Ramsey looks for fresh start as new Suns manager

January 15, 2002

Ramsey looks for fresh start as new Suns manager


For Mike Ramsey, Hagerstown is becoming the right place at the right time.

After last year, this neck of Maryland in the neck of Maryland just might be a haven for Ramsey as he becomes the new manager of the Suns.

The former major leaguer was officially announced as the Single-A South Atlantic League team's new boss Monday by the San Francisco Giants. Joining Ramsey will be Ross Grimsley at pitching coach and trainer Donna Papangellin.

"I'm really looking forward to being in Hagerstown," Ramsey said via telephone from his Tampa Fla., home. "At this point on my resume, I have managed at every level except rookie ball. the best part is that it's positive. The Giants have been a good organization to me and I'll be working for some good people."


Ramsey replaces manger Bill Hayes, who was promoted to manage San Jose, San Francisco's advance Single-A team in the California League. Hayes guided the Suns to a second-half championship and the playoffs.

Pitching coach Jerry Cram will also work in San Jose while Bert Hunter will be the manager of the Giants' rookie half-season team in Arizona.

Ramsey, who spent seven seasons in the majors as an infielder, comes to Hagerstown after spending two seasons managing the Orlando Rays, the Double-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. After a sub-par season (59-81), Ramsey made an even more frustrating exit.

"They told me that I wasn't going to return because of 'philosophical differences' in the way I ran the team," Ramsey said. "It wasn't a very good season. Everything we tried didn't work because of injuries. It wasn't a good year all the way around."

Ramsey shopped himself around for a new job, but found it tough to find one on the Double-A or Triple-A level. He called San Francisco's player development director Jack Hiatt to see if there were any openings with the Giants.

"Jack said that if X and Y happen, he's got a job in the South Atlantic League. Would I be interested?" Ramsey said.

Ramsey, 47, agreed and after some financial negotiations, he's on his way to Hagerstown.

"Some people would say this is a step back," Ramsey said. "I thought about it and I'm OK with it. I just want to have an impact in a positive fashion and teach some kids some things to do that will help them become major league ball players."

Ramsey, who managed in the SAL in 1992, carried a career average of .240 while playing for St. Louis, Montreal and Los Angeles. He played the bulk of his career with the Cardinals under manager Whitey Herzog as the backup for Hall of Fame nominated shortstop Ozzie Smith. He hit two home runs and drove in 57 runs in his career, which included scoring the winning run in game seven of the 1982 World Series.

Since retiring, he has managed in the San Diego, St. Louis and Tampa Bay organizations. He was voted manager of the year in the Southern League in 1998.

Ramsey might be considered a throwback to the Herzog-style of baseball.

"I like speed but I'm a pitching and defense guy," Ramsey said. "As a minor-league manager, you work with what the team gives you, but I like speed and balance. I like pitching. If you get things started on the mound, you have a great chance."

Grimsley was the Giants' roving pitching instructor last season. Papangellen has been with the Giants' training staff since 1995.

The group will make up what Ramsey said he hopes is creditable season for both the Suns and himself.

"I want to wipe last year out of my memory," Ramsey said. "I just look forward to working with a good organization and just getting back to basics of teaching younger players."

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