Buck Rodgers

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Not to be confused with Buck Rogers.
Buck Rodgers
Catcher / Manager
Born: (1938-08-16) August 16, 1938 (age 78)
Delaware, Ohio
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 8, 1961, for the Los Angeles Angels
Last MLB appearance
September 28, 1969, for the California Angels
MLB statistics
Batting average .232
Home runs 31
Runs batted in 288
Managerial record 784–774
Winning % .503
Teams

As player

As manager

As coach

Career highlights and awards

Robert Leroy "Buck" Rodgers (born August 16, 1938) is a former catcher, manager and coach in Major League Baseball. As a manager, he helmed three major league teams: the Milwaukee Brewers (1980–82), Montreal Expos (1985–91) and California Angels (1991–94), compiling a career won-lost mark of 784–773 (.504).

Playing career[edit]

Born in Delaware, Ohio, Rodgers graduated from Prospect High School in 1956 and was a star basketball player as well scoring over 1,700 points in his career and averaging 25 points per game over his Junior and Senior seasons with a high of 55 in 1956. He attended Ohio Wesleyan University and Ohio Northern University. As a player, he signed his first professional contract with the Detroit Tigers and was selected by the Angels in the 1960 MLB Expansion Draft. He was a top defensive catcher and a switch-hitter who played nine major league seasons (1961–69), all with the Angels, compiling a .232 batting average with 31 home runs in 932 games. As a player, Rodgers caught Bo Belinsky's no-hitter on May 5, 1962.[1]

Managerial career[edit]

In between his playing and managing careers, Rodgers served as a coach for the Minnesota Twins (1970–74), San Francisco Giants (1976), and the Brewers (1978–80). He managed in the Angels' farm system in 1975 and 1977. His managerial career was book-ended by unusual circumstances.

Milwaukee Brewers[edit]

He first became manager of the Brewers (then contenders in the American League East Division) on an acting basis at the outset of the 1980 season. He was serving as the club's third-base coach when pilot George Bamberger suffered a heart attack. Rodgers posted a record of 26–21 as acting field boss until Bamberger was able to return June 4. However, with the Brewers treading water under Bamberger with a record of 47–45, the manager stepped down on September 9, 1980, and Rodgers resumed the helm, the team winning 13 of its last 23 games to ultimately finish third. The 1981 campaign was disrupted for six weeks by an in-season players' strike, which caused the major leagues to adopt a split-season format. Rodgers led the Brewers to the best overall record in the AL East at 62–47 and the second half title, but Milwaukee lost the divisional playoff to the New York Yankees, three games to two. It would be Rodgers' only postseason appearance as a manager. In 1982, the Brewers started slowly under Rodgers and he was fired June 1 with the team's record a poor 23–24. The Brewers then caught fire under his successor, batting coach Harvey Kuenn, to finish with 95 wins and went on to win its only AL pennant as "Harvey's Wallbangers."

Montreal Expos[edit]

After guiding the Indianapolis Indians of the AAA American Association to the 1984 regular season championship, Rodgers was promoted to manager of the parent Expos, replacing Jim Fanning. His first six years (198590) in Montreal were largely successful, with the Expos averaging almost 84 wins per season, but when the team faltered in 1991, winning only 20 of its first 49 games, Rodgers was replaced as manager by Tom Runnells on June 2.[2]

California Angels[edit]

He was not out of work long. On August 26, 1991, the Angels fired Doug Rader and hired Rodgers as their new pilot.[3] Buck—still well-known from his playing days in Anaheim—led the Halos to a 20–18 record for the remainder of the campaign, and was 39 games into his first full season as Angel manager in 1992 when a bus carrying the California club was involved in an expressway accident on May 20; Rodgers was seriously injured and missed almost 90 games. He returned late August, but still felt the after-effects of his injuries. Perhaps more damaging, the Angels did not respond to his leadership. They posted a losing mark in the final weeks of 1992, finished 20 games below .500 in 1993, and were only 16–23 on May 16, 1994, when Rodgers was replaced by Marcel Lachemann.

Managerial statistics[edit]

Team From To Regular season record Post–season record Ref.
W L Win % W L Win %
Milwaukee Brewers 1980 1982 124 102 .549 2 3 .400 [4]
Montreal Expos 1985 1991 520 499 .510 [4]
California Angels 1991 1992 39 38 .506 [4]
California Angels 1992 1994 101 135 .428 [4]
Total 784 774 .503 2 3 .400

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Preceded by
none
Minnesota Twins bullpen coach
1970-1974
Succeeded by
Charlie Silvera
Preceded by
Herman Starrette
San Francisco Giants pitching coach
1975
Succeeded by
Don McMahon
Preceded by
Harry Warner
Milwaukee Brewers third base coach
1978-1980
Succeeded by
Jimmy Bragan