Little staying power for Orioles pitching coaches

Little staying power for Orioles pitching coaches
October 28, 2013, 11:00 am
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The Orioles hope to have a new pitching coach sometime this week, perhaps even later today.

There are some good candidates. Rich Dubee coached the Philadelphia Phillies’ pitchers for nine years and won a World Series in 2008.

Carl Willis has coached Cleveland and Seattle for 10 years, and had three Cy Young winners.

Andy Hawkins was a good major league pitcher, and as bullpen coach with Texas, has worked with excellent talent.

Dave Wallace has been the major league pitching coach for four teams, and his 2004 Red Sox staff won the World Series.

The new man will be manager Buck Showalter’s fifth pitching coach. In the last 20 years, there have been 10 Orioles managers, and 13 different pitching coaches.

From 1994-2001, there was a different pitching coach each year, and none has stayed for even four seasons.

Contrast them with Terry Crowley, who was hitting coach from 1999-2010. That was his second run as an Orioles’ coach. An earlier one came from 1985-1988. Crowley has coached under 11 of the 19 Orioles’ managers.

Elrod Hendricks, the longtime bullpen coach was there from 1978-2005 and Sam Perlozzo was third base or bench coach from 1996 until being named manager in Aug. 2005.

Crowley, Hendricks and Perlozzo saw lots of pitching coaches come and go.

Two of them, Mike Flanagan and Ray Miller coached under two different managers. Flanagan worked for Phil Regan in 1995 and Miller in 1998.

Miller, who had a long first run from 1978 until named the Minnesota Twins manager in 1985, worked for Davey Johnson in 1997 and replaced him the next year. He also replaced Mark Wiley in the middle of the 2004 season.

Wiley, who was Cal Ripken Sr.’s pitching coach in 1987 came back to work with Mike Hargrove in 2001 and stayed on under Lee Mazzilli until Miller replaced him in June 2004.

Dick Bosman was Johnny Oates’ pitching coach and lasted three seasons. Others weren’t as lucky.

Pat Dobson (1996), Sammy Ellis (2000) and Bruce Kison (1999) made it through just one season. Kison is still with the organization as a scout.

Leo Mazzone was Perlozzo’s friend and pitching coach. Mazzone began the 2006 season, and was fired after the next season, four months after Dave Trembley replaced Perlozzo.

Mazzone had a high opinion of himself and often a low regard for others. In Aug. 2007, Trembley added Alan Dunn, with whom he had worked with the Chicago Cubs, as bullpen coach. Trembley talked at length how Dunn would work to implement Mazzone’s program.

After Trembley spoke, Mazzone pulled a reporter aside, and said, “What is this new guy’s name?”

Mazzone pouted when Perlozzo was fired. He had left a cushy job in Atlanta for more money, turning down the New York Yankees to work with his childhood friend. It wasn’t a surprise that he was replaced after the season.

Rick Kranitz had worked with Trembley in Chicago, and came for the 2008 season. Kranitz and the other coaches were let go when Buck Showalter arrived. He’s now with Milwaukee.
Mark Connor had a long history with Showalter, and would probably still be with him had health concerns not forced him to resign two months into the 2011 season.

Rick Adair replaced him and stayed slightly more than two years. He left for personal reasons in August, and was replaced by bullpen coach Bill Castro. Castro is not likely to be retained.

Bosman, Flanagan, Dobson, Miller, Kison, Ellis, Wiley, Mazzone, Kranitz, Connor, Adair and Castro. Some well-respected names.

During those two decades, only Hargrove lasted as many as four seasons. Showalter, who has a contract through 2018, is scheduled to pass Hargrove in Aug. 2014. In his three previous managerial stops, he never went beyond four complete seasons.

The pitching coach churning hasn’t extended to all the other members of his coaching staff. While Showalter has also had five third base coaches (Gary Allenson, John Russell, Willie Randolph, DeMarlo Hale and Bobby Dickerson), first base coach Wayne Kirby and hitting coach Jim Presley are set to start their fourth seasons. Russell will also be in his fourth year. After two months at third in 2011, he was moved to the dugout as bench coach.