Where Are They Now: From Retired MLB Players to Minor League Managers and Coaches

Sunday May 29, 2011

MLB reports:  Having attended many baseball games in my lifetime, I was reflecting the other day on life after retirement for baseball players.  Getting to watch players for upwards of 20 years, one day each and every one departs the game eventually.  Once their playing careers are over and the players hang up their spikes for the last time, fans often ask: what happens to them?  This is a question I find myself asking time and time again.  Some players turn into broadcasters and scouts.  Some retire and live on secluded islands, never to be seen again.  Some are lucky enough to find jobs in the major league level, from front office positions to on-field coaching assignments.  However, many that wish to stay in the game end up going back to the minors and starting over.

Looking at the list of minor league managers and coaches, familiar names from days gone by get triggered.  What I did notice though was a reoccurring theme.  With the exception of few, you are unlikely to find too many hall-of-famers and superstar players in the grass-roots levels.  The best coaches and managers, occurring to many industry people that I have spoken with, are within the role players and grinders that studied the game well and fought for their playing careers.  Ex-catchers are often labelled as strong future managers and coaches for their knowledge of the game.  A superstar often gets by on talent and skill, but their results on the field do not always translate well in the dugout.  To be a good manager or coach, you have to know the game inside and out and be able to teach, motivate and get the most results out of your players and team.  Grinders, catchers, utility players, bottom-end starters and middle relievers are the ones that had to fight for every day, week, month and season to be kept on a major league roster.  Being able to squeeze maximum results out of limited ability often as a player will lead to success as a future coach or manager.  Or so the theory goes.

Take some of today’s active big league managers.  From Mike Scoscia, to Bud Black, John Farrell, Joe Girardi, and Ozzie Guillen among others, we see a list of managers that had long-lasting playing careers but were never hall-of-fame material.  The above list of managers got by as players on smarts, craftiness, effort and getting the most out of their abilities.  The same characteristics these men had as players, they are now forging for their respective teams as big league managers.  While superstar players turned into managers have and will continue to exist, like Pete Rose and Ryne Sandberg for example, they are the exception rather than the norm.  Part of the reason could be that role type players just make better managers.  Other reasons could be that superstars with their lifetime playing career incomes do not have the desire to take on manager and coaching roles with little financial reward.  Superstars are also less likely to take the busses and go back to the minors to work their way back to the majors.  The end result though is that in most cases, it will take a certain breed of ex-players to manage and coach in the minors after their playing careers are finished.

As of the 2011 season, I have prepared a list of ex-MLB players who can be found coaching and managing in the minors.  I have based this list on the better known players for reference sake.  Each person on the list has their organization, level and position noted.  If nothing else, this list will serve as a wonderful walk down memory lane to remember some of our favorite players from the past and find where they are managing or coaching currently.

Our noted coaches and managers in the minors are as follows: (Note SS= Short Season, Rookie= Rookie level)

Paul Abbott – SS Pitching Coach (Red Sox)

Edgardo Alfonzo – Rookie Coach (Astros)

Wally Backman – AA Manager (Mets)

Damon Berryhill – Rookie Manager (Dodgers)

Willie Blair – Low A Pitching Coach (Padres)

Ricky Bones – AAA Pitching Coach (Mets)

D.J. Boston – Rookie Coach (Braves)

Jeff Branson – AAA Coach (Pirates)

Jerry Browne – AAA Coach (Nationals)

Tom Browning – Rookie Pitching Coach (Reds)

Tom Brunansky – AA Coach (Twins)

Steve Buechele – AA Manager (Rangers)

Dave Burba – SS Pitching Coach (Rockies)

Brett Butler – AAA Manager (Diamondbacks)

Frank Castillo – Rookie Pitching Coach (Cubs)

Phil Clark – High A Coach (Indians)

Gregg Colbrunn – Low A Coach (Yankees)

Scott Coolbaugh – AAA Coach (Rangers)

Brian Daubach – Low A Manager (Nationals)

Chili Davis – AAA Coach (Red Sox)

Storm Davis – Low A Pitching Coach (Rangers)

Steve Decker – AAA Manager (Giants)

Delino DeShields – Low A Manager (Reds)

Rich Donnelly – SS Manager (Mets)

