Dec. 16, 2008, Evansville, Ind. – The Evansville Otters announced today the hiring of veteran minor league manager Wayne Krenchicki as their new Field Manager. Krenchicki, who spent parts of eight seasons in the major leagues, replaces Jason Verdugo, who has stepped down after leading Evansville to a 39-57 record in 2008.
A native of Ewing, N.J., Krenchicki has compiled a 1,075-1,052 record in 18 years as a minor league manager. He has spent the last 14 years managing in the independent leagues. His record over the past seven seasons is 510-398.
“We’re very pleased that a manager of Wayne’s caliber would agree to come to Evansville,” said Otters’ president Bill Bussing. “He should be a strong addition to our franchise and to the league as a whole.”
Krenchicki, 54, began his managerial career directing the Milwaukee Brewers’ rookie club in the Arizona League in 1991. He spent the next three seasons managing Milwaukee’s Class A affiliate at Beloit in the Midwest League.
After serving as manager at Tyler, Texas, in the independent Texas-Louisiana League in 1995, Krenchicki managed for two seasons at Madison (Wis.) of the independent Northern League. He has spent the past 11 seasons in the independent Atlantic League, which he leaves as the second winningest manager in league history.
Krenchicki steered the Camden (N.J.) Riversharks to the league’s best record each season from 2002 through 2005. He was voted the league’s Manager of the Year in 2002. Krenchicki led Newark to the Atlantic League championship in 2007, his first season with the Bears. Newark’s 72-54 regular season record in 2007 was a 30-win improvement over the previous season. The Bears set a league record with a team batting average of .302 in 2007.
A 1972 graduate of Ewing High School in Trenton, N.J., Krenchicki was chosen by Philadelphia in the eighth round of the 1972 amateur draft. Rather than signing with the Phillies, Krenchicki accepted a scholarship to the University of Miami, where he played for College Baseball Hall of Fame coach Ron Fraser. As a sophomore in 1974, Krenchicki played in the title game of the 1974 College World Series, where the Hurricanes lost to the University of Southern California. In 1975 he led Miami with a .355 batting average, 32 stolen bases and 47 RBIs.
In 1973, Krenchicki helped Team USA win a gold medal at the Intercontinental Games in Managua, Nicaragua. Three years later, he earned a silver medal with Team USA in the 1976 Pan-American Games in Mexico City. Krenchicki’s home run propelled Boulder (Colo.) to victory in the final game of the 1975 National Baseball Congress World Series.
Krenchicki was selected by Baltimore in the first round of the secondary phase of the 1976 amateur draft, the seventh player chosen overall.
A third baseman, Krenchicki made his big league debut with the Orioles on June 15, 1979. Baltimore traded the left-handed hitter to Cincinnati for pitcher Paul Moskau after the 1981 season. He appeared in 94 games for the Reds in 1982, hitting .283 while backing up Johnny Bench at third base. Midway through 1983, Cincinnati dealt Krenchicki to Detroit for pitcher Pat Underwood, and then bought his contract back in November. Over the next two seasons, Krenchicki split time at third base with Nick Esasky in 1984 and Buddy Bell in 1985. His 6th-inning pinch hit grand slam off Alejandro Pena helped Cincinnati beat the Dodgers 4-2 in Los Angeles on Oct. 4, 1985. The Reds traded Krenchicki to Montreal for reliever Norm Charlton before the 1986 season. He appeared in 101 games for the Expos in 1986, his last year in the majors.
In 550 games over eight big league seasons, Krenchicki hit .266 with 15 home runs and 124 RBIs. His major league managers included Earl Weaver (1979 through 1981), John McNamara (1982), Russ Nixon (1982 and 1983), Sparky Anderson (1983), Vern Rapp (1984), Pete Rose (1984 and 1985), and Buck Rodgers (1986).
Krenchicki was inducted into Miami’s athletic Hall of Fame in 1990.
Additional Coaching Staff
The Otters’ 2009 staff will also include former major league relief pitcher Steve Foucault, who has served 14 seasons as Krenchicki’s pitching coach. Selected by the Washington Senators in 43rd round of the 1969 amateur draft, Foucault spent four years with the Texas Rangers before being traded to Detroit for outfielder Willie Horton before the 1977 season. Kansas City claimed Foucault off waivers from the Royals in 1978, his final year in the big leagues.
Foucault, 59, compiled a 35-36 career record in 277 games, earning 52 saves. His career ERA was 3.21. His major league managers included Whitey Herzog (1973 and 1978), Del Wilbur (1973), Billy Martin (1973 through 1975), Frank Lucchesi (1975 and 1976), and Ralph Houk (1977 and 1978).
Hitting Coach Ryan Jones, 34, rounds out the Otters’ 2009 staff. Chosen by Toronto in the second round of the 1993 amateur draft, Jones spent seven years in the Blue Jays’ organization. After hitting 20 home runs and driving in 97 runs at AA Knoxville (Tenn.) in 1996, he played with AAA Syracuse in the International League in 1997. During his 14-year minor league career, Jones also played for Detroit, Cleveland, Arizona and San Diego affiliates as well as for independent teams in Winnipeg (Canada), Berkshire (Mass.), and Camden (N.J.). As a first baseman, Jones compiled a career batting average of .253 in 1,514 games.
Jones spent last season as the hitting coach for the Newark Bears.