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Billy Gardner Jr. Returns to Blue Rocks

January 12, 2004 - Carolina League (CarL) - Wilmington Blue Rocks News Release

WILMINGTON, DE —– The Kansas City Royals and Wilmington Blue Rocks have announced that Billy Gardner Jr. will return for his second season as the field manager of the Blue Rocks for the 2004 Carolina League season. Gardner, 37, guided the Blue Rocks to an 80-60 record and second-half Northern Division title in 2003, his first season as a manager in the Kansas City Royals farm system. The Blue Rocks will welcome two new coaches to Gardner’s staff in 2004. Charles “Boots” Day will take over the duties as hitting coach for the Blue Rocks replacing Terry Bradshaw, who was promoted to Triple-A Omaha (PCL) to serve in the same position. Reggie Jackson joins the Royals organization, serving as the Blue Rocks pitching coach.

Gardner begins his 10th season as a field manager in the minor leagues and his second with the Royals organization in 2004. Wilmington advanced to the Northern Division Championship Series and was swept, two games to none, by the Lynchburg Hillcats in 2003.

The Waterford, CT native spent eight years (1995-2002) as a manager in the Boston Red Sox organization, including two seasons with the Trenton Thunder (EL) in 2001-02.

“I'm looking forward to another season in Wilmington,” said Gardner, from his home in Naples, FL. “Wilmington is a first class operation with a winning tradition. I am very fortunate to have the opportunity to manage at one of the best stops in all of minor league baseball.”

Gardner graduated from Waterford (CT) High School in 1984 and attended Mitchell Junior College (New London, CT). The former first baseman was selected in the 50th round of the 1987 June Draft by the Kansas City Royals. He played for two seasons in the Royals farm system before retiring.

As a manager, Gardner was named the 1998 Midwest League Manager of the Year and was the recipient of the Red Sox Edward F. Kenney Player Development Award.

Prior to his managerial days, Gardner spent time as a coach with the Butte Copper Kings (1994), High Desert Mavericks (1993), St. Lucie Mets (1992) and the Pittsfield Mets (1990-91). He was also a coach for the University of Hartford Hawks in 1989.

Gardner’s father, Billy Gardner Sr., managed the Minnesota Twins from 1981-85 and for part of the 1987 season with the Kansas City Royals.

Gardner Jr. was officially named as Wilmington’s sixth full-time manager in the club’s 11-year history on December 6, 2002. He lives in Naples FL with his wife, Kristie, and their three children Joshua, Jaycie, and Abbie Danielle.

Former major league outfielder Charles Frederick "Boots" Day joins the Kansas City Royals organization and will serve as Wilmington’s hitting coach and first base coach in 2004. The Ilion, NY native served as a special instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2002 and 2003.

Day served as the hitting and first base coach for the Memphis Red Birds (Pacific Coast League) from 1999-2001. He joined the St. Louis organization as a coach at Prince William, the Cardinals Single-A Carolina League affiliate, in 1998. Day joined the Cardinals after spending two seasons in the Cleveland Indians farm system. He coached at Triple-A Buffalo (American Association) in 1996 and Single-A Kinston (Carolina League) in 1997. Prior to that, he had scouted for Kansas City, the New York Yankees and the Detroit Tigers, and managed Detroit's rookie-level Bristol, VA, club in 1982-83.

Day was originally signed by the St. Louis Cardinals as an amateur free agent in 1966. He made his major league debut with the Cardinals on June 15, 1969 against the Houston Astros. He was traded by the Cardinals to the Chicago Cubs on December 4, 1969 for Rich Nye. He split the 1970 season with the Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos following a trade to Montreal from Chicago for Jack Hiatt on May 12, 1970. Day spent five of his six major league seasons with the Expos and enjoyed his best season in 1971 when he had 105 hits and hit .283 with four home runs and 33 RBI.

Day resides in Ballwin, MO and has two daughters, Kori and Tara.

Reggie Jackson also joins the Kansas City organization for the 2004 season and will serve as Wilmington’s pitching coach. Jackson, who joins Kansas City from the Montreal Expos organization, served as the pitching coach for the Savannah Sand Gnats (South Atlantic League) in 2003 and the Clinton Lumber Kings (Midwest League) in 2002. He replaces Bill Slack, who served as Wilmington’s pitching coach for two seasons.

Jackson served as the head coach of Hofstra University from 1996-2001. He served as the regional supervising scout for the New York Mets from 1988-93. Jackson played four seasons in the Mets minor league system (1982-85), including the 1983 season with the Carolina League champion Lynchburg Mets.

“I do not know Boots Day or Reggie Jackson on a personal level,” said Gardner. “I've heard very good things about both of them. Boots has been in baseball for some time and has worked at the major league level. Reggie is the son of Al Jackson. Al was a major league pitcher and pitching coach, so he comes from good stock.”

Jackson, who received his BA in Health Care Administration from Fisk University, lives in Dix Hills, NY with his wife, Valerie, and two children, Wesley and Kyle.

The Wilmington Blue Rocks open the 2004 Carolina League season on Thursday, April 8 at Myrtle Beach. The Rocks open up at Frawley Stadium on Friday, April 16 against the Salem Avalanche. For ticket information, please contact the Wilmington Blue Rocks ticket office at (302) 888-BLUE or order tickets online at www.bluerocks.com.


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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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