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Gene Tenace

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&nbsp Fury Gene Tenace ( /ˈtɛnɨs/; born Fiore Gino Tennaci on October 10, 1946 in Russellton, Pennsylvania), is a former Italian-American professional baseball player and current coach in Major League Baseball.[1] He was a catcher and first baseman from 1969 through 1983, playing for the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres,

Gene Tenace
Catcher / First baseman
Born: October 10, 1946 (1946-10-10) (age 64)Russellton, Pennsylvania
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
May 29, 1969 for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
September 30, 1983 for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Career statistics
Batting average .241
Home runs 201
Runs batted in 653
Teams
Career highlights and awards

St. Louis Cardinals and the Pittsburgh Pirates.[1] He batted and threw right-handed.[1] Tenace was one of the top catchers of his era and won the 1972 World Series Most Valuable Player Award.[2] He was known for his power, especially versus right-handed pitching.[3]


ContentsEdit

[hide]*1 Playing career

[edit] Playing careerEdit

[edit] Oakland Athletics (1969-1976)Edit

Tenace was selected in baseball's first entry draft, being taken in the 20th round of the 1965 Major League Baseball Draft by the then Kansas City Athletics.[4] Tenace made his major league debut for Oakland on May 29, 1969 against the Detroit Tigers at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum where he went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts in a 8-4 Oakland loss.[5] He hit the first home run of his career on June 6, 1969 at Tiger Stadium against Earl Wilson of the Detroit Tigers.[6] He finished the 1969 season with a .158 batting average, 1 home run and 2 runs batted in, appearing in just 38 games as a third-string catcher.[1]

He continued to play the next two years as the third-string catcher before serving as Dave Duncan's backup in 1971.[7] Tenace entered the 1972 season backing up Duncan, but was given a chance to show his abilities by being made the team's regular catcher in the post-season. Tenace took full advantage of this opportunity, excelling in the 1972 playoffs and World Series. In the 1972 American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers, he drove in the clinching run in Oakland's 2-1 victory in game 5; it was his only hit of the series.[8]

He put himself in the spotlight once again in Game 1 of the 1972 World Series when the Athletics faced the Cincinnati Reds. He became the first player to hit home runs in his first two World Series at bats and drove in all three runs in the A's 3-2 victory.[9] In Game 4, the A's were losing 2-1, with their only run to that point coming on Tenace's solo home run.[10] A ninth-inning one-out rally consisting of four singles, with Tenace's the second and the rest coming from pinch hitters, won the game against Cincinnati's ace relief pitcher, Clay Carroll.[11] He hit a three-run home run in the A's Game 5 loss.[12] Before Game 6 of the 1972 Series, he was the target of a death threat.[13] In Game 7, he was once again the hero, driving in two runs in a 3-2 victory for Oakland.[14] In total, he went 8 for 23 in the Series, with 4 home runs and nine RBI to earn the World Series Most Valuable Player Award.[15]

Tenace's heroics helped him earn a full-time job in Oakland's lineup. He served as the team's starting first baseman for two seasons, while still serving as the backup catcher to Ray Fosse. He had his roles reversed in 1975, starting at catcher while backing up first base. As a regular starter for the A's, Tenace had a low batting average but a fair amount of power, hitting 20 home runs in four consecutive years in Oakland, finishing among the top 10 home run hitters in the American League each year. He further made up for his lack of a high batting average by sporting a tremendous batting eye. He drew over 100 walks in a season three times for Oakland, and led the American League in walks in 1974, making up for a career-low .211 average that year.[16] Statistically, his best year with Oakland was in 1975, when he hit a career-best 29 home runs and drove in 83 runs, drew 106 walks, finished 18th in the American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting and was selected to be the starting first baseman for the American League in the 1975 All-Star Game.[1][17][18]

[edit] San Diego (1977-1980)Edit

Tenace was one of several Athletics who became free agents after the 1976 season and participated in a newly created re-entry draft, in which teams acquired the rights to negotiate with veteran free agents. Tenace and teammate Rollie Fingers were the first players from that draft to sign, with both joining the San Diego Padres in December of that year.[19] In four years as a starter with the Padres, his power numbers dropped in part due to the cavernous dimensions of San Diego Stadium, only reaching 20 home runs once; but his batting eye remained, recording three more seasons of 100 walks, with a career best of 125 in 1977.[1] In 1979, Tenace led National League catchers with a .998 fielding percentage, committing only 1 error in 94 games.[20] He recorded an on base percentage of over .390 in each of his years in San Diego, and finished 3rd in the National League in that department in 3 consecutive years.[1]

