AFL Interview Series – Coach Gene Tenace

The second of our nine exclusive interviews from the Arizona Fall League is with Gene Tenace. The Cardinals Minor League Hitting Coordinator is on a special assignment working with the three Cardinals position player prospects on the Peoria Saguaros. Tenace discusses the AFL, his role, hitters at the recent Fall Instructional League and more.

As luck would have it, despite being told by a senior Cardinals executive ahead of time there would be no special organizational visitors with the Peoria Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League this week, I spied a familiar Cardinals cap in the clubhouse – one that I did not expect to see there.

It was worn by former Oakland A's and Cardinals catcher Gene Tenace, who serves as the Cardinals Minor League Hitting Coordinator. In essence, his role is to be the coach of the hitting coaches at each of the six affiliates in the minor league system.

Tenace's plans at the AFL were simply to spend a week working with the Cardinals three position player prospects competing there – outfielders Amaury Marti and Nick Stavinoha plus shortstop Brendan Ryan.

In this exclusive interview, Tenace discusses more about his AFL mission, what his Coordinators' role entails, his impression of hitters at the recent Fall Instructional League and much more.


Tenace recently completed his fifth year with the Cardinals organization as minor league hitting coordinator. From 1999 through the 2001 season, he worked with the Boston Red Sox in a variety of roles within their minor league system.

Tenace, 59, began his coaching career in 1984 as minor league hitting instructor for the Milwaukee Brewers. He also spent time with Houston and the New York Yankees before joining the Toronto Blue Jays in 1989 as their minor league hitting instructor.

Tenace was appointed as the Blue Jays Major League hitting coach in 1990. During 1991, he assumed managerial duties in August, when Cito Gaston was hospitalized for back problems, going 19-14 in his absence. Tenace became Toronto's bench coach in 1992 until he took over as bullpen coach in 1996 through 1997.

The 15-year Major League veteran signed with the Kansas City Athletics as their 11th pick in June of 1965. He made his Major League debut in 1969 with Oakland and played in five League Championship Series (1971-75, Oakland) and four World Series (1972-74, Oakland, 1982, St. Louis). Tenace earned World Series MVP honors in 1972 after hitting four home runs during the Series.

Check back here for the next week and a half, as we share with you the rest of this exclusive interview series. Hear every one of the seven Cardinals players from the AFL in their own words talk about their 2006 and plans for 2007.

Subjects include pitchers Stuart Pomeranz, Eric Haberer, Mike Parisi, Dennis Dove as well as outfielders Amaury Marti and Nick Stavinoha and shortstop Brendan Ryan.

Brian Walton can be reached via email at

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