Toby Harrah

Last updated
Toby Harrah
TobyHarrahFlickr.jpg
Harrah in 1977
Third baseman / Shortstop
Born: (1948-10-26) October 26, 1948 (age 70)
Sissonville, West Virginia
Batted: RightThrew: Right
MLB debut
September 5, 1969, for the Washington Senators
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1986, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
Batting average .264
Home runs 195
Runs batted in 918
Teams
As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Colbert Dale (Toby) Harrah (born October 26, 1948) is an American former professional baseball player. He played as a shortstop and third baseman in Major League Baseball from 1969 to 1986. Harrah played for the Texas Rangers both before (Washington Senators era) and after their 1971 franchise shift. He also played for the Cleveland Indians and the New York Yankees. In 1992, he briefly served as manager of the Rangers. Harrah most recently served as the assistant hitting coach for the Detroit Tigers.

Americans Citizens, or natives, of the United States of America

Americans are nationals and citizens of the United States of America. Although nationals and citizens make up the majority of Americans, some dual citizens, expatriates, and permanent residents may also claim American nationality. The United States is home to people of many different ethnic origins. As a result, American culture and law does not equate nationality with race or ethnicity, but with citizenship and permanent allegiance.

Baseball Sport

Baseball is a bat-and-ball game played between two opposing teams who take turns batting and fielding. The game proceeds when a player on the fielding team, called the pitcher, throws a ball which a player on the batting team tries to hit with a bat. The objectives of the offensive team are to hit the ball into the field of play, and to run the bases—having its runners advance counter-clockwise around four bases to score what are called "runs". The objective of the defensive team is to prevent batters from becoming runners, and to prevent runners' advance around the bases. A run is scored when a runner legally advances around the bases in order and touches home plate. The team that scores the most runs by the end of the game is the winner.

Shortstop defensive position in baseball and softball played on the left side of the infield between second and third bases

Shortstop, abbreviated SS, is the baseball or softball fielding position between second and third base, which is considered to be among the most demanding defensive positions. Historically the position was assigned to defensive specialists who were typically poor at batting and were often placed at the bottom of the batting order. Today shortstops are often able to hit well and many are placed at the top of the lineup. In the numbering system used by scorers to record defensive plays, the shortstop is assigned the number 6.

Contents

Playing career

Harrah played high school baseball in his hometown of LaRue, Ohio and was scouted out but was not signed at graduation as most scouts thought he planned to attend college on a baseball scholarship. A few months later, Tony Lucadello followed up and found that Harrah was not attending school, but was instead working in a factory in nearby Marion, Ohio. Lucadello signed Harrah for the Philadelphia Phillies in December, 1966.

LaRue, Ohio Village in Ohio, United States

LaRue is a village in Marion County, Ohio, United States. The population was 747 at the 2010 census. The village is served by Elgin Local School District. LaRue has a public library, a branch of Marion Public Library.

Anthony Lucadello was a professional baseball scout for the Chicago Cubs (1943–1957) and Philadelphia Phillies (1957–1989). During his career, he signed a total of 52 players who made it to the Major Leagues, most notably Hall of Famers Ferguson Jenkins and Mike Schmidt. His total number of Major League signings is considered to be unsurpassed, and some have called him perhaps the greatest scout ever.

Marion, Ohio City in Ohio, United States

Marion is a city in and the county seat of Marion County, Ohio, United States. The municipality is located in north-central Ohio, approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of Columbus.

After one year in the Phillies organization, Harrah was drafted by the Washington Senators in the fall of 1967. He advanced to the major league club in 1971; the next year the franchise relocated and became the Texas Rangers. He was the regular shortstop through 1976, then moved to third base, although he still saw some action at short. He was selected to the American League All-Star team in 1972, 1975, and 1976. He had a career best 93 RBIS in 1975. On June 25, 1976, Harrah played an entire doubleheader at shortstop without recording a single chance in the field.

Texas Rangers (baseball) Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Arlington, Texas, United States

The Texas Rangers are an American professional baseball team based in Arlington, Texas, located in the Dallas–Fort Worth metroplex. The Rangers franchise currently competes in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member of the American League (AL) West division. Since 1994, the Rangers have played in Globe Life Park in Arlington. The team's name is borrowed from the famous law enforcement agency of the same name.

