Buck Showalter didn’t know Dave Wallace well. He’ll get to know him much better in the coming season. The Orioles named Wallace, who’s spent the last four seasons as the Atlanta Braves’ minor league pitching coordinator as their new pitching coach on Tuesday afternoon.
The 66-year-old Wallace, who’s been the pitching coach for four major league clubs including the Boston Red Sox when they won the World Series in 2004, beat out three other candidates for the job.
“We’re very lucky to get him,” Showalter said. “He’s one of the two or three pitching coaches you hear people talk about.”
Showalter doesn’t spend time talking with pitching coaches, but knew of Wallace’s reputation.
“His track record speaks for itself,” Showalter said.
Wallace spent 20 years in the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization, three as major league pitching coach. He also spent two years with the New York Mets. In 2000, his second year as pitching coach, the Mets went to the World Series.
During his four years with the Boston Red Sox, they won the 2004 World Series, and he’s also coached for the Houston Astros.
“I’ve known him from afar,” Showalter said. “Wherever he’s gone, he’s always impacted the staff.”
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has never worked with Wallace, but likes him.
"He's a real pro. He's an excellent teacher. His starters pitch a lot of innings, and they keep the ball in the ballpark," Duquette said. ''He helps young pitchers. He helps veteran pitchers."
Wallace’s experience helping mold playoff teams and working with young pitchers is impressive to Showalter.
“It’s very obvious watching the playoffs what we need to do,” Showalter said.
Wallace beat out former Philadelphia Phillies pitching coach Rich Dubee, Seattle pitching coach Carl Willis and Texas bullpen coach Andy Hawkins, all of whom impressed the Orioles.
“It was very close,” Showalter said of the competition. “I loved the other guys, too.”
Wallace replaces Rick Adair, who left the team for personal reasons in mid-August. Bill Castro, who moved from the bullpen when Adair left, may be considered as Wallace’s bullpen coach.
“I’m going to let Dave have a lot of input on the selection of the bullpen coach,” Showalter said.
Duquette was especially impressed with the job Wallace did with the Braves' organization.
"His work shows how passionate he is," Duquette said.
Wallace pitched in 13 major league games in the 1970’s with Philadelphia and Toronto.