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Sunday, June 23, 2013

Steve Swisher, Work and Success - 560

Originally published Aug. 10, 2011
Just named the manager of the AAA Tidewater Tides for 1990, Steve Swisher attempted to explain to The Newport News Daily Press his managerial style.

Swisher was a manager who emphasized the little things, he told The Daily Press.

"I believe in going from first to third on a single, throwing to the right base, hitting the cutoff man and taking out the second baseman on the double play," Swisher told The Daily Press. "To me that's what wins you games. You have to work a little at it, but success comes before work only in the dictionary.

Swisher was readying for his sixth season managing in the minors, shepherding young players on to the majors. The majors was a place he'd been as a player for nine seasons and a place he would return to years later as a bullpen coach for the Mets.

He would also go on to see another player make the majors, one he had a direct connection to: his son, Nick Swisher.

Steve Swisher's managerial career began in 1985, as manager of the single-A Waterloo Indians, three years after his playing career ended. He stayed at Waterloo for two seasons.

In his second season, one of his players was former football player Turner Gill. Swisher told The Milwaukee Journal in August, he wasn't sure if Gill would take to coaching. He also said his teammates respected his accomplishments in football.

"To accomplish those things, he had to make sacrifices," Swisher told The Journal. "That's what this is all about."

Going into 1988, Swisher had good things to say about another young Indians player, Jay Bell. Swisher managed Bell the previous year at Buffalo.

What Swisher liked, he told The Associated Press, was how Bell came back from a poor start that previous season. "He showed me so much maturity," Swisher told The AP.

Swisher managed 1988 at AAA Colorado Springs, then 1989 with the Mets at AA Jackson.

For 1990, he was named manager of Tidewater. That May, his team committed some errors, but they made the plays when it mattered, The Daily Press wrote.

"Defense to me boils down to individual pride," Swisher told The Daily Press. "You've got to want to play defense and these guys do. The errors we've committed have been aggressive errors."

Swisher spent two seasons at Tidewater, then two more at AA Binghamton. For 1994, he made Queens, as the Mets bullpen coach, staying there for three seasons.

In 1994, Swisher was credited with making the son of a former teammate into a major leaguer. Swisher worked with Todd Hundley, son of Randy Hundly.

"The biggest thing with him is getting him to concentrate on being mentally ready," Swisher told The New York Daily News in April 1995. "Everyone gets to a point in their career where they try to force things. You can't make things happen. You have to get to a comfortable point, a relaxed point. I wanted to get him to the point where he wasn't worried about failing"

Swisher later watched as another son of a former major leaguer worked his way to the majors, his own.

Nick Swisher was taken in the first round of the 2002 draft by the Athletics. The father was also taken in the first round 29 years earlier. Nick debuted in 2004. The father had his most recent credited managerial stint the next year, at AA Reading.

But, in 2001, as the son played at Ohio State, the father told The Lantern of Ohio State he looked forward to the day Nick made it.

"I hope and I pray to God it happens for him," Steve Swisher told The Lantern in 2001. "As they say life is about dreams and goals. That’s what everything’s about. If that’s what he wants to do and he’s willing to make sacrifices then I say go for it."

To read about Swisher's playing days, click here: Steve Swisher, Age and Maturity

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