Tigers name Brookens first base coach
Former 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.
That 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.”