Sunday, April 25, 2010

Retro Mariner Sunday 4/25/10

Time to jump in the time machine and look back at another former Mariner. This one goes way back to the second year of the franchise. He has spent time in the organization as a player, coach, and manager. He is the only player that I know of to pull off all three for the team.
After graduating from Union High School in Anderson, CA Bill attended Shasta Junior College. During his time there he was signed as a free agent by the St. Louis Cardinals. After spending time with the Florida Cardinals of the rookie league, Bill was moved up to the Cedar Rapids Cardinals of the Midwest League in 1965. 1966 saw him move up to the Eugene Emeralds of the Northwest league, and 1967 moved him up again to the Modesto Reds of California League. in November of 1967 Bill was selected by the Chicago Cubs as a Rule 5 draft player. He had to spend the whole year on the Cubs roster or be sold back to the Cardinals. He made his MLB debut as a pinch hitter on April 19, 1968 as a pinch hitter for pitcher Chuck Hartenstein. He unfortunately we was struck out by Hal Gilson. The only other action he would see that year was as a defensive replacement for Randy Hundley on May 12th. In January of 1969, Bill was traded along with Ken Myette and Clarence Jones to the Cicncinnati Reds for submarine pitcher Ted Abernathy.
After spending 1969 and 1970 with the Indianapolis Indians in AAA, Bill was rewarded with a call-up to the Reds at the end of the 1970 season. 1971 again saw him spend the season at AAA Indianapolis with a September call up to the Reds again. From 1972 to 1977 Bill saw limited action as a back-up catcher to a guy you might have heard of: Johnny Bench. Nothing like learning from the best. Nothing better than getting two World Series rings for sitting on the bench. At the end of spring training in 1978, Bill was released by the Reds. He didn't spend much time unemployed. He was signed by the Mariners on April 6, 1978. After spending a short time with the AAA San Jose Missions, he was recalled to play with the Mariners. While only seeing action in 43 games, he had his third best hitting season finishing with a .215 average. In 1979 he was a player manager with the AAA Spokane Indians of the Mariners system. He was released by the Mariners in October of 1979, effectively ending his career as a player.
In 1980, Bill was named the manager of the A San Jose Missions in the M's system. He was moved up to the high A Wausau Timbers in 1981 and managed that team to a league title. 1982 saw the Mariners with a new manager in Rene Lachemann. Lache decided to bring in Bill to be his bullpen coach. He remained in that position until Rene and his staff was fired halfway through the 1983 season. For in 1984 and 1985, he was back to managing in the M's minors with the AA Chattanooga Lookouts. For 1986 and 87 he was promoted to manager of the AAA Calgary Cannons. He remained with the Cannons in 1988 until M's manager Dick Williams was fired and Bill was brought in to be the third base coach for new manager Jim Snyder. After Snyder left, the Mariners hired Jim Lefebvre to manage the team. Jim retained Bill as his bullpen coach from 1989 until 1991. During 1991Bill also spent time as the third base coach again. After guiding the M's to their first winning season, Lefebvre was let go, and Bill Plummer was named the manger of the Mariners.
Unfortunately 1992 didn't go the way Bill would have liked in the majors. Not only did the team have many injuries, they had a record that was 19 games worse than last year finishing 64-98. The calamities were often that year including presenting a line-up card on April 16th that listed both Pete O'Brien and Tino Martinez as first basemen, meaning there would be no DH that day and the pitchers would have to hit. The Mariners ended up losing that day to the White Sox 5-4. After being fired and replaced by Lou Piniella, he was named the bullpen coach of the expansion Colorado Rockies by manager Don Baylor.
After spending 1993 and 94 with the Rockies, he was hired as manager of the AA Jacksonville Suns in the Detroit Tigers organization in 1995. He was replaced on June 20th of 1996 by Larry Parrish. He was named the manager of the Billings Mustangs on July 26, 1996. From 1997 to 1999, Bill managed the Chico Heat of the independent Western League. In his first year with the Heat, he guided them to a league title. For 2000 and 2001, he was the manager of the Yuma Bullfrogs of the Western League. 2002 saw Bill become the manger of the A Lancaster JetHawks of the California League in the Arizona Diamondbacks system. He then moved down to the Yakima Bears of the Northwest League to manage in 2003 and 2004. In 2005, he moved back up to manage Lancaster again. The next year was similar to a player where Bill made the progression to AA Tennessee to manage the Smokies in 2006. the progression continued in 2007, with Bill now managing the AAA Tucson Sidewinders. After managing the Sidewinders in 2007 and 2008, he moved on to be the minor league catching coordinator for the Diamondbacks. In 2010, he currently still holds that position with the D-backs.

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