Vavra with the Minnesota Twins
|Minnesota Twins – No. 46|
November 16, 1959 |
Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin
Joseph Alan Vavra (born November 16, 1959, in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin) is an American professional baseball coach. A member of the coaching staff of the Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball since 2006, Vavra will serve as the Twins' bench coach in 2015.[needs update] He was the club's third base coach from 2013 to 2014 and hitting instructor from 2006 to 2012.
Vavra graduated in 1978 from Chippewa Falls High School where he was a captain and MVP baseball player his senior season. He played collegiate baseball for the University of Wisconsin–Stout from 1978 to 1982. He graduated with a degree in Industrial Technology.
Vavra was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1982 amateur player draft out of college. He played five years in the Dodger farm system making it to the AAA level in 1986. He never played in the major leagues due to two injuries. The first happened in his last triple A game when a runner's cleat shattered his thumb when Vavra attempted to tag the runner. The second and final setback was when Vavra fell ill with desert fever (Coccidioidomycosis), a disease that eats at the lungs. Vavra finished the year and had to stop playing. Vavra has now[when?] been in Major League Baseball for over 20 years and is an assistant coach for the Minnesota Twins.
Beginning in 1987, Vavra coached in the Dodgers' minor league system. While at Yakima, Washington in Class A, he was named Manager of the Year for 1994 and 1996 for the Northwest League after winning the division title in 1994 and the League championship in 1996. Vavra coached for ten years in the minors before moving to the Dodgers' major league staff. He served in special assignments and as a roving coach before becoming the permanent bunting and baserunning coach in 2000.
After a brief stint as the head coach of UW–Stout baseball, Vavra joined the Twins' staff in 2002. On October 27, 2005, Vavra was named the Twins' hitting coach.
During Vavra's tenure in Minnesota, the Twins have consistently ranked among the best in the league for both individual and team hitting stats. In 2012, it was announced that Vavra would be reassigned from the Twins hitting coach to the Twins third base coach and infield instruction coach in 2013.
Vavra and his wife Lesa have three sons: Tanner, Treysen and Terrin. His son Tanner has played at Valparaiso University and Treysen plays for the Eastern Illinois University baseball team. Tanner was drafted in 30th round of 2013 Major League Baseball Draft by the Twins. In 2016, Tanner was an infielder for the independent minor-league St. Paul Saints.