October 21, 2010 - Midwest League (MWL) - West Michigan Whitecaps
COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps, in conjunction with the Detroit Tigers, announced the Whitecaps' 2011 coaching staff today. New to the organization are manager Ernie Young and hitting coach Ben Oglivie; while pitching coach Mark Johnson returns for his fourth season with the Whitecaps.
The 41-year-old Young, a resident of Scottsdale, AZ and native of Chicago, is quickly building an impressive managerial resume. Following an 18-year playing career as an outfielder, he was hired in 2008 by the Chicago White Sox to serve as hitting coach for Great Falls in the rookie Pioneer League. That team posted a 39-37 record and won the league championship. In 2009 he was promoted to manager of the Kannapolis Intimidators of the South Atlantic (low-Class A) League, and in his first season as manager he led the team to a league-best 82-57 record before losing in the first round of the playoffs. He returned to the Intimidators in 2010 and racked up a 65-74 record.
Following the 2010 minor league season, Young managed Team USA at the Pan American Qualifier tournament that was held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in early October. He guided Team USA to a 9-1 record and third-place tie. By finishing in the top 6, Team USA earned a spot in both the 2011 Pan American Games and the 2011 IBAF Baseball World Cup. Team USA is made up of players that are not currently on 40-man major league rosters.
Previously, Young was hitting coach for the gold medal 2009 World Cup team, and as a player for Team USA, won the gold medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics (the same Olympic team that had former Whitecaps manager Phil Regan as pitching coach).
Young began his playing career in 1990, when the Oakland A's drafted the outfielder in the 10th round out of Lewis University in Illinois. He made his Major League debut in 1994, and in 1996 he was the A's everyday center fielder, batting .242 with 19 home runs and 64 RBI. He saw action in 71 games for Oakland in 1997, and then was purchased by Kansas City in 1998, where he saw action in 25 games. In 1999 he signed with Arizona and played most of the season at AAA Tucson; he playing in six major league games for the Diamondbacks. He played at the AAA level for three different organizations over the next three years, and headed to Japan for part of the 2002 season. In 2003 he was signed by the Tigers and played in Toledo for most of the season, getting the call to Detroit for five games. He had one more appearance in the majors, with Cleveland in 2004, before retiring after the 2007 season. In all, he played in 288 games over 8 seasons for five different teams in the majors and in 1680 games over 17 seasons in the minors.
Young expressed his excitement about coming to West Michigan. "I'm excited for the opportunity to be back in the Detroit Tigers organization and I'm looking forward to being back in the Midwest," he said. "I can't wait to get the 2011 season started, and lead the Whitecaps to another successful season."
Detroit Tigers Director of Minor League Operations Dan Lunetta concurred. "We are very fortunate and excited to have someone of Ernie's caliber as a member of the Tigers organization, and we are thrilled to have the opportunity for him to start his Tigers managing career in West Michigan," Lunetta said. "He will be an outstanding addition to our organization and to the Whitecaps."
Young replaces Joe DePastino as Whitecaps manager. After three years at the helm of the Whitecaps, DePastino has been named Tigers minor league roving catching instructor.
Oglivie, a native of Panama, played left field for 16 seasons in the Major Leagues: with the Boston Red Sox (1971-1973), Detroit Tigers (1974-1977), and the Milwaukee Brewers (1978-1986). He also played two seasons in Japan for the Kintetsu Buffaloes (1987-1988). As a Brewer in 1980, Oglivie hit 41 home runs to tie for the league lead with Reggie Jackson. In the process he became the first non-American born player to lead the league in home runs. He was a three-time AL All-Star.
Oglivie is a veteran hitting coach, starting his career with Class AAA Calgary (Pittsburgh) in 1995 and coaching at every level of the minor leagues for three organizations - the Pirates, Padres and Rays. He also served as a major league hitting coach for the San Diego Padres in 2000. Oglivie replaces Luis Quinones, whose contract was not renewed by the Tigers.
Johnson enters his fourth season as the Whitecaps pitching coach and fifth in the Tigers organization. The 35-year-old Johnson was a first-round draft pick by the Astros in 1996 and pitched for nine seasons in six different organizations. He spent the majority of his playing career in the Tigers organization (2000-2003, 2005), including his lone Major League appearance in 2000, pitching in nine games for Detroit. Johnson lives in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The Tigers also announced that T.J. Saunders will be the Whitecaps Athletic Trainer in 2011, replacing Corey Tremble, who will handle training duties in Lakeland.
The Whitecaps will begin the 2011 home season on Sunday, April 10 against Lansing at 1 p.m. Season tickets and mini plans go on sale next Tuesday, Oct. 26, and group tickets go on sale on Friday, Nov. 19. Individual tickets will go on sale after the new year. For more information, please the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131.