In the late 80s, Wally World was all the rage in southern California. First baseman Wally Joyner took the California Angels by storm, hitting 56 home runs and knocking in 217 runs in his first two seasons. Now, Joyner is concentrating his post-career efforts on passing along the tricks of his 16-year trade.
The Philadelphia Phillies announced Monday that they've retained Joyner's services as assistant hitting coach to newly hired Steve Henderson. The move completes the final turn on the Phillies offseason coaching carousel. After firing first base coach Sam Perlozzo, bench coach Pete Mackanin and hitting coach Greg Gross, the Phillies promoted Ryne Sandberg from Triple-A manager to third base coach with the big club. They promoted Triple-A pitching coach Rod Nichols to the Phillies' bullpen coach. The hiring of Henderson to replace Gross came with the stipulation that the Phillies would hire him an assistant.
Three major league clubs, the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres and St. Louis Cardinals, have established a two-headed hitting coach system. Phillies' general manager Ruben Amaro, Jr. studied the system this season and liked its merits.
It's unclear whether Henderson and Joyner will come up with a consistent message on how the Phillies want their players to approach at bats, or whether they'll employ their own methods and have the individual players decide which message they're more comfortable with. Henderson has been the Phillies' hitting coordinator for the past two seasons so many of the younger Phillies' players are familiar with him.
It's possible Henderson will concentrate his efforts on young bats like Dominic Brown, Darin Ruf, Freddy Galvis and Erik Kratz. Understanding the art of hitting in the majors for well over a decade, while making adjustments offensively as you get older, Joyner may work more closely with veterans like Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins and Carlos Ruiz, as well as any new talent the Phillies will undoubtedly pursue in free agency.
Pete Lieber is a freelance writer and a Philadelphia sports enthusiast. Follow him on Twitter at @Lieber14.
the sports xchange
- Sports & Recreation
- Wally Joyner
- Steve Henderson
- Pete Mackanin