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Continuing with my journey of looking at coaches responsible for the bright future of the Toronto Blue Jays, I go deeper into the Jays system. This time, we profile the coaches and managers in Dunedin and Lansing. Here we go!
Dunedin Blue Jays (Florida State League- A-Advanced)
Omar Malave- Manager
Malave spent 9 seasons in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system as a player. He has the distinction of playing every position in the field. And, according to BaseballReference.com he even pitched a total of 5.2 innings. His “varied” experience led him to manage in the Blue Jays system at various levels for 21 seasons and counting. In 2010, Malave was the first base coach for the Toronto Blue Jays
Stubby Clapp– Hitting Coach
Firstly, he has the best name I have ever come across in all of baseball. (Honorable mention goes to Coco Crisp). The fixture on the Canadian national team was drafted in 1996 by the St Louis Cardinals and managed to get in 23 games with them in 2001. Canadian baseball fans may remember his contribution against Team USA in the 1999 Pan Am Games where he was the hero. In the 11th inning, he hit a bases loaded single to beat the Americans in the semis. Canada went on to win bronze. Clapp had his number (10) retired by the Memphis Redbirds in 2010. In 2010 he became the hitting coach for the Houston Astros AA team. he also managed Houston’s A team in 2011 & 2012. Clapp became the Dunedin Blue Jays hitting coach in 2013.
Darold Knowles– Pitching Coach
Knowles spent 16 season as a big league pitcher. Between 1965 and 1980, he pitched for Baltimore, Philadelphia, Washington (Senators), Oakland, Chicago Cubs, Texas, Montreal and St Louis. Knowles was an All Star in 1969. In the 1973 World Series (with Oakland) pitched in every game! As a pitching coach, Knowles spent 8 years with the Cardinals. In 1988, he went to the Phillies in the same role. After the 1990 season, he was demoted to the minors.
Lansing Lugnuts (Mid West League-Class A)
John Tamargo– Manager
Drafted in 1973 by the St Louis Cardinals, Tamargo spent 5 seasons with the Cardinals, San Francisco Giants and Montreal Expos appearing in a total of 135 games. He was drafted in the 4 previous years by the Yankees, White Sox, Brewers and Red Sox, but did not sign. Instead he opted to attend Georgia Southern University. Tamargo started his managing career in 1982 and joined the New York Mets organization in 1983. He held various positions with the Mets until 1996. He would go on to manage in the Houston Astros organization. For 5 years, Tamargo was a coach for the Astros big league club. Then he spent two years managing in the Brewers organization and one with the Durham Bulls (the Devil Rays), a season in the Seattle Mariners system. He seems to have had a fair amount of success with championships in 1994 with an Eastern League title and a Pacific Coast League title in 1998.
Ken Huckaby– Hitting Coach
A catcher drafted in 1991 by the Los Angeles Dodgers, Huckaby spent 6 seasons playing for the Arizona Diamondbacks, Toronto Blue Jays, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox. He accumulated 161 games played with a total of 3 HRs, 31 RBI and a slash line of .222/.256/.281. He also managed to play out an 18 year career as a minor leaguer. Many Blue Jays fans might remember the 2003 opening day when Derek Jeter tried to slide in to third where Huckaby was covering the bag and Jeter’s shoulder was dislocated from the ensuing collision. If you need a refresher, here you go.
Vince Horsman– Pitching Coach
Vince was born in my hometown: Halifax, Nova Scotia. We also attended the same school Dartmouth High School, albeit YEARS apart. Go Spartans! He was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in 1984, Horsman played 5 seasons for Toronto, Oakland and Minnesota with a year (1997) in Taiwan. Horsman coached with the Baltimore Orioles for 7 years. He’s been the pitching coach for the Lugnuts since 2009. In 2012, he was inducted into the Nova Scotia Sports Hall of Fame.