[edit] St. Louis (1981-1982)Edit

After the 1980 season, Tenace, Fingers, and two others joined the St. Louis Cardinals in a trade for Terry Kennedy and six minor league players.[19] In his two years in St. Louis, Tenace primarily played against left-handed pitchers, platooning with Darrell Porter. As a member of the Cardinals team he won the 1982 World Series, giving him four World Series rings.[21]

[edit] Pittsburgh (1983)Edit

Tenace played his final season as a utility player and pinch-hitter, appearing in 53 games for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1983. He retired after being released the following year in spring training.

[edit] Coaching careerEdit

Tenace became a coach after retiring as a player. He was touted as a possible managerial candidate during his later years. The Pittsburgh Pirates became strongly interested in the possibility of hiring Tenace as their manager to replace Chuck Tanner. When the year ended, however, Tanner was still the manager so, Tenace became a coach at the Major League level with the Houston Astros in 1986 and 1987, and later coached with the Toronto Blue Jays from 1990 to 1997.[22][23] When manager Cito Gaston was sidelined with a herniated disc in 1991, Tenace served as the team's interim manager, going 19-14 and keeping Toronto competitive en route to an eventual American League Eastern Division title.[24] He was part of Toronto's World Series-winning teams in 1992 and 1993, giving him 6 rings in 6 World Series appearances as a player and a coach. Tenace has also served as a hitting instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals organization.[25] He was re-hired as the Blue Jays' hitting coach on June 20, 2008, when Cito Gaston replaced John Gibbons as the team's manager. Tenace replaced hitting coach Gary Denbo. He was one of two members of Gaston's old coaching staff from his last World Series championship team who were brought back to the team (third base coach Nick Leyva being the other).[26]

[edit] Hitting ApproachEdit

Tenace advocates a more aggressive approach to hitting. Under his guidance, hitters spend less time working the count and more time preparing to hit. He stresses the mental part of hitting, such as the mental preparation for what a pitcher will do, rather than just the physical aspect.[27] Under Tenace, the philosophy of hitting can be described as "Grip It And Rip It" and more of an old school approach to hitting.[28]

Before Gaston was hired the Blue Jays had a record of 35-39 and since Gaston and his coaches took over the Blue Jays went 51-37 to finish with an 86-76 record on the season. The offensive improvements under Gaston are one of the reasons for the resurgence and as the hitting coach, Tenace has been credited with rejuvenating a stagnant offense. Adam Lind credited his great offensive numbers in the month of July and August to the coaching styles of Gaston and Tenace, saying: "The thing is, a lot of people can teach you how to hit, but not a lot of people can teach you how to hit in the big leagues," referring to the major league experience of Gaston and Tenace.[29] Blue Jays' center fielder Vernon Wells has said he likes the approach to hitting that Tenace teaches: "One thing Gene talks about is having that approach mentally when you go up there, in your mind you already guarantee yourself that one run on third, but you want to do more than that. Gene always says that first runner is a gimme, you should be able to come through in pretty much every situation like that. And then you try to do more damage than just that one run".

[edit] Career statisticsEdit

In a 15 year career, Tenace played in 1555 games, accumulating 1060 hits in 4390 at bats for a .241 career batting average along with 201 home runs, 674 runs batted in and an on base percentage of .388.[1] He not only caught nearly 900 games, but also played first base over 600 times.[1] Tenace ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage as a catcher and a .993 fielding percentage as a first baseman.[1] He reached 20 home runs in five of his seven seasons as a regular, with a high of 29 in 1975.[1] After becoming an everyday player in 1973, he did not have an on-base average below .370 until his final year; his OBP was above .400 five times and over .390 (about 60 points above the league average) an additional three times, ending his career with an impressive .388 on base percentage.[1] Six times he drew more than 100 bases on balls, and he led his league twice.[1] He set the American League record for having the lowest batting average while leading the league in walks in 1974 when he posted a .211 batting average with a league-leading 110 walks.[30] In 1977, he had a .415 on base percentage while posting a .233 batting average, the second lowest batting average with a .400 on base percentage in major league history.[31] Less than half of his career trips to first base came via base hits, reaching 1,075 times through walks (984) and being hit by pitches (91) as opposed to only 1,060 hits.

