that has a brother who was a big league player. Jerry Narron is now the bench coach for the Milwaukee Brewers.

Both teams employ off field hitting coordinators who were former big league players. The Cardinals employ former MLB player, Derrick May while the Rangers employ Spike Owen in that capacity.

Perhaps now you know more about the staffs of these two World Series combatants. At the very least, you can now act very smart and knowledgeable at dinner parties.

Enjoy the rest of the World Series!

No comments: