Fellow managers endorse Arizona Diamondbacks’ skipper Chip Hale
Feb 24, 2015, 1:15 PM | Updated: 1:15 pm
PHOENIX — Cactus League managers and general managers gathered Monday at the Arizona Biltmore to field questions from the media about the years ahead, the winters behind and — in the case of Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin and Cincinnati Reds manager Bryan Price — colleagues of old.
Now at the helm of the Arizona Diamondbacks is, of course, one time comrade of Melvin and Price, first-year manager Chip Hale.
The three first converged in Phoenix, working together from 2007-09 while Melvin managed the D-backs. And once again Monday, they all sat in the same room — a Biltmore ballroom in Phoenix — but this time represented three different clubs.
The new affiliations, however, didn’t keep them from commending one another, reminiscing about a foregone era of D-backs history.
That era, of course, includes the 90-win campaign in 2007, which saw the D-backs make the National League Championship Series for the second time in franchise history. Hale was the third base coach during that run; Price was the pitching coach.
Price is now in his second year over the Reds while Hale left Melvin’s A’s following a Wild Card playoff game ouster in October to take over the transitioning D-backs, becoming the last of the trio to secure a spot as a skipper in the majors.
“I pull for good people and for people who have earned the right to have this opportunity and I don’t think anybody would argue that Chip hasn’t earned the right to manage at the big league level,” Price said Monday of Hale’s promotion.
“He’s done everything you can do — he’s been a tremendous manager in the minor leagues, he’s been a very successful bench coach, he’s got great leadership and organizational skills, he’s a tremendous communicator.”
Hale, indeed, was very successful with lower level D-backs affiliates, which he managed for a total of six seasons at various levels, once leading the Triple-A Tucson Sidewinders to a Pacific Coast League championship after attaining to a franchise-best 92-53 regular season record.
“If you were to look at Chip’s résumé, there’s nothing that you would look at that’s detracting,” Price went on. “I’m his friend, but I’m a fan.”
Both Price and Melvin happily obliged to answer questions about their former comrade — and fellow Bay Area native — raving about his abilities while admitting to their similarities with him.
Melvin, who with Hale in the dugout has reached the postseason in each of the three most recent seasons, described his former bench coach as “very energetic, very prepared, very communicative,” saying he was able to draw the best out of players.
“As far as philosophies go, we probably share a lot of the same philosophies: Trying to get guys in the best spots, match up when you can,” the A’s manager continued.
Hale’s makeup, Melvin went on, puts him in rare company.
“He’s unique in his skills set in that he understands the intricacies of all of the different positions, and that’s very rare,” he said. “Guys specialize in certain areas; he’s very well-versed.
“Cal Ripken Sr. when I was in Baltimore was really the only other coach I can remember being so well-versed in every area. And again, that’s a unique trait.”
In a shade of irony, Hale himself would later that afternoon sit in the seat Melvin occupied Monday.
“I think what ends up happening is you work with good people and you get opportunities,” he explained. “People realize that the people you’re around kind of mentor you and help you.”