Chuck Rosciam, a Baseball historian and a member of the Society for American Baseball Research, believes that Tenace deserves a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame.[32] Using six offensive measures: Average, On-base percentage, Slugging, RBIs, Runs created and Win shares—all League-Era adjusted, Rosciam ranks Tenace sixth offensively behind Mickey Cochrane, Mike Piazza, Bill Dickey, Gabby Hartnett and Joe Torre among catchers. Tenace is tied for third in OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage) with Johnny Bench and Torre. He's only behind Roy Campanella and Yogi Berra.[33]


Year Age Team Lg G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB SH SF IBB HBP GDP
1969 22 Oakland AL 16 38 1 6 0 0 1 2 0 0 1 15 .158 .200 .237 25 9 0 0 0 1 0
1970 23 Oakland AL 38 105 19 32 6 0 7 20 0 2 23 30 .305 .430 .562 176 59 0 0 2 0 2
1971 24 Oakland AL 65 179 26 49 7 0 7 25 2 1 29 34 .274 .381 .430 132 77 1 0 0 2 3
1972 25 Oakland AL 82 227 22 51 5 3 5 32 0 0 24 42 .225 .307 .339 97 77 2 0 2 3 4
1973 26 Oakland AL 160 510 83 132 18 2 24 84 2 2 101 94 .259 .387 .443 139 226 8 7 8 10 13
1974 27 Oakland AL 158 484 71 102 17 1 26 73 2 9 110 105 .211 .367 .411 130 199 2 4 6 12 10
1975 28 Oakland AL 158 498 83 127 17 0 29 87 7 4 106 127 .255 .395 .464 145 231 3 4 2 12 8
1976 29 Oakland AL 128 417 64 104 19 1 22 66 5 4 81 91 .249 .373 .458 149 191 1 5 2 4 7
1977 30 San Diego NL 147 437 66 102 24 4 15 61 5 3 125 119 .233 .415 .410 133 179 2 4 10 13 5
1978 31 San Diego NL 142 401 60 90 18 4 16 61 6 5 101 98 .224 .392 .409 134 164 0 2 8 11 5
1979 32 San Diego NL 151 463 61 122 16 4 20 67 2 6 105 106 .263 .403 .445 139 206 1 6 4 7 7
1980 33 San Diego NL 133 316 46 70 11 1 17 50 4 4 92 63 .222 .399 .424 137 134 0 4 11 4 11
1981 34 St. Louis NL 58 129 26 30 7 0 5 22 0 0 38 26 .233 .416 .403 131 52 1 2 2 4 1
1982 35 St. Louis NL 66 124 18 32 9 0 7 18 1 1 36 31 .258 .436 .500 161 62 0 1 1 4 1
1983 36 Pittsburgh NL 53 62 7 11 5 0 0 6 0 1 12 17 .177 .346 .258 68 16 0 0 0 4 0
Totals: 1555 4390 653 1060 179 20 201 674 36 42 984 998 .241 .388 .429 136 1882 21 39 58 91 77

