BEST OF BOTH
by Editor Rick
Sacramento has seen a number of major league baseball managers come through its ranks.
Most notable is three-time National League Manager of the Year, Dusty Baker (Del
At one time several years ago,
we could boast of five managers in the big leagues at the same time: Baker, Larry Bowa, Jerry
Manuel, Buck Martinez and Jerry Royster. All played at the major league level and wound their
way through the minor league coaching ranks until they earned the top spot in the
Richardson has always dreamed of one day holding such a position. Heck, he’d be
tickled pink just to coach from a major league dugout. He realizes the dream is a long shot,
seeing how he started as a high school coach in Sacramento.
Richardson managed three high
school programs, beginning with San Juan (1982-90), Del Campo (1996-2002) and most recently
Bella Vista (2005-2008). He frequently took his squads to the Division I and II playoffs and
produced some of the most funamentally sound players to come through the high school
It was at Bella Vista where
RIchardson coached two future pro pitchers, Tyler and Charlie Robertson. Their father Jay Robertson, an
to the Texas Rangers' general manager, was impressed with Richardon’s coaching techniques and
drills. The Rangers dispatched scouts to watch Bella Vista’s practices. The Texas Rangers
were impressed and hired Richardson to manage their Arizona League short season team from
2008-2009, where he went 59-53.
(courtesy of Hickory Crawdads)
Bill a promotion to manage the Hickory Crawdads in the South Atlantic League from 2010-2012,
where he again led teams to the playoffs and had an overall mark of 228-187. At that
level, player development holds the most importance, but clubs like to see their low level
players achieve team success, and Richardson succeeded in both
During this past off-season,
Texas offered Richardson another tour at Hickory. But Bill was ready “for a new challenge.”
Plus, North Carolina is three time zones removed from the West Coast, and he (and his wife
Lindy, a local school teacher) wanted to relocate somewhere closer to home.
Richardson accepted “the best
of four offers” and joined the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim minor league staff as manager of
the Orem Owlz (Rookie Season, Pioneer League). The new position came with an added bonus:
Richardson was invited to join the Angels spring training camp, and will serve as a roving
instructor/replacement manager for the 10 weeks preceding Orem’s short season start in
His first shot as a replacement
started at the top with Salt Lake City (Pacific Coast League), when manager Keith Johnson took
five days of bereavement leave. “We didn’t do so well (1-4),” Richardson chuckles. “Still, it
was a great experience,” he said from his Sacramento home.
Next up are a couple of Midwest
assignments to watch several low-level minor league prospects who are struggling. “They (the
organization) want a different set of eyes (to watch the prospects). So, you go and troubleshoot
a little bit,” Richardson says of his assignment. “Makes for interesting work.
“It’s the best of both worlds.
I get to see affiliates in different parks. Then on June 15, get my own team (Orem) and push
hard until September 10.” Lindy Richardson, as she has done in the past, will join her husband
for parts of the summer in Utah, traveling with the club and seeing ballgames. She’s used to it,
as she faithfully followed all of Bill’s high school teams (we can attest, as our son Alexander
played two years for Bill at Del Campo).
Asked if the two clubs (Rangers
and Angels) have marked differences or philosophies, Richardson notes that both organizations
start with solid foundations which have produced high ratings for player development. They work
off of “the individual,” Richardson says, so “they don’t try to ‘cookie-cut’ everybody
When prodded for an example of
differences, he offers that Anaheim has a reputation for running the bases well, a compliment
often attributed to manager, Mike Scioscia. In Anaheim, they refer to this part of the game as
In spring training, “if a guy
flies out, he rounds the base correctly. I haven’t seen that every place I’ve gone,” Richardson
says. “It’s ingrained in them to cut that corner quick. They don’t run toward right field.
Everything they do is crispy, especially on the base paths.” He isn’t sure whether Scioscia
originated this philosophy within the Angels organization, but “he will get after you if you
During his five years managing
minor league baseball, Richardson can attest that the daily routine truly is “a grind.” With all
the travel, usually by bus, there’s precious little personal or “down time.”
“The concentration that it
takes to do your job, especially on days when you don’t’ feel right, is very difficult,” he says
of the challenge facing minor league players.
Richardson always started with disclipline and helped to instill a solid work
ethic, which is critical to suceeding in the professional ranks, observes Pat
Gomez (San Juan High 1986) from his real-world post as used car manager for
Turner Volvo and owner of PMG Consultants specializing in automotive sales. Gomez
played for and coached with Richardson before and after his pro career (which ended with the
San Francisco Giants in 1995 following an ankle injury).
in (to pro ball), if you understand that this game is a
privilege to play it, I think it changes the metric mentally. And I think that is something Bill is
good at instilling in these kids.”
Richardson, 52, realizes he may
not achieve his dream of “getting into a major league dugout.” Some air was released from that
balloon when he spoke with Clint Hurdle, manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates about the possibility
of someday joining his staff.
Hurdle told him, “Bill, I have
a hard enough time explaining how I’m running this team, let alone trying to explain why I’ve
got a high school coach in the dugout.” Richardson laughs at this anecdote about Hurdle.
In the meantime, Bill’s happy
where he is at now: “Everyday, I’m seeking knowledge of baseball. See America on someone else’s
dime. When it comes to playoff time, I’m right in the middle of them. So, it’s pretty
Richardson says he’ll know when
it’s time to quit pursuing the dream: “When the wife says it’s time to come
Bill Richardson, shown in his former Hickory hat in front of
the logo of his new team, Orem Owlz
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