In 1978, Harrah was traded to the Cleveland Indians for Buddy Bell, a player thought to be fairly similar in many respects. He was the Indians' regular third baseman through 1983 and made the All-Star team in 1982. That year he had 100 runs and a career-best .304 batting average.

Cleveland Indians Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Cleveland, Ohio, United States

The Cleveland Indians are an American professional baseball team based in Cleveland, Ohio. The Indians compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. Since 1994, they have played at Progressive Field. The team's spring training facility is at Goodyear Ballpark in Goodyear, Arizona. Since their establishment as a major league franchise in 1901, the Indians have won two World Series championships: in 1920 and 1948, along with 10 Central Division titles and six American League pennants. The Indians' current World Series championship drought is the longest active drought.

Buddy Bell American Major league third baseman

David Gus Bell is an American former third baseman and manager in Major League Baseball (MLB) currently serving as vice president and senior advisor to the general manager for the Cincinnati Reds. After an 18-year career with four teams, most notably the Cleveland Indians, the Texas Rangers, and the Cincinnati Reds, he managed the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies and Kansas City Royals for three seasons each and served as Vice President/Assistant General Manager for the Chicago White Sox. He was a five-time MLB All-Star and won six consecutive Rawlings Gold Glove Awards from 1979–84. He is the son of outfielder Gus Bell and the father of former third basemen Mike and David Bell, making them one of five families to have three generations play in the Major Leagues. When David was named Reds manager in October 2018, he and Buddy became the fourth father-son pair to serve as major league managers, joining George and Dick Sisler, Bob and Joel Skinner, and Bob and Aaron Boone.

In 1984, Harrah was traded to the New York Yankees, where he was a part-time player, then he was traded again to the Rangers, where he played regularly again for the 1985 and 1986 seasons, primarily at second base. With the retirement of Jeff Burroughs in 1985, Harrah became the last active major leaguer to have played for the Washington Senators franchise. He was also the last player to see a pitch for the Senators in their final game on September 30, 1971 when Tommy McCraw was caught stealing during his plate-appearance for the Senators final out in the bottom of the 8th.

New York Yankees Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in the Bronx, New York, United States

The New York Yankees are an American professional baseball team based in the New York City borough of the Bronx. The Yankees compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division. They are one of two major league clubs based in New York City, the other being the New York Mets of the National League. In the 1901 season, the club began play in the AL as the Baltimore Orioles. Frank Farrell and Bill Devery purchased the franchise and moved it to New York City, renaming the club the New York Highlanders. The Highlanders were officially renamed the Yankees in 1913.

Harrah was noted for his good eye at the plate, placing in the top ten in the league for bases on balls on nine occasions, including an AL-best 109 in 1977. He finished his career with more bases on balls than strikeouts, with 1153 and 868, respectively. He also had better than average power for a defensive infielder, hitting 195 career home runs. Combined with good speed, he accumulated three seasons of 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Harrah's on-base skills and respectable slugging ability led to a solid career Adjusted OPS of 114. [1]

Base on balls in baseball, reaching base on four balls

A base on balls (BB), also known as a walk, occurs in baseball when a batter receives four pitches that the umpire calls balls, and is in turn awarded first base without the possibility of being called out. The base on balls is defined in Section 2.00 of baseball's Official Rules, and further detail is given in 6.08(a). It is, however, considered a faux pas for a professional player to actually walk to first base; the batter-runner and any advancing runners normally jog on such a play.

According to sabermetrician Jay Jaffe of Baseball Prospectus, Harrah is the 25th best third baseman in Major League Baseball history, outpacing several Hall of Famers. Despite his superior statistical accomplishments, Harrah only received a single vote for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992, thereby removing his name from future ballots. [2] Harrah's chances for the Hall were seemingly hurt by his multiple position switches: from shortstop, to third base, to second base, and often back and forth. He did not match the awards or "counting stats" (avg, HR, RBI) of well-hitting contemporary shortstops like Cal Ripken Jr. and Barry Larkin, or third baseman such as Wade Boggs or George Brett, all of whom were on their way to HOF careers by the time Harrah was eligible in 1992. Contemporary baseball historians have placed more value on Harrah's career after the fact, noting that he was a solid all-around player who placed among the league leaders in Wins Above Replacement on 5 occasions. [3] [4]

In 2009, Harrah was named to the Texas Rangers Hall of Fame. [5]

Career statistics

YearsGames PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO AVG OBP SLG FLD%
1721558767740211151954307401959182381153868.264.365.395.964

Harrah has played 1099 games at third base, 813 games at shortstop, 244 games at second base and 1 game in right field.

