Leo Mazzone

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Leo Mazzone
Leo Mazzone 2007.jpg
Mazzone with the Baltimore Orioles in 2007
Pitching Coach
Born: (1948-10-16) October 16, 1948 (age 70)
Keyser, West Virginia
Teams
As coach
Career highlights and awards

Leo David Mazzone (born October 16, 1948) is a former pitcher in minor league baseball and pitching coach in Major League Baseball. He worked with the Atlanta Braves' organization from 1979 to 2005 and was the pitching coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 2006 to 2007. He is currently the Special Pitching Advisor for the Furman University Baseball program.

Pitcher the player responsible for throwing ("pitching") the ball to the batters in a game of baseball or softball

In baseball, the pitcher is the player who throws the baseball from the pitcher's mound toward the catcher to begin each play, with the goal of retiring a batter, who attempts to either make contact with the pitched ball or draw a walk. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the pitcher is assigned the number 1. The pitcher is often considered the most important player on the defensive side of the game, and as such is situated at the right end of the defensive spectrum. There are many different types of pitchers, such as the starting pitcher, relief pitcher, middle reliever, lefty specialist, setup man, and the closer.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Atlanta Braves Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Atlanta, Georgia, United States

The Atlanta Braves are an American professional baseball franchise based in the Atlanta metropolitan area. The franchise competes in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the National League (NL) East division. The Braves played home games at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium from 1966 to 1996, and Turner Field from 1997 to 2016. Since 2017, their home stadium has been SunTrust Park, a new stadium 10 miles (16 km) northwest of downtown Atlanta in the Cumberland neighborhood of Cobb County. The Braves play spring training games at CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida.

Contents

Early life

Although Mazzone was born in West Virginia, his family lived on the other side of the Potomac River's north branch in Luke, Maryland. Growing up there, one of his friends was Sam Perlozzo of nearby Cumberland, Maryland, under whom Mazzone would eventually coach for the Baltimore Orioles. Mazzone was even the best man at Perlozzo's wedding.[ citation needed ]

West Virginia State of the United States of America

West Virginia is a state located in the Appalachian region in the Southern United States that is also considered to be a part of the Middle Atlantic States. It is bordered by Pennsylvania to the north, Maryland to the east and northeast, Virginia to the southeast, Kentucky to the southwest, and Ohio to the northwest. West Virginia is the 41st largest state by area, and is ranked 38th in population. The capital and largest city is Charleston.

Potomac River river in the mid-Atlantic United States

The Potomac River is located within the Mid-Atlantic region of the United States and flows from the Potomac Highlands into the Chesapeake Bay. The river is approximately 405 miles (652 km) long, with a drainage area of about 14,700 square miles (38,000 km2). In terms of area, this makes the Potomac River the fourth largest river along the Atlantic coast of the United States and the 21st largest in the United States. Over 5 million people live within the Potomac watershed.

Luke, Maryland Town in Maryland, United States

Luke is a town in Allegany County, Maryland, United States, along the Potomac River just upstream of Westernport. Known originally as West Piedmont, the town is part of the Cumberland, MD-WV Metropolitan Statistical Area. The population was 65 at the 2010 census.

Playing career

Mazzone made his professional debut in 1967 with the Medford Giants, a class-A farm team of the San Francisco Giants. In all, he played seven seasons in the Giants organization, reaching as high as the Double-A Amarillo Giants, for whom he played four seasons from 1970 to 1973. He played the next three seasons in the Oakland Athletics chain, reaching Triple-A with the Tucson Toros in 1975. In 1976, he was a player-manager for the class-A Corpus Christi Seagulls. He became their full-time manager the following season.

San Francisco Giants Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in San Francisco, California, United States

The San Francisco Giants are an American professional baseball team based in San Francisco, California. Founded in 1883 as the New York Gothams, and renamed three years later the New York Giants, the team eventually moved to San Francisco in 1958. The Giants compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division.

Coaching career

Mazzone was the hot tempered manager for the Carolina League Kinston Eagles in 1978. It was the recommendation and contacts of Eagles owner Ray Kuhlman that proved instrumental in Atlanta deciding to take a chance on Mazzone in 1979.[ citation needed ]

Carolina League Minor League Baseball Class-A+ league along the US Atlantic Coast

The Carolina League is a Minor League Baseball league which operates along the Atlantic Coast of the United States. It is classified as a Class A-Advanced league.

The Carolina Mudcats are a Minor League Baseball team based in Zebulon, North Carolina. They are members of the Carolina League and are the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. They play their home games at Five County Stadium.

Mazzone has earned a reputation as one of the best pitching coaches of the modern era, [1] having molded Tom Glavine and John Smoltz into perennial All-stars. Greg Maddux also enjoyed his best seasons under Mazzone. During his time in Atlanta, Mazzone developed and coached some of the best pitching rotations in baseball history. [2] In 2005, ESPN ranked the 1998 (#1) and the 1993 (#4) Atlanta Braves pitching staffs as two of the Top 10 rotations of all time. [3] This dominant pitching anchored the Braves' run of 14 consecutive division titles (1991-2005), 5 National League pennants (1991-1992, 1995-1996, 1999) and the 1995 World Series championship.

