March 14, 1956 |
|April 9, 1976, for the Minnesota Twins|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 24, 1988, for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||506|
|Career highlights and awards|
Harold Delano "Butch" Wynegar, Jr. (born March 14, 1956) is an American former professional baseball player and the current hitting coach for the Indianapolis Indians Triple A affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played in Major League Baseball as a catcher for the Minnesota Twins, New York Yankees and California Angels.
Wynegar was drafted by the Minnesota Twins in the second round of the 1974 Major League Baseball Draft. In his first season in professional baseball, he batted .346 with eight home runs for the Rookie League Elizabethton Twins. In 1975, Wynegar played for the unaffiliated Reno Silver Sox of the California League, and again batted over .300. (Reno was officially unaffiliated, but had agreements with the Twins and the San Diego Padres to take players on optional assignment from those teams.) The Twins invited him to their Spring training camp in 1976, where he successfully made the team, never having played Double or Triple-A baseball. To date, Wynegar is the only catcher to have ever jumped directly from A-ball to the majors.
Wynegar proved to be adept both behind the plate and batting. His first major league home run was a game-winner off Catfish Hunter on April 18, 1976. Wynegar was batting .294 with six home runs and 37 runs batted in at the 1976 All-Star break to be named to the American League All-Star team his rookie season. He drew a walk in his only at-bat, and became the youngest player at the time to appear in an All-Star Game (20 years, 212 days). For the season, Wynegar had 650 putouts, second in the league behind Jim Sundberg, and batted .260 with ten home runs and 69 RBIs to finished second in the 1976 American League Rookie of the Year balloting to Mark Fidrych, and was named the The Sporting News Rookie of the Year.
Wynegar had six home runs and 47 RBIs at the midpoint of the 1977 season to make his second consecutive All-Star team. He drove in a career high 79 runs for the season, and had established himself as one of the better fielding catchers by leading the American League in baserunners caught stealing with 60, and logging a .993 fielding percentage along with 84 assists, second only to Sundberg. He led the league again in 1979, throwing out 64 baserunners, and once again finished second to Sundberg in fielding percentage with a .992 average.
Wynegar signed a $2 million, five-year contract with the Twins in 1981. However, he found himself traded to the New York Yankees one year later on May 12, 1982. Wynegar claimed that Twins owner Calvin Griffith wanted to get rid of high-priced players however, Griffith responded that Wynegar was being traded because he was only hitting for a .209 batting average.
New York Yankees
Wynegar continued to hit well with the Yankees in 1982, producing a .293 average in 63 games. He platooned with Rick Cerone behind the plate in 1983, hitting for a .296 batting average in 94 games. He was the Yankees catcher on July 4, 1983 when Dave Righetti pitched a no hitter in Yankee Stadium against the Boston Red Sox.
Wynegar became the Yankees starting catcher in 1984, playing in 129 games. His average dipped to .267 in 1984, and fell further to .223 in 1985, in part due to an injury that occurred when he was hit in the head by a foul ball while standing in the on deck circle. In 1985, Wynegar caught both Phil Niekro's 3000th strike out & his 300th win.
After three and a half seasons with New York, Wynegar became a free agent and re-signed with the Yankees for the 1986 season. However, the stress of playing for a high-profile team in New York City began to wear on him. A contract dispute in 1985, the firing of Yankee manager Yogi Berra and, a personality conflict with new Yankee manager Billy Martin took their toll on Wynegar's morale. In July 1986, Wynegar informed the Yankees that he had lost his enthusiasm for the game and didn't want to play in New York anymore, requesting to be traded. After he refused to play for the remainder of the season, the Yankees traded Wynegar to the California Angels on December 19, 1986, for Ron Romanick and a player to be named later.
Managing and coaching career
In 1992, Wynegar coached at Rollins College. In 1994, he became the manager of the Baltimore Orioles' South Atlantic League affiliate, the Albany Polecats. A year later, Wynegar was named manager of the Charlotte Rangers of the Florida State League, where he remained through the 1997 season. He spent the next five seasons as the Texas Rangers' roving hitting instructor. From 2003 to 2006 Wynegar was the hitting coach for the Milwaukee Brewers, but his contract was not renewed for the 2007 season. In 2011, he went back in the New York Yankees' organization, serving as hitting coach for the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders.
In a thirteen-year major league career, Wynegar played in 1,301 games, accumulating 1,102 hits in 4,330 at bats for a .255 career batting average along with 65 home runs and 506 runs batted in. He ended his career with a .989 fielding percentage. Wynegar logged 10,521 innings behind the plate in his career.
- Pointer, Michael (April 9, 2015). "Everything you need to know about the Indy Indians for opening day". Indianapolis Star. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Butch Wynegar statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
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- "1979 American League Fielding Leaders". Baseball-Reference.com.
- "Twins Unloading Fat Pacts". The Pittsburgh Press. United Press International. 13 May 1982. p. 11.
- "Dave Righetti's No-hitter". Baseball-Reference.com. 1983-07-04.
- "Wynegar Escapes New York's Bright Lights". Reading Eagle. Newsday. 10 December 1986. p. 48. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
- October 6, 1985 Yankees-Blue Jays box score at Baseball Reference
- "Niekro Gets 3000th Strikeout". Gadsden Times. Associated Press. 5 July 1984. p. 1. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "This Yankee Goes Home". Reading Eagle. Newsday. 10 December 1986. p. 43. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "Quiet Wynegar Making Noise". Daytona Beach Sunday News-Journal. Washington Post News Service. 21 June 1985. p. 5. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- "Yanks Trade Wynegar". The Rock Hill Herald. Associated Press. 20 December 1986. p. 5. Retrieved 4 December 2010.
- Butch Wynegar Minor league managing record at Baseball Digest
- "Brewers won't renew contracts of three coaches". ESPN. 2006-09-28.
- "2009 field staff named; Miley returns as skipper". MiLB.com. 2008-12-22.