Coaching career

Following his playing career, Harrah moved on to coaching in professional baseball. From 1987 to 1988 he managed the Triple A Oklahoma City 89ers. From 1989 to 1991 he served as the first base coach for the Texas Rangers under manager Bobby Valentine. In 1992 he shifted to bench coach under Valentine then replaced him as manager with 76 games left to go in the season. As interim manager, the Rangers under Harrah went 32-44.

In 1995 Harrah managed the Triple A Norfolk Tides to an 86-56 record, finishing in first place in the International League East Division. In 1996 he served as the third base coach for the Cleveland Indians under Mike Hargrove, replacing Buddy Bell, who had been named manager of the Detroit Tigers. In 1997, he served as a minor league hitting coach within the Tigers organization. In 1998 he joined the Tigers major league club as hitting coach, serving under manager Bell and interim manager Larry Parrish, both teammates of Harrah with the Rangers in the mid 1980s. When Bell was hired as the manager of the Colorado Rockies in 2000, Harrah joined him once again by serving as bench coach through the 2002 season. [6]

In 2004, Harrah was named minor league hitting coordinator for the Tigers, where he worked with players at all levels as a roving instructor. He remained in that position until part way through the 2012 season. [7]

In June 2012, Harrah joined the Detroit Tigers major league coaching staff in an unofficial capacity. [8] Tigers manager Jim Leyland noted that with so many players struggling at once, hitting coach Lloyd McClendon had been stretched thin. The notion of two hitting coaches had been recommended to Leyland by friend and former colleague Tony La Russa. [9] LaRussa had been the first to adopt a two-coach system when he named an assistant hitting coach, (Mike Aldrete), with the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008. [10] In the month following Harrah's arrival, the Tigers offense increased their average runs per game from 4.3 to 5.6. [11]

Following the 2012 season, Harrah was officially named assistant hitting coach by the Tigers for the 2013 season. [12] Following the 2013 season and the retirement of Tigers manager Jim Leyland, Harrah was informed that his contract would not be renewed.

See also

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References

  1. "Toby Harrah Statistics and History | Baseball-Reference.com". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  2. "1992 Hall of Fame Voting | Baseball-Reference.com". baseball-reference.com. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  3. "Baseball Evolution - Keith - Ballot Droppers". baseballevolution.com. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  4. "Introducing Toby Harrah | Hall of Fame Debate". hofdebate.wordpress.com. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  5. "Harrah, Sierra in Rangers Hall of Fame | MLB.com". mlb.mlb.com. Retrieved 2016-12-04.
  6. "Toby Harrah Statistics (1967–1986)". The Baseball Cube. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  7. "Manager and Coaches | tigers.com: Team". Detroit.tigers.mlb.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  8. Michigan Set your local edition ». "Hitting coordinator Toby Harrah to work with Detroit Tigers hitters alongside Lloyd McClendon". MLive.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  9. Moore, Jack. "Phillies hire Wally Joyner as assistant hitting coach, continuing league-wide trend". CBSSports. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  10. Michigan Set your local edition ». "Detroit Tigers' Jim Leyland on adding hitting assistant: 'We've had so many guys struggle'". MLive.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  11. Michigan Set your local edition ». "Detroit Tigers find offensive spark since arrival of hitting coordinator Toby Harrah". MLive.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
  12. "Detroit Tigers' Toby Harrah to remain on staff as assistant hitting coach; all six coaches to return". MLive.com. Retrieved 2013-04-23.
Preceded by
Larry Herndon
Detroit Tigers Hitting coach
1998
Succeeded by
Alan Trammell
Preceded by
Bruce Kimm
Colorado Rockies Bench coach
2000–2002
Succeeded by
Jamie Quirk