Tom Glavine American baseball pitcher

Thomas Michael Glavine is an American retired professional baseball player. A pitcher, Glavine played in Major League Baseball for the Atlanta Braves, and New York Mets (2003-2007). He was the MVP of the 1995 World Series as the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians.

John Smoltz American professional baseball player, pitcher, sportscaster

John Andrew Smoltz, nicknamed "Smoltzie" and "Marmaduke," is an American former baseball pitcher who played 22 seasons in Major League Baseball from 1988 to 2009, all but the last year with the Atlanta Braves. An eight-time All-Star, Smoltz was part of a celebrated trio of starting pitchers, along with Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, who propelled Atlanta to perennial pennant contention in the 1990s, highlighted by a championship in the 1995 World Series. He won the National League (NL) Cy Young Award in 1996 after posting a record of 24–8, equaling the most victories by an NL pitcher since 1972. Though predominantly known as a starter, Smoltz was converted to a reliever in 2001 after his recovery from Tommy John surgery, and spent four years as the team's closer before returning to a starting role. In 2002, he set the NL record with 55 saves and became only the second pitcher in history to record both a 20-win season and a 50-save season. He is the only pitcher in major league history to record both 200 wins and 150 saves.

Greg Maddux American baseball player

Gregory Alan Maddux is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) pitcher. Maddux is best known for his accomplishments while playing for the Atlanta Braves and the Chicago Cubs. With the Braves, he won the 1995 World Series over the Cleveland Indians. The first to achieve a number of feats and records, he was the first pitcher in major league history to win the Cy Young Award for four consecutive years (1992–1995), matched by only one other pitcher, Randy Johnson. During those four seasons, Maddux had a 75–29 record with a 1.98 earned run average (ERA), while allowing less than one baserunner per inning.

Between 1991 and 1998, three of his pitchers won a total of 6 Cy Young Awards:

Cy Young Award Major League Baseball award given annually to the best pitcher in each league

The Cy Young Award is given annually to the best pitchers in Major League Baseball (MLB), one each for the American League (AL) and National League (NL). The award was first introduced in 1956 by Baseball Commissioner Ford Frick in honor of Hall of Fame pitcher Cy Young, who died in 1955. The award was originally given to the single best pitcher in the major leagues, but in 1967, after the retirement of Frick, the award was given to one pitcher in each league.

Maddux, Glavine, and Smoltz have all been inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Over the years, a number of other pitchers joined the Braves and enjoyed some of their finest seasons under Mazzone only to regress after leaving. [1]

Mazzone's "accidental trademark" is his rocking back and forth while sitting in the dugout. On television broadcasts of Braves games, the camera would often show him rocking back and forth during the game. [1] Mazzone's pitching philosophies state that pitchers should throw more between starts (two sessions instead of one) and be able to throw strikes on the low and outside corner of the strike zone. [1]

After the 2005 season Leo Mazzone took the Baltimore Orioles pitching coach job. On October 12, 2007 the Orioles fired Mazzone with one year left on his contract. [4]

On August 30, 2016, Leo Mazzone was hired by Head Coach Brett Harker of the Furman University Baseball program as a Special Pitching advisor.

Honors

He was inducted in the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

In his book The Baseball Economist, J.C. Bradbury titles a chapter, "How Good is Leo Mazzone?" Using statistical analysis, he analyzes whether Mazzone had a significant impact upon the pitchers that he coached. The sample is all pitchers who have pitched at least one year under Mazzone and one year under a different pitching coach. Bradbury found that Mazzone lowered the ERA of pitchers by an average of 0.64 points, and that after leaving Mazzone, pitchers' ERA increased by an average of 0.78 points. Bradbury believes that such an impact is deserving of Hall of Fame consideration. [5]

ESPN.com lists him number one on the list of "Top 10 Assistant Coaches of All-Time". [1]

Post-coaching career

Currently, Mazzone works as a color commentator for Fox and as a co-host on "The Rude Awakening" Morning Show on Atlanta's WCNN-AM. On August 30, 2016, Mazzone was named Special Advisor to the Furman University (Greenville, SC) Baseball Program. He resides in upstate South Carolina.

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 E-Ticket: "The Rock of Atlanta"
  2. "By The Numbers: A Salute to Leo Mazzone". WCBS-TV . May 15, 2011. Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  3. Merron, John (January 3, 2005). "Page 2: The greatest pitching rotations". ESPN . Retrieved January 31, 2016.
  4. "Orioles Fire Pitching Coach Leo Mazzone"
  5. Bradbury, J. C., The Baseball Economist
Preceded by
Bruce Dal Canton
Atlanta Braves pitching coach
1990–2005
Succeeded by
Roger McDowell
Preceded by
Ray Miller
Baltimore Orioles pitching coach
2006–2007
Succeeded by
Rick Kranitz