SAN FRANCISCO — Part of Dave Righetti’s success as a Giants pitching coach was that he could relate to anybody, in any role, thanks to his own varied experiences as a player.
He was starter, winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1981 and throwing a no-hitter in 1983.
He was a reliever, breaking what was then a single-season record with 46 saves in 1986 and later establishing a New York Yankees career mark of 224 that lasted until Mariano Rivera came along.
He knew life as both a hotshot prospect (10th overall pick in the 1977 draft) and a fading veteran (bouncing from the Giants to the A’s to the Blue Jays to the White Sox in his twilight).
The man had lessons to share.
“Righetti is obviously the only pitching coach I’ve had, but it would be hard to imagine there being a better one,” Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner said during his record-setting 2014 postseason. “It seems like he always knows what to do and how to approach somebody and how to help him.
San Francisco Giants pitching coach Dave Righetti (19) talks with relief pitcher Albert Suarez. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
“He’s not always set in one way to help someone out. He can adjust to who he’s talking to and knows how to talk to them and he’s a lot of fun to work with.”
Righetti made two All-Stars as a player and for a brief time in the early ’80s was the biggest sports star in the Big Apple.
But that part — the fame — is the only experience he abandoned during his 17 seasons as Giants pitching coach. He spent his tenure avoiding fanfare, even during all those Champagne-soaked autumn nights.
For that reason, Righetti’s massive contribution to the franchise got a short shrift when it was announced last month that he out as part of a shakeup of the Giants coaching staff.
Righetti will move to the role of special assistant to the general manager. In the wake of the news, there was ample talk about blame and motives and timing, as well as surprise about new jobs for longtime bench coach Ron Wotus and bullpen coach Mark Gardner.
Alas, there was not nearly enough reflection about Righetti’s legacy. This was the end of one of the top 10 tenures by a pitching coach in the history of baseball.
Righetti’s accomplishments earned him a spot in the conversation with the …read more
Source:: East Bay – Sports