Mike Schmidt To Manage Clearwater Phillies

The Phillies have been emphasizing tradition and keeping their former stars around as part of the organization. That tradition took a major step forward, as did the future career aspirations of former Hall of Famer Michael Jack Schmidt. The Phillies and Schmidt will work together in 2004 with Schmidt as the manager of the Clearwater Phillies.

When Mike Schmidt retired, the Phillies asked him to stay with the organization in some capacity. At that time, Schmidt had dreams of joining the Senior PGA Tour and took off in pursuit of conquering the world of golf. That didn't work out as well as he might have hoped and in recent seasons, Schmidt has been a frequent part of spring training and worked a lot with the likes of Pat Burrell and other young hitters throughout the organization. Now, Schmidt is a more official part of the Phillies organization, accepting the Phillies offer to manage the Clearwater Phillies.

Clearwater is the Phillies high A affiliate in the Florida State League and will provide Schmidt with his first shot at managing. It's actually, his first official coaching position of any kind in professional baseball. The job is likely a complete shift in career strategies for Schmidt, who has turned an eye toward managing in the major leagues.

Schmidt, who is 54, played his entire career in Philadelphia, starting with a less than smashing start in 1972 when he hit .206, followed up with a .196 average in 1973. Schmidt went on to hit 548 homeruns in his career, putting him ninth on the all-time homerun list and first in Phillies history. In 1995, Schmidt was inducted into the Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Schmidt's coaching staff will include Manny Amador, Dan Roberts and former Phillies reliever Steve Schrenk, who pitched for the Phillies in the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Roberts is the son of former Phillie and Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.

Other minor league managers and coaches were announced along with the announcement of Mike Schmidt taking over at Clearwater. At Scranton, popular and successful manager Marc Bombard returns for his eighth season as the Red Barons manager. Bombard will have a new pitching coach, Rich Dubee, who replaces Mike Mason. Dubee had worked the past two seasons with the Clearwater Phillies.

At AA Reading, the staff will remain the same with manager Greg Legg returning to lead the team. Legg is entering his 23rd season with the Phillies organization, including the past ten seasons spent as either a minor league coach or manager.

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