FanGraphs Baseball


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  1. A thought that just popped into my head: It’s likely that star hitters/pitchers do not become hitting and pitching coaches because their success meant they were well compensated during their playing career, and don’t need/want to stick around the game for which is surely a moderate salary at best.

    Comment by Cus — January 18, 2013 @ 12:48 pm

  2. Thinking along the same basic lines, but off in a different direction.. the marginal pitchers became better coaches due to the fact that they had to rely on study, research, film, work habits more than talent. The talented players/pitchers have been told that their talent will carry them thru most anything, and as a result may not have done the research etc that translates to the coaching career.

    Same premise holds for hitters turned hitting coaches.

    Comment by Cidron — January 18, 2013 @ 1:08 pm

  3. Say that to hitting coaches mcgwire or chili davis. And then there is bonds, who wants to be a HC but is blacklisted by MLB. Money isn’t likely to be a huge motivator for the coaches, money is likely more of an ego thing than anything else. Realize that love of the game and teaching ability probably aren’t the best indicator of success, and are likely evenly distributed among the various talent levels. There are many, many more former players of low talent level than former superstars, and hence more coaches from the pool with more numbers.

    I’ll also add that you can find many more star players that end up as Managers than HC/PC, and again I think this probably has more to do with ego than their enhanced ability to lead men over players who didn’t make it big. From anecdotal stories you hear about contract disputes with coaches, the moderate salary itself isn’t the problem – instead it’s that their head has gotten too big and they want a high salary for status reasons.

    Comment by AK7007 — January 18, 2013 @ 1:17 pm

  4. I wonder if it’s really true that the stars study less though. I know Manny Ramirez was well known for his work ethic towards hitting, and Tony Gwynn was one of the first big-name proponents of video research.
    I don’t remember any anecdotes off hand for pitchers, but Maddux was always referred to as a student of the game, so I assume he was probably watching a lot of video.

    Comment by JayT — January 18, 2013 @ 2:06 pm

  5. Star players may also get more lucrative post-career opportunities. Becoming a broadcaster or television personality pays a lot better than coaching (presumably).

    Comment by Krog — January 18, 2013 @ 3:13 pm

  6. Whoa!

    Comment by Johnny Hummusbeard — January 18, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

  7. It’s not that they work less, it’s that it’s probably harder to verbalize the things that they can pick up or do on due to their own innate talents.

    Comment by SDM — January 18, 2013 @ 3:57 pm

  8. Not quite meaning to say that they dont to the little things like filmwork etc. At least that is not the message I was trying to convey. I was more trying to say that they have more ability to lean on the talent to get them thru. They may listen to the coaches etc but, the message may not sink in as much as one who HAS to rely on coaches.

    Think A-Rod vs Eckstein. One has a world of talent and largely found success based on it (along with all the other little things). One, is very dependent on the little things and that stuff sinks in more because he can’t rely on talent alone to carry him thru. But, they both did find success and both have had decent length careers.

    Comment by Cidron — January 18, 2013 @ 5:16 pm

  9. Interesting. Looks like 4 pitchers had what you would call successful careers as pitchers.
    Others are just good at helping pitchers, discerning flaws, making suggestions in arm angle, release point, trying different pitch, etc.

    Hope there is a plan to do the hitting coaches at a later date.

    Comment by big papi's pharmacist — January 18, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

  10. umm, first main paragraph already stated that they did such a thing.. hitters to hitting coaches.

    Comment by Cidron — January 18, 2013 @ 9:58 pm

  11. I know it’s not the only factor, but probably the biggest reason that more marginal players become coaches is that there are more marginal players, in general, than stars. Sheer weight of numbers.

    Comment by Ian R. — January 19, 2013 @ 9:11 am

  12. I’d like to see Gaylord Perry get a gig as a pitching coach – that’d be interesting…

    Comment by Westside guy — January 20, 2013 @ 7:34 pm

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