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Template:Infobox MLB retired John William Russell (born January 5 1961 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma) is a former catcher and outfielder in Major League Baseball, and the current manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played 10 seasons from 1984 to 1993 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves, and Texas Rangers, almost entirely as a reserve player.
Russell grew up in Oklahoma, and chose to play college baseball for the University of Oklahoma after being selected by the Montreal Expos in the 4th round of the 1979 MLB Draft. In 1982 he was selected by the Phillies as the 13th overall pick in the draft. He made his major league debut with the Phillies on June 22, 1984, and stayed with the team through the 1988 season. After spending most of his first two seasons as a backup left fielder, he was the team's principal catcher in 1986 prior to the emergence of Darren Daulton, and batted .241 with 13 home runs and 60 runs batted in. It was the Phillies' only winning season in his five years with the team, but they finished a distant second place in their division behind the New York Mets. He saw very little playing time in the next two years. He spent 1989 with the Braves, who purchased his contract in spring training. When the Braves released him at the beginning of the 1990 season he moved on to the Rangers, for whom he played until his retirement in 1993. While with the Rangers he caught Nolan Ryan's 6th career no-hitter on June 11, 1990. He ended his career with a .225 batting average, 34 home runs and 129 RBI in 448 games.
Upon his retirement as a player, he became a minor league manager for the Minnesota Twins. In 1999 he was named as the best Double-A managerial prospect by Baseball America. He left the Twins organization after the 2000 season; he interviewed with the Phillies for their vacant managerial spot, but the job went to Larry Bowa. Eventually he re-joined the Twins as manager of the Edmonton Trappers. In 2002 Russell led Edmonton to a Pacific Coast League title, and was again honored by Baseball America, being named the best managerial prospect in the minors. The following year he was named the Pirates third-base coach, a job he held from 2003-2005. Russell was unpopular among some Pirates fans because of the frequency of runners he waved home that were thrown out at the plate, and was eventually fired from the team. After being fired Russell was named as manager of the Phillies AAA team, the Ottawa Lynx, a position he held through 2007.
Updated July 24, 2008
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