Leo Mazzone

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Mazzone in 2007, as pitching coach of the Baltimore Orioles

Leo David Mazzone (born October 16, 1948 in Keyser, West Virginia) is a former pitcher in minor league baseball and pitching coach in Major League Baseball. He worked with the Atlanta Braves' organization from 1979 to 2005 and was the pitching coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 2006 to 2007.

Early life[edit]

Although Mazzone was born in West Virginia, his family lived on the other side of the Potomac River's north branch in Luke, Maryland. Growing up there, one of his friends was Sam Perlozzo of nearby Cumberland, Maryland, under whom Mazzone would eventually coach for the Baltimore Orioles. Mazzone was even the best man at Perlozzo's wedding.[citation needed]

Playing career[edit]

Mazzone made his professional debut in 1967 with the Medford Giants, a class-A farm team of the San Francisco Giants. In all, he played seven seasons in the Giants organization, reaching as high as the Double-A Amarillo Giants, for whom he played four seasons from 1970 to 1973. He played the next three seasons in the Oakland Athletics chain, reaching Triple-A with the Tucson Toros in 1975. In 1976, he was a player-manager for the class-A Corpus Christi Seagulls. He became their full-time manager the following season.

Coaching career[edit]

Mazzone was the hot tempered manager for the Carolina League Kinston Eagles in 1978. It was the recommendation and contacts of Eagles owner Ray Kuhlman that proved instrumental in Atlanta deciding to take a chance on Mazzone in 1979.[citation needed]

Mazzone has earned a reputation as one of the best pitching coaches in the modern era,[1] having developed and coached perennial all-star pitchers such as Tom Glavine and John Smoltz. Greg Maddux also enjoyed his best seasons under Mazzone. Over the years, a number of pitchers joined the Braves and enjoyed some of their finest seasons under Mazzone only to regress after leaving.[1]

Mazzone's "accidental trademark" is his rocking back and forth while sitting in the dugout. On television broadcasts of Braves games, the camera would often show him rocking back and forth during the game.[1] Mazzone's pitching philosophies state that pitchers should throw more between starts (two sessions instead of one) and be able to throw strikes on the low and outside corner of the strike zone.[1]

After the 2005 season Leo Mazzone took the Baltimore Orioles pitching coach job. On October 12, 2007 the Orioles fired Mazzone with one year left on his contract.[2]

Honors[edit]

He was inducted in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

In his book The Baseball Economist, J.C. Bradbury titles a chapter, "How Good is Leo Mazzone?" Using statistical analysis, he analyzes whether Mazzone had a significant impact upon the pitchers that he coached. The sample is all pitchers who have pitched at least one year under Mazzone and one year under a different pitching coach. Bradbury found that Mazzone lowered the ERA of pitchers by an average of 0.64 points, and that after leaving Mazzone, pitchers' ERA increased by an average of 0.78 points. Bradbury believes that such an impact is deserving of Hall of Fame consideration.[3]

ESPN.com lists him number one on the list of "Top 10 Assistant Coaches of All-Time".[1]

Post-coaching career[edit]

Currently, Mazzone works as a color commentator for Fox and as a co-host on "The Rude Awakening" Morning Show on Atlanta's WCNN-AM.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e E-Ticket: "The Rock of Atlanta"
  2. ^ "Orioles Fire Pitching Coach Leo Mazzone"
  3. ^ Bradbury, J. C., The Baseball Economist

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bruce Dal Canton
Atlanta Braves pitching coach
1990–2005
Succeeded by
Roger McDowell
Preceded by
Ray Miller
Baltimore Orioles pitching coach
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Rick Kranitz