By Maureen Mullen
BOSTON When the Red Sox announced their minor-league staffs on Wednesday there were two vacancies still remaining in the organization: the hitting coaches at Triple-A Pawtucket and Single-A Lowell.
According to sources, the two leading candidates for those jobs are ex-big league outfielderDH Chili Davis and former Red Sox catcher Rich Gedman. Davis is being considered for the Pawtucket job, while Gedman is up for Lowell's vacancy.
For Gedman, a job with Lowell would mark a reunion with the organization which signed him as an undrafted free agent in 1977 out of St. Peter-Marian High School in Worcester, Mass. A two-time All-Star, Gedman hit .252 with 88 home runs and 382 RBI in 13 seasons with the Red Sox, Astros and Cardinals.
Sox announce minor-league appointments for 2011
Gedman has been coaching and managing in the independent Can-Am League since 2003. For the past six seasons, he has managed his hometown Worcester Tornadoes. Prior to that he was the hitting coach for the North Shore Spirit in Lynn, Mass. He led Worcester to a league championship in 2005, its inaugural season, being named the leagues manager of the year.
Gedman recently met with farm director Mike Hazen, assistant farm director Ben Crockett, and assistant general manager Ben Cherington, but specifics of Lowell's job opening were not discussed.
I dont know where its going to go, he said. But I just wanted to meet them. I wanted them to know that Id be serious and I hope that they would appreciate that. And if they could find some value for me in the organization somewhere where I can help in the development of the young players, great. And I would be very appreciative of the opportunity.
It would give him the opportunity to rejoin the team with which he made his big league debut. Gedman was with the Sox from 19801990. He saw his first big-league action on Sept. 7, 1980 at Fenway Park, pinch-hitting for Carl Yastrzemski in a 12-6 loss to the Mariners.
Its where I grew up, said Gedman, now 51. From 17 to 30 years old I was in the Red Sox organization. They helped me become a man. They helped me deal with life. They gave me an opportunity. Im a Worcester kid that got a chance to play for the Red Sox. So to be given another opportunity in the organization, I would be thrilled by it. I dont think Ive ever stopped being a Red Sox fan, even after I was done playing. I couldnt be happier for the organization when they won the World Series. For me, it's full circle in a lot of ways, and I would cherish the opportunity.
In 1981 he finished second in American League Rookie of the Year balloting behind the Yankees Dave Righetti, just ahead of teammate Bobby Ojeda. His best offensive season was 1985, when he hit .295 with 18 home runs and 80 RBI in 144 games. He hit a career-best 24 home runs in 1984. In 1990 he was traded to the Astros, and later joined the Cardinals as a free agent. His final major-league game was Oct. 4, 1992.
He will always be a part of Red Sox lore. On April 18, 1981, he was the starting catcher in the Pawtucket Red Sox 3-2, 33-inning win over the Rochester Red Wings, the longest game in professional baseball history.
On April 29, 1986, he caught the first of Roger Clemens 20-strikeout games. The next day, he had 16 putouts, for a total of 36 in two games, a record for a catcher in consecutive games. He was also the catcher in the 10th inning of Game Six of the 1986 World Series against the Mets when Bob Stanley unleashed what was ruled a wild pitch with Mookie Wilson batting, allowing Kevin Mitchell to score the tying run. Red Sox fans dont need to be reminded what happened after that.
Davis, who was under consideration for the Triple-A manager job before Arnie Beyeler was promoted from Double-A Portland, was the hitting coach for the Australian National team for three years and served in the same role for the Dodgers' instructional league this past season. In 19 seasons with the Giants, Angels, Twins, Royals, and Yankees, Davis, a switch-hitter, hit .274 with 350 home runs and 1372 RBI in 2,435 games primarily as a designated hitter.
He is fourth all-time in home runs by a switch-hitter.
Davis, who turns 51 in January, was selected in the 11th round of the 1977 draft by the Giants out of Dorsey High in Los Angeles, making his big league debut in 1981. A three-time All-Star, he finished fourth in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 1982. He hit a career-high .315 in 1984, 30 home runs in 1997, and 112 RBI in 1993.
Davis' best season was arguably the strike-shortened 1994, when he hit .311 with 26 home runs and 84 RBI in 108 games. He won World Series in 1991 with the Twins, and in 1998 and 1999 with the Yankees. His final regular-season game was Oct. 3, 1999. Davis is the first player born in Jamaica to appear in a big league game.
Maureen Mullen is on Twitter at http:twitter.commaureenamullen