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    Maddon recalls Mauch
    10/24/2008


    Gene Mauch is an outstanding manager. Joe Maddon believes that Mauch is one of the best mentors in baseball. Joe Maddon first met Mauch in the 1980s during Mauch's first tour as manager of the California Angels.

    Moreover, Mauch obviously saw something special in the young Maddon, a struggling Minor League catcher who would never make it to the Major Leagues. Now, as Maddon manages the Tampa Bay Rays in the World Series he often recalls many of the lessons Mauch, who died in August 2005, instilled in him.

    Mauch was able to teach how to appreciate the core part of managing.

    "In 1981, 1982, I'd go to Spring Training with the Angels as a grunt. I'd throw batting practice and catch pitchers," Maddon said. "Gene would always want me to throw to the better hitters and really took care of me."

    Meanwhile, outside his office, the Rays were going through their post-mortems engulfed by the huge media contingent. Maddon glanced out through the door, content the situation was in hand. By 1975, Maddon was signed as a free agent catcher by the Angels of Anaheim. He bounced around the Minors for nearly five years before refocusing his career on scouting and ultimately managing. And from 1984 to 1993, he was the Angels' coordinator of the Arizona Instructional League.

    "On occasion, Gene would throw little thoughts at me that stuck,"
    said Maddon.
    "For example, and this one really stands out and has probably helped me the most here, he told me I had created a great atmosphere in the Instructional League in 1984. I had no idea what he was talking about, but he made me stop and think about it. He was talking about relationship building, organizational skills -- all the other outside peripheral things I was doing but didn't realize how important they were," he added.

    In addition to this, Maddon stated that the way he describes Mauch, is that he was dripping with common sense, and Mauch saw the simplest things that most people missed.

    "I can't remember them all, but I know they're in here and part of what I do. Primarily, he was a guy who reduced complexities into simple matters,"
    Maddon adds, tapping on his head.

    Early in his career, Mauch had the bullpens switched at Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium. Instead of having the Phillies bullpen down the foul line from their dugout, he wanted it down the other foul line.

    "So I can look out from the dugout and see the pitchers warming up," he said.

    Furthermore, it was Mauch who perfected the double-switch when he replaced a pitcher. If the pitcher was due up to bat in the next half-inning, he'd put a hitter in that spot so he could bat in the normal spot for the pitcher and not waste the pitcher if a pinch-hitter was needed.

    "The thing that was misconstrued about Gene was that he had such a rough exterior,"
    said Maddon.
    "People thought he was real gruff and not approachable. For me, he was just the opposite. He actually liked my sense of humor. He'd let me in his office all the time and we'd just talk about stuff."

    By 1994, Maddon was promoted as the Angels of Anaheim’s bullpen coach after he spent 12 years in the Minor Leagues as a manager and instructor. A year later, he became first-base coach, was interim manager three times, and was bench coach for 10 seasons before Tampa Bay hired him prior to the 2006 season. He polished his skills under Angels skipper Mike Scioscia, another excellent mentor, the last six years there.

    "Something else he loved was first-pitch breaking balls,"
    remembered Maddon of Mauch.
    "I've always liked that because it can pretty much set up an at-bat in favor of the pitcher. I just know the influence he had on me. The best way I can describe Gene Mauch for me is if he ever said anything I would never challenge the validity of it. You knew it was right."

    Gene Mauch has played a big role in the world of professional baseball. Baseball teams just like the Angels of Anaheim were inspired by Gene Mauch, who has a great mind and passion in baseball.


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