COMMENTARY | Derek Jeter and Curtis Granderson may be on the disabled list, but the New York Yankees will be well represented at the All-Star Game this year. Thursday, the managers for the game announced their coaching staffs for the July 16 contest at Citi Field and their lists included seven former Yankees.
National League manager Bruce Bochy (San Francisco Giants) announced that he's bringing most of his own coaching staff to Citi Field, including four ex-Yankees:
- Pitching coach Dave Righetti was a fan favorite in the Bronx from 1981, when he won the American League Rookie of the Year award as a starting pitcher, through 1990, six years after manager Billy Martin had converted him to a reliever. In 1986, Righetti recorded 46 saves, then a single-season record.
- First base coach Roberto Kelly played for the Yankees from 1987 through 1992. Kelly put up All-Star numbers in his final year in New York but will be remembered most for the trade that sent him to Cincinnati in exchange for Paul O'Neill.
- Hitting coach Joe Lefebvre was drafted by the Yankees in the third round of the 1977 draft and played for the 1980 Yankees that lost to the Kansas City Royals in the American League Championship Series before being part of a package of players sent to the San Diego Padres for Jerry Mumphrey.
- Hitting coach Hensley Meulens was a much-hyped Yankees prospect before being called up in 1989. "Bam Bam" played parts of five seasons for the Yankees but never played up to his potential. Since then, he's played in Japan, managed the Dutch team that made it to the 2013 World Baseball Classic semifinals, and trained as an astronaut for a commercial space tourism program in his native Curacao.
Meanwhile, American League manager Jim Leyland (Detroit Tigers) is bringing along three former Yankees, including two currently servings on Leyland's coaching staff:
- Chicago White Sox manager Robin Ventura spent 2002 and part of 2003 with the Yankees. Ventura was named to the 2002 All-Star team as a Yankees and finished the season that year with 27 home runs.
- Tigers assistant hitting coach Toby Harrah played 1 of his 17 years in the major leagues with the Yankees - for the Yogi Berra-led 1984 squad that finished third in the American League East.
- Tigers third base coach Tom Brookens, who played for the Tigers from 1979 through 1988, spent 1989 as a utility infielder for a Yankees team that finished 74-87.
Howard Z. Unger is a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. For the past 15 years, he has written about sports, media, and popular culture. His work has appeared in The Village Voice, New York Post, and New York Times.
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