[edit] Notable AchievementsEdit

[edit] Appearances in Other MediaEdit

[edit] See alsoEdit

[edit] ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m "Gene Tenace". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/tenacge01.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  2. ^ "Post-Season World Series MVP Awards & All-Star Game MVP Award Winners". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/postmvp.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  3. ^ http://www.thebaseballpage.com/players/tenacge01.php
  4. ^ 1965 Major League Draft 20th Round at The Baseball Cube
  5. ^ "May 29, 1969 Tigers-Athletics box score". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK196905290.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  6. ^ "June 6, 1969 Athletics-Tigers box score". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/DET/DET196906060.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  7. ^ "1971 Oakland Athletics". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/OAK/1971.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  8. ^ "Gene Tenace post-season statistics". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/t/tenacge01.shtml#batting_postseason. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  9. ^ Murray, Jim (January 1973). How The A's Curbed the Big Red Machine. Books.Google.com. http://books.google.com/books?id=RDIDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA30&lpg=PA30&dq=gene+tenace+baseball+digest&source=bl&ots=Pz1ur8jsbF&sig=NnPwVDGtw_ltOSgd8UovsFlJ5zE&hl=en&ei=dkWqTMrdG9GUswaBkeG6DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=4&sqi=2&ved=0CCEQ6AEwAw#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  10. ^ "1972 World Series Game 4 box score". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK197210190.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  11. ^ http://www.baseballlibrary.com/ballplayers/player.php?name=Gene_Tenace_1946
  12. ^ "1972 World Series Game 5 box score". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/OAK/OAK197210200.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  13. ^ Fimrite, Ron (1973-04-02). "A Hero Finds There's No One For Tenace". Sports Illustrateddate=1973-04-02. http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1087206/index.htm. Retrieved 2008-11-05.
  14. ^ "1972 World Series Game 7 box score". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CIN/CIN197210220.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  15. ^ "Video". CNN. 2007-07-02. http://vault.sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1111928/index.htm. Retrieved 2010-05-03.
  16. ^ "1974 American League Batting Leaders". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/AL/1974-batting-leaders.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  17. ^ "1975 American League Most Valuable Player Award balloting". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/awards/awards_1975.shtml#ALmvp. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  18. ^ "1975 All-Star Game". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/ALS/ALS197507150.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  19. ^ a b "Gene Tenace Trades and Transactions". Baseball Almanac. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/trades.php?p=tenacge01. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  20. ^ "1979 National League Fielding Leaders". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/leagues/NL/1979-fielding-leaders.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  21. ^ "1982 World Series". Baseball Reference. http://www.baseball-reference.com/postseason/1982_WS.shtml. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  22. ^ "The Official Site of the Houston Astros: History: Astros All-Time Coaches". Major League Baseball. http://houston.astros.mlb.com/hou/history/coaches.jsp. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  23. ^ "The Official Site of the Toronto Blue Jays: History: Blue Jays All-Time Coaches". Major League Baseball. http://toronto.bluejays.mlb.com/tor/history/coaches.jsp. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  24. ^ "Jays' Manager is Hospitalized". The New York Times. 1991-08-22. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9D0CE4DD1E3FF931A1575BC0A967958260. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  25. ^ St. Louis Cardinals (2006-12-12). "Cardinals make staff additions and promotions at minor league and scouting levels". Press release. http://stlouis.cardinals.mlb.com/news/press_releases/press_release.jsp?ymd=20061213&content_id=1760464&vkey=pr_stl&fext=.jsp&c_id=stl. Retrieved 2007-05-26.
  26. ^ http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/postedsports/archive/2008/06/20/gibbons-out-gaston-in-as-blue-jays-fire-manager-and-coaches.aspx
  27. ^ http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=8258
  28. ^ http://slam.canoe.ca/Slam/Baseball/MLB/Toronto/2008/06/23/5960621-sun.html
  29. ^ "Lind finds comfort in a big league approach". CBC News. 2008-07-29. http://www.cbc.ca/sports/baseball/story/2008/07/28/lind-feature.html.
  30. ^ Lowest Batting Average While Leading the League in Walks. Books.Google.com. November 1988. http://books.google.com/books?id=MDIDAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA14&lpg=PA14&dq=gene+tenace+baseball+digest&source=bl&ots=FmAEfQfzHi&sig=3nVEJkOQM1H3BNtSR9481MvDh7o&hl=en&ei=dkWqTMrdG9GUswaBkeG6DA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&sqi=2&ved=0CBUQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=gene%20tenace%20baseball%20digest&f=false. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  31. ^ Lowest Batting Average With .400 On Base Percentage. Books.Google.com. June 2004. http://books.google.com/books?id=GS4DAAAAMBAJ&pg=PA15&lpg=PA15&dq=gene+tenace+baseball+digest&source=bl&ots=4FXz-pYcAe&sig=yMov8IDJoEAYDP0YqCGwJnd6Bco&hl=en&ei=V0yqTNLJFIK0lQe3uO2KDQ&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=9&ved=0CDAQ6AEwCDgK#v=onepage&q&f=false. Retrieved 4 October 2010.
  32. ^ http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/submit/Rosciam_Chuck6.stm
  33. ^ http://www.torontosun.com/sports/columnists/bob_elliott/2008/09/08/6695111.html
  34. ^ http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1970/B09210OAK1970.htm

[edit] External linksEdit


Preceded by

Roberto Clemente

World Series MVP

1972

Succeeded by

Reggie Jackson

Preceded by

Roberto Clemente

Babe Ruth Award

1972

Succeeded by

Bert Campaneris

Preceded by

Cito Gaston

Toronto Blue Jays managers

1991 (interim)

Succeeded by

Cito Gaston

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