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Saturday, December 30, 2023

Kevin Long missed bigs as player, has seen four WS as coach

Kevin Long 1990 Baseball City Royals card

Royals minor leaguer Kevin Long made it his mission, his goal, in spring 1992 to make AAA, he told The Omaha World-Herald that May.

He made Omaha, and started strong, The World-Herald wrote. Long then set his sights higher.

"Now that I've made that, my goal is to make the big leagues," Long told The World-Herald. "Whether that comes this year, next year or whatever, I'm always striving to make that next step."

In a playing career that spanned eight seasons, Long never did take that next step. But he took it later, as a coach. 

He's since served 17 years in the majors as a hitting coach for four different teams. He's helped each of those teams to the World Series, two of them to titles.

Long's long career in baseball began as a player in 1989, taken by the Royals in the 31st round of the draft out of the University of Arizona.

Long started with the Royals at short-season Eugene. He hit .312 in 69 games. He moved to high-A Baseball City in 1990 and AA Memphis in 1991. He hit .275 in 106 games at Memphis.

For 1992, he played the year at AAA Omaha. He hit .228 in 88 games. He returned to Omaha for 17 games in 1993 then 22 more two seasons later in 1995. He finished his career at AA Wichita in 1996.

By 1998, he was hitting coach for the Royals high-A Wilmington. He made AA Wichita as hitting coach in 2000 and Omaha again in 2002.

He joined the Yankees as hitting coach at AAA Columbus for 2004. In 2007, he made the majors in the hitting coach in the Bronx. He then helped them to the 2009 World Series title.

Among the players he was credited as helping in 2010 was Nick Swisher, The New York Times wrote.

"He's brought back that belief that I've had in myself," Swisher told The Times, adding: "On top of being the best hitting coach in the game, he might be the best shrink in the game. That’s the relationship you need to have with your hitting coach."

He stayed with the Yankees through 2014. He then moved to the Mets, helping them to the 2015 World Series. Long joined the Nationals in 2018 - helping them to the 2019 World Series title.

Hired by the Phillies as their big league hitting coach for 2022, baseball veteran Kevin Long explained his role to

"I think it's my job to maximize their potential, to maximize our offense, as a whole," Long told of his Philadelphia hitters. "And we're going to start attacking that immediately. I'm already digging into film and numbers. There's a lot of things to do in a short time."

He then helped Philadelphia to the 2022 World Series. He's set to continue with the Phillies for 2024.

Kevin Long 1990 Baseball City Royals card

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,285
Made the Majors:1,390-32.4%
Never Made Majors:2,895-67.6%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:565
10+ Seasons in the Minors:347

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