Tigers name Brookens first base coach

brookenserie.jpgFormer Tigers infielder Tom Brookens is headed back to Detroit, this time to join manager Jim Leyland’s coaching staff as the new first-base, outfield and baserunning coach.

The Tigers announced Brookens Monday as their replacement for Andy Van Slyke, who parted ways with the club last month. It’ll be the first big-league coaching job for Brookens, who built his resume managing in the Tigers farm system for the past five years after playing a decade in Detroit.

“Tom Brookens is a quality baseball person that I have known since managing him in the minor leagues,” manager Jim Leyland said in a statement. “He has been a member of the Tigers family for many years and we feel he is a perfect fit for our major league staff.”

Brookens will make the jump from Double-A Erie, where he managed the SeaWolves to a 71-70 this year while working with prospects such as Alex Avila, Scott Sizemore, Casper Wells, Ryan Strieby, Brennan Boesch, Alfredo Figaro, Cody Satterwhite and Robbie Weinhardt. It marked his second year in Erie after managing Class A West Michigan to a Midwest League championship in 2007.

Brookens began his managerial career in 2005 managing the Tigers’ short-season Class A team in Oneonta, NY.

brookenscard.jpgThat type of resume resonated with Leyland, a longtime manager in the Tigers’ farm system in the 1970 and ’80s who got his chance as a coach with Tony La Russa’s staff on the 1983 White Sox. Leyland has talked frequently about the value of managing in the minors before getting a shot in the big leagues. He also said last month that he would almost surely fill the coaching vacancy from inside the organization.

It was during Leyland’s Minor League days that he got to manage a young Brookens in the late 1970s at Triple-A Evansville.

“I’m really excited about getting the opportunity to join the staff in Detroit,” Brookens said. “It will be fun to be back in the big leagues in a Tigers uniform, and I’m looking forward to working with Jim and the rest of the staff.”

7 Comments

Our next manager has just joined the club. Welcome back to Detroit, Tom.
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–Rich

Tommy was my favorite player growing up – I have his Whitecaps bobblehead proudly displayed on my desk, right next to his Starting Lineup figurine. Welcome back to the bigs, Tom, can’t wait to see you back in the Olde English D!

Tom Brookens should be a real good guy. Interesting he has taken on responsibility for the outfielders though. He played parts of 7 games in the field in his MLB career!
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Wonder where his cousin Ike is?

Great blogging as always, Jason. Hey, I want to ask you and your audience who are members of the MLBlogs community to please leave a comment at http://mlblogs.mlblogs.com with any wish-list items you would like to see in terms of our MLBlogs functionality both in the software and on the blog pages. Reloading the big guns for 2010 blogging and beyond and want to make sure we have all of our existing MLBloggers’ wishes represented, everything considered and could be any platform (currently Movable Type). Nothing would be lost if we make transfers but right now just need to get the wishlist out there…and fast. Have about two-dozen musts already, from video uploading to speed to easier photo usage and so forth. Would need this tonight or first half of day tomorrow. Can you please spread the word and thanks everyone who helped make this the best and biggest baseball blogging community in traffic and volume of blogs. Thanks as always the leadership in blogging. – Mark/MLB

Great to have Tom Brookens back with the Tigers. Do you think he can sneak in some hitting tips since they still have McClendon as the hitting coach? Off this topic, what would be the pitfalls of offering a contract and/or arbitration to every one of their free agents. I know they can get a high draft pick for Polanco if he chooses to go elsewhere. In the case of Washburn, since it appears he will leave no matter what, it would be a good move to get something for him in the draft since they did give up French in the deal. They may not be able to afford both Lyon and Rodney but again they can get a draft pick for one of them. The mystery may be Huff. He is a LHB they were looking for, and he wasn’t used well by the wise old owl, but if he chose to leave, how about another draft pick? Am I simplifying these moves too much? Is there more to consider?

Mac will remain the hitting coach. I will say, though, that it wasn’t unheard of for Andy Van Slyke to add a tip every so often if somebody came to him and he thought it might help.
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On your other topic, the only Tigers free agents who qualify for compensation are Polanco (Type A), Rodney (Type B) and Lyon (Type B). Everett, Washburn and Huff would not qualify for a draft pick, so they won’t be offered arbitration. I think it’s going to be pretty tempting for the Tigers to offer Polanco arbitration. Not so sure about Rodney and Lyon.

Well, this is all certainly exciting. A people person, eh? Be nice if he could do the interviews after the games, so we wouldn’t have to watch the Skipper eat his dinner. Just kidding! I always thought VanSlyke was a people person, too. Always gave the players a “hug” when they got on first base. It sure will seem different watching Tom over at first instead of Andy. God, I miss baseball.

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