Doug Drabek – High A Pitching Coach (Diamondbacks)

Mariano Duncan – AA Coach (Cubs)

Leon Durham – AAA Coach (Tigers)

Sal Fasano – AA Manager (Jays)

Jeff Fassero – Low A Pitching Coach (Cubs)

Tom Filer – AAA Pitching Coach (Pirates)

Tony Fossas – Low A Pitching Coach (Reds)

Rich Gedman – SS Coach (Red Sox)

Jim Gott – Rookie Pitching Coach (Angels)

Tommy Gregg – AAA Coach (Royals)

Ken Griffey Sr. – High A Manager (Reds)

Brian Harper – AA Manager (Cubs)

Jeff Harris – Low A Pitching Coach (Indians)

Lenny Harris – Low A Coach (Dodgers)

Ron Hassey – High A Manager (Marlins)

Greg Hibbard – SS Pitching Coach (Indians)

Bobby Jones – AAA Manager (Rangers)

Kevin Jordan – Rookie Coach (Phillies)

Pat Kelly – Rookie Manager (Reds)

Terry Kennedy – AAA Manager (Padres)

Steve Kline – Low A Pitching Coach (Giants)

Randy Knorr – AAA Manager (Nationals)

Tim Laker – AAA Coach (White Sox)

Les Lancaster – Rookie Pitching Coach (Phillies)

Tom Lawless – AA Manager (Astros)

Matt LeCroy – High A Manager (Nationals)

Craig Lefferts – High A Pitching Coach (Athletics)

Doug Linton- AAA Pitching Coach (Rockies)

Nelson Liriano – Rookie Manager (Royals)

Dennis Martinez – High A Pitching Coach (Cardinals)

Joe McEwing – AAA Manager (White Sox)

Bob Milacki – AA Pitching Coach (Phillies)

Mickey Morandini – SS Manager (Phillies)

Phil Nevin – AAA Manager (Tigers)

Greg Norton – AAA Manager (Marlins)

Lance Painter – AA Pitching Coach (Mariners)

Phil Plantier – High A Coach (Padres)

Ariel Prieto – Rookie Pitching Coach (Athletics)

Tom Prince – Rookie Manager (Pirates)

Mike Redmond – Low A Manager (Jays)

Jody Reed – Rookie Manager (Dodgers)

Pete Rose Jr. – Rookie Manager (White Sox)

Luis Salazar – High A Manager (Braves)

Ryne Sandberg – AAA Manager (Phillies)

Dick Schofield – Rookie Coach (Angels)

Kelly Stinnett – Rookie Manager (Diamondbacks)

Franklin Stubbs – AA Coach (Dodgers)

Tim Teufel – AAA Manager (Mets)

Bobby Thigpen – High A Pitching Coach (White Sox)

Randy Tomlin – AA Pitching Coach (Nationals)

John Valentin – AAA Coach (Dodgers)

Frank Viola – SS Pitching Coach (Mets)

Matt Walbeck – Low A Manager (Braves)

Pete Walker – AA Pitching Coach (Jays)

Turner Ward – AA Manager (Diamondbacks)

U.L. Washington – Rookie Coach (Red Sox)

Trevor Wilson – Low A Pitching Coach (Angels)

Vance Wilson – Low A Manager (Royals)

Shawn Wooten – Low A Manager (Padres)


From the above list, it will be interesting to see which of these ex-players end up graduating to the big leagues and in what capacity.  Many will find that the road to the show as a player was actually easier than the path as a manager or coach.  We fondly remember many of these individuals for their contributions to the game of baseball on the field.  We look forward to finding out which of them will be able to find similar success in the dugout.


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About Jonathan Hacohen

I practice daily yoga. Most foods are organic. If you catch me in the supermarket, it will be in the produce aisle. Warrior 1 Yoga was born from my wish to help people be healthy and happy. I preach the 4 key's to life: nutrition, exercise, water and sleep. This is my journey - I am hope to meet you along the way to share a similar path!

Posted on May 30, 2011, in MLB Player Profiles, The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. My name is Keith,I am a retired major league baseball groundskeeper now retired,one of my good friends I cannot locate is former Seattle mariners pitcher Raphael Carmona,I sure like to see how he is doing,can you give me an email addre or home address or any imfo on how I can reach him?

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