The Pensacola Blue Wahoos will open up play with some big league flavor. Experienced Major League manager Jim Riggleman will head the Blue Wahoos coaching staff in 2012. Next to him on the bench will be hitting coach Tony Jaramillo and pitching coach Tom Brown.
“We are very fortunate to have such an experienced staff for our organization’s first season,” said Blue Wahoos President Bruce Baldwin. “It will be exciting to watch Jim and his entire staff transform a young crop of athletes into Major League class professionals. These men will not only be great for the organization on the field, but they are also going to be outstanding members of the Pensacola community.”
Riggleman takes over at the helm of the Blue Wahoos with 1,486 Major League games managed over 12 seasons with four different clubs. After an eight year playing career in the minor leagues, he began his managerial career in 1983 with the Class-A St. Petersburg Cardinals of the Florida State League. He spent parts of eight seasons managing in the minor leagues before breaking into the Major League ranks with the San Diego Padres. Riggleman owns a record of 1,458-1,661 between stints with San Diego, Chicago (NL), Seattle and, most recently, Washington. This will mark the first time the veteran manager has managed at the minor league level since 1992 when he was the skipper in Las Vegas.
Jaramillo will serve as hitting coach for the Blue Wahoos in their inaugural season. He has served as a coach in the Cincinnati Reds organization since 2008, coaching at a different stop in each of his four seasons. Last season was his second season at the Advanced-A level, but his first season with the Bakersfield Blaze. While there, the Blaze finished second in the California League in hitting with a team average of .282, and they led the league with the fewest strikeouts as a team.
Brown enters his third season as the Double-A pitching coach in the Reds system and his sixth overall with the organization. He spent 2007-2009 with Cincinnati’s Advanced-A affiliate. Prior to joining the Reds system, he spent time as a minor league pitching coach, mostly at the Triple-A level for the Marlins, Giants, Padres and Orioles. As a player, Brown pitched in both the Kansas City and Seattle chains, making six Major League appearances for the Mariners in 1978.
“I’m very excited to get the opportunity to work with both Tom Brown and Tony Jaramillo this year in Pensacola,” said Riggleman. “Tom has put a lot of years in and I’ve heard nothing but great things about the job he has done working with the Reds pitchers. He’s a baseball lifer that has and continues to pay his dues in an unselfish manner to help these young guys get better. His experience with some of our guys and his knowledge of the Southern League should be a big help. At the other end of the spectrum is Tony. He is on the fast track to becoming a great hitting coach. His ability to teach and his workaholic attitude is just what is needed at the AA level to get our guys better. I’m very fortunate to be with these two men.”
The athletic trainer for the Blue Wahoos is Charles Leddon while Jon Berdanier will round out the field staff as the team’s strength coach. This will be Leddon’s sixth season in the Reds system and his second at Double-A.
The Blue Wahoos will open play on the inaugural season on Thursday, April 5 at Blue Wahoos Park.