Mazzone with the Baltimore Orioles in 2007
|Born:October 16, 1948|
Keyser, West Virginia
|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.
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 (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.
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.
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 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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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 ]
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,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. 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. 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.
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 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.
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:
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.
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.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.
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.
On August 30, 2016, Leo Mazzone was hired by Head Coach Brett Harker of the Furman University Baseball program as a Special Pitching advisor.
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.
ESPN.com lists him number one on the list of "Top 10 Assistant Coaches of All-Time".
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.
Kevin Austin Millwood is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played for the Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Cleveland Indians, Texas Rangers, Baltimore Orioles, Colorado Rockies and Seattle Mariners.
Patrick Edward Dobson, Jr. was an American right-handed starting pitcher in Major League Baseball who played for the Detroit Tigers (1967–69), San Diego Padres (1970), Baltimore Orioles (1971–72), Atlanta Braves (1973), New York Yankees (1973–75) and Cleveland Indians (1976–77). He was best known for being one of four Orioles pitchers to win 20 games in their 1971 season.
Russell Reid Ortiz is a retired Major League Baseball pitcher. Ortiz played for the Atlanta Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Baltimore Orioles, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Dodgers. He is 6 ft 1 in (1.85 m) tall, and weighs 220 pounds.
The 1998 National League Championship Series (NLCS), to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played from October 7 to 14 between the East Division champion Atlanta Braves and the West Division champion San Diego Padres.
The 1996 World Series was the championship series of Major League Baseball's (MLB) 1996 season. The 92nd edition of the World Series, it was a best-of-seven playoff between the National League (NL) champion Atlanta Braves and the American League (AL) champion New York Yankees. The Yankees defeated the Braves, four games to two, to capture their first World Series title since 1978 and their 23rd World Series championship overall. The series was played from October 20–26, 1996, and was broadcast on television on Fox. Yankees relief pitcher John Wetteland was named the World Series Most Valuable Player for saving all four Yankee wins.
The 2006 Baltimore Orioles season involved the Orioles finishing 4th in the American League East with a record of 70 wins and 92 losses.
The 1995 Atlanta Braves season was the 125th season in the history of the franchise and 30th season in the city of Atlanta. The team finished the strike-shortened season with a record of 90–54, the best in the National League, en route to winning the World Series. For the sixth straight season, the team was managed by Bobby Cox.
The 1996 Atlanta Braves season was the 126th season in the history of the franchise and 31st season in the city of Atlanta. They secured a regular season record of 96-66 and reached the World Series, where it lost to the New York Yankees in six games, failing to defend its championship in 1995. Despite taking a 2-0 lead the Braves unexpectedly lost the next 4 games. This World Series appearance was their fourth appearance in the last 5 years as a franchise. Atlanta won its seventh division title and its fifth in six years. In the previous round, Atlanta completed a miraculous comeback. After trailing in the NLCS to St. Louis three games to one, Atlanta outscored St. Louis 32-1 in games five through seven to complete the comeback. The collapse was remembered as one of the largest in North American sports history.
The 2000 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 35th season in Atlanta along with the 125th season in the National League and 130th overall. The Braves won their ninth consecutive division title, however, the 2000 season would mark the first time since 1990 that the Braves did not appear in the National League Championship Series. One of the highlights of the season was that the All-Star Game was held at Turner Field in Atlanta.
The 1998 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 33rd season in Atlanta and 128th overall. They went on to win their seventh consecutive division title, taking the National League East title by 18 games over the second place New York Mets.
The 1987 Atlanta Braves season was the 117th in franchise history and their 22nd in Atlanta.
The 2002 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 37th season in Atlanta and 132nd overall. The Braves won their 11th consecutive division title, finishing 19 games ahead of the second-place Montreal Expos. The Braves lost the 2002 Divisional Series to the eventual NL Champion San Francisco Giants, 3 games to 2.
Peter John Smith is a former Major League Baseball starting pitcher, born in Abington, Massachusetts. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the first round in the 1984 Major League Baseball draft. Smith was signed on June 14, 1984 to play in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. He batted and threw right-handed during his baseball career.
The Big Three was a trio of Major League Baseball starting pitchers for the Atlanta Braves from 1993-2002 which consisted of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, and John Smoltz. The Big Three combined to win six National League Cy Young Awards in the 1990s and helped lead the Atlanta Braves to a 1995 World Series win. Each member of the Big Three has had their jersey retired by the Atlanta Braves and has been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Bruce Dal Canton
| Atlanta Braves pitching coach |
| Baltimore Orioles pitching coach |