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Friday, September 23, 2022

Rick Hirtensteiner did his job over six pro seasons as player, many since as college coach at alma mater

Rick Hirtensteiner knew his career was about over in September 1994, he told Florida Today. He'd played six seasons and made AAA.

"But," he told Florida Today then at high-A Brevard County, "I'm here to do a job and help this club. That's supposed to be what you think about every day you come to the park, regardless of how long you've been doing it."

For Hirtensteiner, his days playing were, indeed, numbered. But his time in baseball was far from over. He soon turned to coaching in college, work he continues in 2022 as head coach at his alma mater, Pepperdine.

Hirtensteiner's career began in 1989, taken by the Angels in the eighth round of the draft out of Pepperdine.

At Pepperdine, Hirtensteiner made Team USA for the 1987 Pan Am Games. Going into that, Hirtensteiner explained to The Los Angeles Times his approach, essentially to ensure he gave his best.

"If I ever did badly at something when I was younger, I didn't feel well," Hirtensteiner told The Times. "If I don't give my best all the time, I feel kind of guilty, like I've cheated myself out of something."

Hirtensteiner started with the Angels at single-A Palm Springs and short-season Bend. He hit .248 over 62 games. He moved to single-A Quad City for 1990 and hit .220 in 87 games.

After Quad City, he realized he had a depth-perception issue and underwent therapy and received contact lenses, The Times wrote. The Angels then released him.

Hirtensteiner then signed with independent Salt Lake. He hit .356 in 70 games and earned a spot in the Expos system for 1992.

He played at AA Harrisburg in 1992, then started 1993 at AAA Ottawa. He saw 10 games there and played the rest of the year at independent St. Paul.

His final season came in 1994. He played between high-A Brevard County and AA Portland. He hit .251 to end his career.

Hirtensteiner soon turned to coaching, as a volunteer assistant at Lamar College in Texas. He then soon returned to Pepperdine as an assistant coach, a job he held for 17 years. In 2015, he moved up to head coach

"Rick has contributed significantly to our program as an assistant coach and I am convinced he will continue the strong leadership and the championship tradition of our baseball program for many years to come," Pepperdine director of athletic Steve Potts, was quoted as saying upon Hirtensteiner's promotion. "We are fortunate to have Rick as our new head coach."

The 2023 season is set to be Hirtensteiner's eighth as Pepperdine head coach.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,032
Made the Majors:1,340-33.2%
Never Made Majors:2,692-66.8%-X
5+ Seasons in the Majors:547
10+ Seasons in the Minors:332

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