John Russell (catcher)

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John Russell
1coach russell.jpg
Russell as coach of the Baltimore Orioles in 2011
Catcher / Outfielder / Manager
Born: (1961-01-05) January 5, 1961 (age 58)
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 22, 1984, for the Philadelphia Phillies
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1993, for the Texas Rangers
MLB statistics
Batting average.225
Home runs34
Runs batted in129
Managerial record186–299
Winning %.384
As a player

As manager

As a coach

Medal record
Men's baseball
Representing the  United States
World Games
Gold medal – first place 1981 Santa Clara Team competition

John William Russell (born January 5, 1961) is an American former catcher and outfielder in Major League Baseball (MLB), and former manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He played 10 seasons from 1984 to 1993 with the Philadelphia Phillies, Atlanta Braves and Texas Rangers, mostly as a platoon or reserve player.

Playing career[edit]

Born in Oklahoma City, Russell grew up in Oklahoma, and played college baseball for the University of Oklahoma after being selected by the Montreal Expos in the 4th round of the 1979 MLB Draft. In 1982 he was selected by the Phillies as the 13th overall pick in the draft. He made his major league debut with the Phillies on June 22, 1984, and stayed with the team through the 1988 season. After spending most of his first two seasons as a backup left fielder, he was the team's principal catcher in 1986 due to Darren Daulton suffering a year-ending injury,[1] and batted .241 with 13 home runs and 60 runs batted in. It was the Phillies' only winning season in his five years with the team, but they finished a distant second place in the division behind division rival and eventual champion New York Mets. He saw very little playing time in the next two years. He spent 1989 with the Braves, who purchased his contract in spring training. When the Braves released him at the beginning of the 1990 season he moved on to the Rangers, for whom he played until his retirement in 1993. While with the Rangers he caught Nolan Ryan's 6th career no-hitter on June 11, 1990. He ended his career with a .225 batting average, 34 home runs and 129 RBI in 448 games.[2]

Coaching career[edit]

Early positions[edit]

Upon his retirement as a player, he became a minor league manager for the Minnesota Twins. In 1999 he was named as the best Double-A managerial prospect by Baseball America. He left the Twins organization after the 2000 season; he interviewed with the Phillies for their vacant managerial spot, but the job went to Larry Bowa. Eventually he re-joined the Minnesota Twins as manager of the Edmonton Trappers. In 2002 Russell led Edmonton to a Pacific Coast League title, and was again honored by Baseball America, being named the best managerial prospect in the minors. The following year he was named the Pirates third-base coach, a job he held from 2003 to 2005. Russell was unpopular among some Pirates fans because of the frequency of runners he waved home that were thrown out at the plate. He was eventually fired, along with the rest of Lloyd McClendon's coaching staff, in 2005. After being fired Russell was named as manager of the Phillies AAA team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons, a position he held through 2006, until the Phillies switched affiliates to the Ottawa Lynx in 2007, with Russell still at the helm.[3]

Pittsburgh Pirates manager[edit]

Prior to the 2007 season, Russell interviewed for the Texas Rangers managerial vacancy; the position ultimately went to longtime Oakland A's third-base coach Ron Washington. On November 5, 2007 he was introduced as the Pirates manager, replacing Jim Tracy.[3] In February 2009, the Pirates extended his contract through the 2010 season.[4] During the 2010 season, the Pirates announced that John Russell's contract had been extended through the 2011 season; though the extension occurred during the previous off season, the Pirates waited until June to announce the new contract, a move unpopular with many fans.[5] On October 4, 2010, Russell was fired as the Pirates manager after a 105 loss season and an overall record of 186–299.[6][7]

Baltimore Orioles coach[edit]

On November 15, 2010, Russell was hired as the third base coach of the Baltimore Orioles. Due to ongoing knee issues, he traded coaching positions with Willie Randolph and became Bench Coach in June 2011.[8]

Managerial record[edit]

As of August 17, 2015
Team From To Regular season record Post–season record
W L Win % W L Win %
Pittsburgh Pirates 2008 2010 186 299 .384
Total 186 299 .384 0 0

Personal life[edit]

Russell is married to wife Jamie. He has three sons: Stone, Brooks, & Steel, the latter no longer plays for the Baltimore Orioles affiliate the Frederick Keys.[10]


  1. ^ James, Bill (1987). The Bill James Baseball Abstract 1987. Ballantine Books. pp. 86–87.
  2. ^ John Russell Statistics
  3. ^ a b "Sources: Russell to be named manager of Pirates". ESPN. November 3, 2007.
  4. ^ Finder, Chuck (21 February 2009). "Pirates extend manager's contract". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 21 February 2009.
  5. ^ "Pirates Quietly Gave Huntington, Russell Contract Extensions". The Pittsburgh Channel. 17 June 2010. Retrieved 19 September 2010.[permanent dead link]
  6. ^ Robinson, Alan (October 4, 2010). "Pirates fire manager Russell after 3 bad seasons". Associated Press. Retrieved February 17, 2011.
  7. ^ Langosch, Jenifer (October 4, 2010). "Russell relieved of duties as Pirates manager". Retrieved October 4, 2010.
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Buck Showalter". Baseball Reference. Sports Reference. Retrieved 23 December 2014.
  10. ^

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Ray Smith
Elizabethton Twins manager
Succeeded by
Jose Marzan
Preceded by
Al Newman
Fort Myers Miracle manager
Succeeded by
Mike Boulanger
Preceded by
Al Newman
New Britain Rock Cats manager
Succeeded by
Stan Cliburn
Preceded by
Garry Templeton
Edmonton Trappers manager
Succeeded by
Dave Huppert
Preceded by
Trent Jewett
Pittsburgh Pirates third base coach
Succeeded by
Jeff Cox
Preceded by
Gene Lamont
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons manager
Succeeded by
last manager
Preceded by
Dave Trembley
Ottawa Lynx manager
Succeeded by
last manager
Preceded by
Jeff Datz
Baltimore Orioles bench coach
Succeeded by
 Tim Cossins