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Friday, March 12, 2021

Phil Hannon showed persistence, got pro contract; Saw five seasons, made AA, later coached

Phil Hannon couldn't get the scouts' attention at tiny Baker University in Kansas, so he went to them, according to The Wichita Eagle.

He did so by going to tryout camp after tryout camp in June 1986. His fifth, with the Cubs, finally paid off with a professional contract, The Eagle wrote.

"Being from a small college, I didn't think I'd get much recognition," Hannon told The Eagle after his signing. "But I knew I had talent, pro potential."

Hannon took that potential on to five pro seasons. He topped out at AA. Hannon, however, has since returned to Baker, first as a coach, then as an administrator.

Hannon's pro career began that year in 1986, signed by the Cubs out of Baker in Baldwin City, Kan.

The Kansas City Star later recounted Hannon's story and recounted his college coach's initial skepticism of Baker's pro hopes.

"By the time he was a junior, I told him, 'Phil, I think you're going to make it," Baker coach Dan Harris told The Star in May 1987.

Hannon started with the Cubs at rookie Wytheville. He hit .200 over 43 games. He then moved to short-season Geneva and saw a stint at single-A Winston-Salem for 1987. He hit .224 over 80 games that year.

He played 1988 at single-A Peoria, then 1989 back at Winston-Salem. He hit .237 at Peoria and .233 at Winston Salem. 

Hannon made AA Charlotte for 1990. He got into 98 games on the year and hit .205. That season proved his last as a pro.

Hannon then turned minors coach and manager. He served as hitting coach at short-season Geneva in 1991, then at rookie Huntington in 1992 and 1993. In 1994, he served as manager at high-A High Desert.

Hannon returned to Baker in 1999 and stayed on as coach through 2014, when he became the school's assistant director of development. He continues with the school's Office of Development in 2021.

Along the way, he coached another Baker player who went on to make the pros - and the majors, Vidal Nuño. Nuño also showed persistence, like his college coach, continuing on after an early release

"After getting cut from the Indians, he could have said, 'Hey, I'm done. I had my little shot,' " Hannon told AZCentral upon Nuño's arrival in the majors. "But he was persistent and said, 'Well, if somebody's willing to give me a chance, I'm going to take every advantage of this chance.' "

1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured:3,598
Made the Majors:1,246-34.6%
Never Made Majors:2,352-65.4%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:519
10+ Seasons in the Minors:305

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