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Monday, January 23, 2023

Mike Pazik worked hard, impressed as player; Then turned minors - and majors - coach

Mike Pazik started his playing career with high hopes, as the Yankees first round pick. He did get to the bigs, but not in New York, for three short stints with the Twins. Then injuries suffered a car crash ultimately ended his hopes for more, The Boston Globe wrote to start 1980.

But, with that, The Globe wrote, came the opportunity for a new career - as a coach and manager with the White Sox.

"When he played for us at Knoxville, he impressed everyone with his hard work," the White Sox' Dave Dombrowski told The Globe of the White Sox' new AA manager Pazik. "He helped Tony LaRussa, the manager, a lot with the young kids."

Pazik went on to help a lot of young players over a long post-playing career as a coach and manager in the minors - and then as a major league coach in the late 1990s with the White Sox in Chicago.

Pazik's long career in baseball began in 1971, taken by the Yankees 13th overall out of the College of Holy Cross in Massachusetts.

Pazik started with the Yankees between single-A Fort Lauderdale and AAA Syracuse. He went 5-5, with a 2.49 ERA between them. 

He returned to Syracuse for 1972 and stayed into 1974. He arrived with the Twins at AAA Tacoma early in 1974 and debuted in Minnesota in May 1975.

Pazik saw five outings with the Twins that year and five more in 1976. He got three final starts in 1977 and threw his last pitches in the minors in 1979.

He then started his post-playing career with the White Sox at Glens Falls in 1980. He coached at AAA Edmonton in 1981 and at single-A Appleton in 1982.

By 1989, he was with the Orioles at single-A Frederick. That August, he sized up the Orioles' Ben McDonald to The Baltimore Evening Sun.

"I can't give you enough accolades about this guy," Pazik told The Evening Sun. "We are just at the tip of the iceberg with him."

Pazik rejoined the White Sox as a scout in 1993. In 1995, he joined the big club as pitching coach. He spoke to The Chicago Tribune in July 1996 about another pitcher, the White Sox' Jason Bere, who was coming back from an arm injury. 

"We're taking it very slowly," Pazik told The Tribune. "A lot depends on how (the arm) feels. We want to make sure when he comes back there's not going to be any setbacks."

He stayed on as coach over at least four seasons. He's later credited as an advance scout with the Rockies in 2001 and scout with the Royals in 2006 and 2007.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:4,115
Made the Majors:1,364-33.2%-X
Never Made Majors:2,751-66.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:556
10+ Seasons in the Minors:336

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