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Ray Miller (baseball manager)

American baseball coach and manager

Raymond Roger Miller (April 30, 1945 – May 4, 2021) was an American pitching coach[1] and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB).[2] A highly regarded pitching coach, he was known for bringing improvement to the pitchers he coached at many stops over his career. His successes as a pitching coach twice led him to be promoted to manager, where he was much less successful. He managed the Minnesota Twins (1985–86) and the Baltimore Orioles (1998–99), each for less than two seasons and with a losing record each time, compiling an overall managerial record of 266–297 (.472).[2]

Early life

Miller was born in Takoma Park, Maryland, on April 30, 1945.[3] He was raised in nearby Forestville and attended Suitland High School, where he was selected as an all-state player in baseball. He signed with the San Francisco Giants in 1963.[4]

Professional career

Playing

Miller made his minor league debut with the Lexington Giants of the Western Carolinas League in 1964. He split time evenly as starting pitcher and reliever in his rookie year, starting 18 of the 36 games he pitched that season. He was subsequently acquired by the Cleveland Indians the following season. Despite winning 16 games with the Reno Silver Sox of the Class A California League in 1968, Miller never reached the Major Leagues as a player.[3] The highest level he attained was Class AAA,[5] with Portland of the Pacific Coast League, Wichita of the American Association and Rochester of the International League from 1969–73. He became a full-time relief pitcher from 1970 season onwards. He finished his minor league career with a 60–65 win–loss record, a 3.50 earned run average (ERA), and 992 strikeouts over 1,012 innings pitched.[3]

Coaching

In his final season at Rochester, he was a player-coach, and then became minor league pitching instructor for the Red Wings' parent club, the Orioles, from 1974–77.[3][6]

At the close of the 1977 season, Miller agreed to join the coaching staff of the Texas Rangers, whose manager was former Baltimore third-base coach Billy Hunter. But in January 1978, the Orioles' pitching coach position opened unexpectedly when George Bamberger was named skipper of the Milwaukee Brewers. Miller was let out of his Ranger contract and succeeded Bamberger as mound tutor of the pennant-contending Orioles.[7] He worked under managers Earl Weaver and Joe Altobelli and coached for O's teams that won the 1979 American League championship and the 1983 world title. Miller tutored 20-game-winning pitchers such as Jim Palmer, Mike Boddicker, Mike Flanagan, Steve Stone, and Scott McGregor during that period.[8][9]

The success of the Orioles' pitching staff made Miller a sought-after managerial candidate and on June 21, 1985, he received his first opportunity. Billy Gardner, who had led the Twins to a disappointing 27–35 record, was fired and Miller took control of the young Minnesota ballclub. Although the Twins improved to 50–50 over the remainder of the season, they performed so poorly (59–80, .424) in 1986, Miller was replaced as skipper by Tom Kelly on September 12.[4]

Miller subsequently returned to the coaching ranks, spending ten seasons as pitching mentor of the Pittsburgh Pirates (1987–96) working for Jim Leyland and one (1997) back in Baltimore under Davey Johnson. When Johnson resigned at the close of the Orioles’ AL East Division championship season, Miller replaced him as manager.[9] However, over the next two seasons (1998–99), the Orioles played ten games under .500,[2] and he was fired in favor of Mike Hargrove in November 1999.[10][11]

Miller returned as pitching coach of the Orioles in 2004–05,[11] and the Baltimore mound staff showed improvement under his tutelage. However, he was forced to the sidelines by successful surgery to repair an aneurysm,[9] and was succeeded in that role by Leo Mazzone in 2006.[12]

Managerial record

Team Year Regular season Postseason
Games Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MIN 1985 100 50 50 .500 4th in AL West
MIN 1986 139 59 80 .424 fired
MIN total 239 109 130 .456 0 0
BAL 1998 162 79 83 .488 4th in AL East
BAL 1999 162 78 84 .481 6th in AL East
BAL total 324 157 167 .485 0 0
Total[2] 563 266 297 .472 0 0

Later life

Miller retired from coaching in 2005.[8] He was inducted into the Baltimore Orioles Hall of Fame five years later on August 7, 2010.[13]

Miller died on the evening of May 4, 2021,[8] at the age of 76.[6][9]

Sources

  • Howard M. Balzer, ed. The Baseball Register, 1980 edition. St. Louis: The Sporting News.
  • Montague, John, ed., The 1985 Baltimore Orioles Organization Book. St. Petersburg, Florida: The Baseball Library, 1985.

References

  1. ^ "Ray Miller". retrosheet.org. Retrosheet. 2020. Retrieved February 7, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Ray Miller Managerial Record". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2014. Retrieved December 18, 2014.
  3. ^ a b c d "Ray Miller Minor League Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  4. ^ a b Schmuck, Peter; Kubatko, Roch (November 12, 1997). "With Twins, Miller met frustration Manager didn't last to see finished project". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  5. ^ "Former Orioles Manager And Pitching Coach Ray Miller Dies At Age 75". WJZ-TV. May 5, 2021. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  6. ^ a b Trezza, Joe (May 5, 2021). "Former manager, coach Miller dies at 76". MLB.com. MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  7. ^ Crass, Murray (August 13, 1979). "Miller Following a Tough Act, But Orioles Are Glad He's Back". The New York Times. p. C4. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  8. ^ a b c "Ray Miller, ex-manager and coach in Orioles HOF, dies at 76". Associated Press. May 5, 2021. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  9. ^ a b c d Ruiz, Nathan (May 5, 2021). "Ray Miller, former Orioles manager and longtime pitching coach, dies". The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  10. ^ Boswell, Thomas (November 4, 1999). "A Team and a Manager Who Truly Need Each Other". The Washington Post. p. D1. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  11. ^ a b "Ray Miller Returns to Orioles Bench". Orlando Sentinel. June 27, 2004. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  12. ^ Arangure Jr., Jorge (February 19, 2007). "With a Year in the Books, O's Mazzone Set for Next Chapter". The Washington Post. Retrieved May 5, 2021.
  13. ^ "Former Rangers manager Johnny Oates inducted into O's Hall of Fame". The Dallas Morning News. Associated Press. August 7, 2010. Retrieved May 5, 2021.

External links


Sporting positions
Preceded by
Baltimore Orioles Pitching Coach
1978–1985
1997
2004–2005
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Pittsburgh Pirates Pitching Coach
1987–1996
Succeeded by

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