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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Glenn Hoffman, More Confidence - Playing Days

Glenn Hoffman got 89 hits his rookie year in 1980 with the Red Sox, good for a .285 average.

A good number of those hits, Red Sox manager Don Zimmer told The Associated Press that September, were big ones. Hoffman just felt himself getting better.

"I'm getting more confidence each time out," Hoffman told The AP then on the occasion of another big hit helping Boston to a win. "I'm not really a big RBI man, but I've learned a lot. Much of it has been concentration. I try to look for a better pitch with men on base."

Hoffman went on to a playing career that spanned nine big league seasons. He has since gone on to a long career as a minor league manager and major league coach, helping others to learn that same confidence.

Hoffman's professional career began in 1976, taken by the Red Sox in the second round of the draft out of Savanna High School in California. He started at short-season Elmira, making AAA for the first time his second year.

Hoffman stayed at Pawtucket through 1979. Then, in 1980, Hoffman got the news that that he'd made the big club. Hoffman met the news like almost any young player making the big leagues for the first time.

"It's been a dream since I started playing baseball as a little boy to make the big leagues," Hoffman told UPI that April, "and now that I'm here, it's hard to believe."

After that rookie campaign, though, Hoffman hit poorly. He hit .231 in the strike-shortened 1981 season. Hoffman came back in 1982, though, looking to rebound.

"I worked hard during the offseason, added some solid weight and feel confident again," Hoffman told The AP in March. "I'm definitely more relaxed than a year ago and I think I'm stronger and quicker with the bat."

Hoffman, though, responded by hitting even worse, .209. He rebounded in 1983 with a .260 average. But his year also ended that September with a bad knee injury. That injury resulted in him only getting into 64 games in 1984, hitting just .189.

Hoffman had another rebound year in 1985, hitting .279 in 96 games. Going into 1986, though, Hoffman suffered other health issues. Headaches and blurriness helped limit his major league playing time to just 12 games.

He played sparingly in April and early May, but returned for some games in September. He returned from his illness after playing well in an exhibition. He also got a partial standing ovation, The Patriot Ledger Sports Service wrote.

It's "a big step for Glenn," Red Sox manager John McNamara told the sports service after that exhibition. "He got his feet wet again and he looked pretty good."

Hoffman's time back, though, consisted of four appearances and four at bats, without a hit.

Hoffman played in just two more big league seasons. In 1987, he got into 21 games with the Red Sox, traded in August to the Dodgers. There, Hoffman got into 40 games. Overall, he hit .214.

After spending 1988 back with the Red Sox at AAA Pawtucket, Hoffman got his final 48 big league appearances in 1989 with the Angels. He hit .212.

Hoffman's playing career ended in 1990, signing back with the Dodgers. Hoffman got into 24 games at AAA Albuquerque, but he also served the team as a coach.

The coach part began Hoffman's long post-playing career that has included more than a decade coaching in the majors, and time spent as manager of the Dodgers.

For Hoffman's coaching career go to: Glenn Hoffman, Also Instruction

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