Dale Sveum, the Red Sox third base coach for the last two seasons, was named third base coach for the Milwaukee Brewers today.
“We’re sorry to see Dale go,” said Red Sox manager Terry Francona. “We understand and respect his decision to move on for family reasons, but his professionalism and work ethic will be missed.”
“We are grateful for the contributions Dale made to the success of the Red Sox — on the field and in our clubhouse — over the last two seasons,” said GM Theo Epstein. “We wish him the best with the Brewers.”
“Dale’s leadership, baseball experience, and work ethic commanded tremendous respect from our players, coaching staff and front office for the last two years,” said President/CEO Larry Lucchino. “He will be missed by the Red Sox, but we wish him and his family success and happiness in Milwaukee.”
No replacement has been named although this morning’s Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that “The Boston Red Sox have asked for and received permission to interview first base coach DeMarlo Hale for their third base coach position. Hale managed in the Red Sox farm system before joining the Rangers in 2000. He has been a managerial candidate the past few years and taking the Red Sox job could enhance his visibility.”
Today’s Dallas Morning News also indicates that the Red Sox have asked to speak to the Rangers first base coach about coaching third base for Boston adding “Hale and Red Sox manager Terry Francona were on Jerry Narron’s staff in 2002.”
In Nov. 2003, the Red Sox interviewed Hale for the managerial opening created by Grady Little’s departure and eventually filled by Terry Francona.
Hale, 44, was a widely respected former player and manager in the Red Sox farm system.
According to the Globe’s Bob Hohler in a Nov. 2003 story: “Hale, who interviewed with the Rangers last year for the managerial opening that Buck Showalter filled, would (have) become the first African-American manager in Sox history. He left the Sox organization after the 1999 season when he was passed over for a promotion to Triple-A Pawtucket despite winning Minor League Manager of the Year honors from Baseball America, The Sporting News, and USA Today’s Baseball Weekly for leading Double-A Trenton to a first-place finish in the Eastern League with a record of 92-50.
“Hale managed a number of future Sox players on the ’99 team in Trenton, including Shea Hillenbrand, Tomo Ohka, Sun Woo Kim, and Paxton Crawford, none of whom remain with the organization. The team also included David Eckstein, who won a World Series ring with the Angels in 2002, and Adam Everett, who was traded to the Astros for Carl Everett.
“A 17th-round pick out of Southern University in 1983, Hale played first base and outfield for four seasons in the Sox system, rising as high as Double A before he finished his playing career with a brief stint in Oakland’s system in 1988. From there, Hale ventured into enemy territory, working from 1989-92 as an instructor at the Bucky Dent Baseball School in Florida.
“The Sox hired Hale as a Double-A coach in ’92 and launched his managerial career at Single-A Fort Lauderdale in ’93. He spent three seasons managing Single-A teams, then three more years at Trenton before former GM Dan Duquette hired Gary Jones to manage at Pawtucket in 2000 despite Hale’s outstanding season in ’99. At that, Hale joined the Texas organization, managing their Triple-A affiliate for two years.
“In all, Hale posted a 634-614 record in nine minor league seasons before he joined the Rangers in 2001 as first base coach for manager Jerry Narron. Francona was Narron’s bench coach,” Hohler’s story concluded.
According to yesterday’s Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, the 41-year-old Sveum may be joining former Red Sox manager Grady Little when he joins the Brewers coaching staff. Little is a candidate for the Brewers bench coach position.
Sveum, who returns to the team he first played for when he broke into the major leagues in 1986, played 12 seasons in the big leagues for the Brewers, Phillies, White Sox, Athletics, Mariners, Pirates and Yankees from 1986-99. He batted .236 with 69 home runs and 340 RBIs in 862 games and set career highs with 25 home runs and 95 RBIs in 1987 for Milwaukee. Sveum was originally selected by the Brewers in the first round (25th overall) of the 1982 June Free Agent draft.
“Dale’s experience as a coach and instructor combined with his contribution to the baseball tradition here in Milwaukee make him an ideal fit for this position,” Brewers GM Doug Melvin said in a statement.
A native of Richmond, Calif., Dale and his wife Darlene have two children — daughter Britanne and son Rustin. They currently reside in Scottsdale, Ariz. The Brewers spring training home is in Phoenix, Ariz.
As third base coach in a baseball crazed market, Sveum was no stranger to criticism in Boston. He has been called out by fans who felt he waived runners into unnecessary outs at home plate, and also for holding runners at third base when it appeared he should have sent them in to score.
On July 16, Sveum was booed and blamed, along with catcher Doug Mirabelli, in a 7-4 loss to Randy Johnson and the Yankees. Mirabelli was tagged out going from second to third when Sveum held Kevin Millar at third base after a Bill Mueller single to center with Millar on second and Mirabelli on first.
”It (the booing) doesn’t bother me that much,” Sveum said after the game. ”It’s just the passion of the fans in Boston and it’s a situation we appreciate here. Hey, if it takes the pressure off the players, give all the boos to me.”
In Aug. 2004, Sveum caught additional flack for his aggressive philosophy after watching D-Rays center fielder Rocco Baldelli throw out Dave Roberts for the first out in the ninth inning of a 5-4 loss at Tampa Bay.
“Baldelli hasn’t made a whole lot of good throws,” said Sveum, who might not have known Baldelli led the league in outfield assists in 2003 (14) and had six in 2004. “Obviously he pulled one off tonight. They made a great play. To be honest with you, if we did it the same tomorrow night I’d do the same thing. It’s obviously a situation where you got that kind of speed on the bases and you got a closer (in the game).”
A week later, Sveum caught the ire of Fenway fans when Baldelli threw out runners at the plate on back-to-back at-bats at Fenway Park.
“Rocco Baldelli’s been a pain in my butt,” Sveum said of the Rhode Island-born outfielder at the time. “But, as long as I’m not getting booed for holding people all the time, I’m all right.”
“I guess no publicity is bad publicity and I’ve gotten a lot of publicity,” said Sveum whose decisions to send runners home resulted in four outs at the plate during that bad Aug. stretch in 2004. “There’s no doubt about that.”
“It’s part of the job,” the embattled Sveum said. “Guys are going to make plays sometimes and I’m going to look bad. If those throws (from the opposing outfielders) go two feet left or right, we’re not even having this conversation.”
“You don’t go through 162 games and not get anybody thrown out,” Sveum said. “I’m confident in my decisions, my ability, and my instincts.”
“It’s a no-win situation,” Sveum said about his higly-visible position. “You don’t get credit when you send guys home and they’re barely safe by an inch, but you are going to get chastised when they’re out in a bang-bang play. You don’t get brownie points for sending Pokey (Reese) on an inside-the-park home run.”
The Globe magazine ran a feature story on Sveum in May: He’s Safe… for Now.