I was recently going through my Mets minor league binders, looking for cards to scan for my “1980’s Desert Island Binder” project, when I noticed something about the 1981 TCMA Tidewater Tides team set.
Now the 1981 Tides, who were the Mets top farm team at the time, weren’t anything special… they went 70-68 and finished in 3rd place, 17.5 games behind the Columbus Clippers. Looking at the team through 21st Century eyes, though, and you can’t help but notice how many future MLB managers and coaches were on the roster.
Let’s start with the arguably biggest name, managerially: Bruce Bochy
Bochy is wrapping up his 25-year managing career at the end of this season. In 1981, however, he was just a AAA catcher.
One of Bochy’s teammates also put in a number of years as a manger, but Ron Gardenhire has managed the Twins for “only” 13 years and is in his second year managing the Tigers.
Gardenhire would be a September call-up in 1981 and would play in 5 Major League seasons, all of them with the Mets.
Gardy’s long-time pitching coach, Rick Anderson, also played for the 1981 Tides. Anderson is also currently with the Tigers.
Anderson toiled in the Mets farm system for 8 seasons before making his MLB debut in 1986.
Ray Searage has been a Pirates coach since 2010 and is seen by some as one of the best pitching coaches in the Majors.
As a player, Searage pitched for the Mets, Brewers, White Sox and Dodgers, and while pitching professionally from 1976 to 1992, he never spent a full season in the Majors.
Sam Perlozzo managed the Orioles from August, 2005 to June, 2007 and has also put a number of years of Major League service as a third base coach for the Mets, Reds, Mariners, Orioles and Phillies.
As a player, Perlozzo had cups of coffee with the Twins and Padres, and shared a rookie card with Lou Whitaker. He also played a year in Japan with the Yakult Swallows.
Wally Backman had the best playing career of any of these future coaches and managers, playing 14 seasons with 5 teams and winning a World Championship with the 1986 Mets. Backman was hired as the Diamondbacks manager in November 2004 and was fired days later after a number of personal and financial (*ahem*) issues came to light. Backman is currently the manager of the Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League.
Jesse Orosco never coached or managed any teams that I’m aware of, but he pitched in 24 Major League seasons and he’s a favorite of mine so I’m sneaking him in here.