Trainers, announcers, writers and, of course, coaches are just a handful of baseball types who work hard every day to try and get to the opportunity to ply their trade on the biggest stage available to them.
After a near three-decade climb, Arnie Beyeler realized his dream when manager John Farrell called upon him to become the Red Sox new first base coach prior to the 2013 season.
“For me, putting 26 years in the minor leagues and finally getting an opportunity to go to the big leagues and getting to watch what happened this year, you couldn’t have story-booked it any better from that standpoint,” said Beyeler. “We won [the Governor’s Cup] in Pawtucket [in 2012] and to win again this year was a lot of fun. It was a special season.”
Beyeler had spent two seasons as the Pawtucket Red Sox manager, leading the team to back-to-back playoff appearances and their first International League Governors’ Cup Championship in 18 years, before receiving the call from Farrell.
“I had the opportunity the last three or four years to tell guys that they were going to the big leagues,” said Beyeler. “I never got that feeling being a career minor league guy, so when [Farrell] told me [to come to Boston], it was really nice to get that experience and have all those feelings.”
That 26 year minor league trek of Beyeler’s started as a player when he signed with the Detroit Tigers in 1986 after graduating from Wichita State University.
He methodically made his way up the ladder, mixing in a couple of 20 stolen base seasons and some sure-handedness in the middle of the infield, before calling it a day in 1991, having made it as far as Triple-A Toledo.
He remained with the Tigers organization as an area scout in Florida for the next five seasons before making the move to the coaching realm within the Yankees organization.
In 2000, Beyeler received his first managerial gig with the Boston Red Sox Short Season Single-A affiliate, the Lowell Spinners.
“It all started out managing for me [in Lowell] and getting the chance to come over with the old regime,” said Beyeler, who was recently honored by the Spinners with the Dick Berardino Alumni Award.
"Arnie is perhaps the most deserving honoree in the award's history," said Spinners General Manager Tim Bawmann. "He truly represents the dedication to achieve success at the highest level."
Beyeler, reminiscing about his time in Lowell added, “I got to be around some good players over here with Kevin Youkilis and Freddie Sanchez. Dick Berardino, it’s his award, and he helped me out along the way. He was here when I was here managing and helped with everything. He’s been a good mentor along the way.
“The whole experience was great when I was [in Lowell]. It was still a new franchise back then, it was 4 or 5 years old, we were in the playoff race most of the year (2000) until Freddie got moved up. It was a lot of fun and was a great experience for me.”
Beyeler spent two seasons with Lowell and another managing the Red Sox Low-A affiliate in Augusta before joining the Texas Rangers organization where he served as manager of their High-A teams in Stockton and Bakersfield over three seasons.
After spending 2005 as a hitting coach with San Diego’s Double-A affiliate, the Mobile BayBears, Beyeler rejoined the Red Sox at the same level, coming back to manage the Portland Sea Dogs, a position he would hold for four seasons.
“That’s what it’s all about for me… getting guys to the next level and helping them along,” said Beyeler. “We all had our chances when we were players and now I’m fortunate I get a chance to do what I do and be around some of the best athletes in the world. That kind of beats working for a living.”
After finally making it to the majors, Beyeler was rewarded with one of the more exciting and unexpected regular and postseason runs that Boston had ever witnessed.
The World Series championship gave him a new perspective on the game and extended his season much longer than any in the past, something he would welcome every year from here on out.
“Being in the minor leagues so long, I’m used to coming up [to Boston] in September, kind of hanging out and enjoying myself, and then going home,” said Beyeler. “[In 2013] you worked that extra month and now by the time I get home and get settled, it’s time to get back to work again. It’s a great problem to have.
“I don’t know if it’s really sunk in or not, but it was a magical season. Hopefully we’ll get to do it again a few more times before I get done with this.”
Photo credit - Barry Chin/Boston Globe
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