July 4, 1942 |
Denton, North Carolina
|June 18, 1964 for the San Francisco Giants|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1973 for the New York Yankees|
|Runs batted in||273|
|Career highlights and awards|
Harold Clifton Lanier (born July 4, 1942 in Denton, North Carolina) is a former infielder, coach and manager in Major League Baseball. From 1964 through 1973, Lanier played for the San Francisco Giants (1964–71) and New York Yankees (1972–73). He is the son of Max Lanier, a former MLB All-Star pitcher.
In 1968, Lanier led NL shortstops in putouts (282) and fielding average (.979). After that, he moved from second base to shortstop, and finally to third base. He also played in part of two seasons with the New York Yankees.
In a 10-season career, Lanier was a .228 hitter with eight home runs and 273 RBI in 1196 games played. In each of the three seasons from 1967 to 1969 he ranked last among NL qualifiers in average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage.
Following his playing career, Lanier managed in the minors and served as third base coach for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1981–85, including the 1982 World Series and 1985 National League champion teams. He then went on to manage the Houston Astros from 1986–88 and had a 254-232 win-loss record. In 1986, he was named NL Manager of the Year by the BBWA and TSN for leading the Astros to their first Division Title since 1980 and the best record (96-66) in team history up to that point. A power struggle between Lanier and Astros' general manager Dick Wagner in 1987 eventually lead to Wagner leaving the team.
In 1988, the Astros lost a home game to the San Francisco Giants. As the team prepared to eat the post-game meal, take showers, and go home, they received word they were wanted back on the field. Lanier brought out the batting cage and ordered the team to take batting practice again. Lanier was fired at the end of the season and never returned to Major League Baseball.
In recent years, Lanier has managed in the independent minor leagues. He managed for the Winnipeg Goldeyes in the Northern League for several years, then moved to the Can-Am League to manage the Sussex Skyhawks. While with the Skyhawks, Lanier led the team to the league championship in 2008 over the Quebec Capitales in the Can-Am League Championship Series. He left the Skyhawks following the 2009 season to become manager of the Normal CornBelters. On December 12, 2012, the Yuma Desert Rats of the independent American West Baseball League, announced they had come to terms with Lanier to manage the Desert Rats for the 2013 season.