"The goal is that at the end of the year, the player is better than when he started," Shoemaker told MLive. "Everybody here has strengths and weaknesses. You don't want a player to play at a low level. You want to help the player reach his potential."
Shoemaker spoke as the new manager of the Dodgers' single-A Great Lakes Loons. He also spoke with four decades of experience in the minors, initially as a player and then as a manager.
He has also spent those 40 years entirely with the same organization, the Los Angeles Dodgers, as a player, manager and coordinator.
Shoemaker's long career began in 1977, taken by the Dodgers in the 35th round of the draft out of Miami University in Ohio.
Shoemaker's career with the Dodgers started at single-A Clinton. He hit .322 in 76 games. He then returned to school to play his other sport, basketball.
Shoemaker helped Miami to a first-round win over defending champion Marquette. Shoemaker later got drafted by the Chicago Bulls in the sixth round of the NBA draft. Shoemaker stuck with baseball.
Shoemaker played 1978 at single-A Lodi, then 1979 between Lodi, AA San Antonio and AAA Albuquerque , then 1980 between San Antonio and Albuquerque.
Then Walter Alston, former Dodgers manager, helped nudge Shoemaker on to his post-playing career, Shoemaker recalled to The Las Vegas Sun in 2003.
"I credit him for backing me, telling the organization that, 'This would be a good guy to put into the coaching system,' " Shoemaker told The Sun. "I always wanted to get into coaching. If I had asked for my release, not accepting the coaching position in Vero Beach, I felt I'd be out of baseball in a couple of years."
Instead, Shoemaker started his long career as a minor league coach and manager with a coaching job at single-A Vero Beach. By 1987, he made manager and he's largely served as a manager since.
He helmed AA San Antonio Missions from 1989 to 1991. He later managed at AA for five seasons in the Southern League with Jacksonville. His time at Jacksonville earned him a spot in the Southern League Hall of Fame.
Shoemaker managed at AAA Las Vegas in 2003. He managed 2014 to 2017 in rookie ball for the Dodgers, and then 2018 at Great Lakes.
In 2015, Shoemaker won the Mike Coolbaugh Award, which honors baseball work ethic, game knowledge and player mentorship.
Hall of Fame Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda, then a special adviser to the club, praised Shoemaker then for winning the award.
"I have known Shoe for a long time and I can say without a doubt that he is one of the hardest workers I know," Lasorda said in a statement. "He continues to leave a great impression on the young ballplayers in the organization and I couldn't be prouder of him on all of his accomplishments."
- Las Vegas Sun, Jan. 30, 2003: 51s skipper Shoemaker passed on hoops career
- Ogden Standard-Examiner, Nov. 17, 2015: Raptors manager Shoemaker wins award for work ethic, mentoring
- MLive.com, April 2, 2018: Opening Day makes old new again for Great Lakes Loons, John Shoemaker
Players/Coaches Featured: 3,003
Made the Majors:1,100-36.6%
Never Made Majors:1,903-63.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 457
10+ Seasons in the Minors:276