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Rick Sweet

Rick Sweet
Catcher / Coach
Born: (1952-09-07) September 7, 1952 (age 61)
Longview, Washington
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 8, 1978 for the San Diego Padres
Last MLB appearance
October 2, 1983 for the Seattle Mariners
Career statistics
Batting average .234
Home runs 6
Runs batted in 57
Teams

Ricky Joe (Rick) Sweet is a former professional baseball catcher. He played three seasons in Major League Baseball between 1978 and 1983, and has since had a long career as minor and major league coach and minor league manager. He was the manager of the Louisville Bats, the top farm club of the Cincinnati Reds, from 2005 to 2011 before being fired in the offseason. He stayed with the Reds organization as a roving catching instructor for their minor league teams.[1]

Early life

Sweet was born September 7, 1952 in Longview, Washington where he graduated of Mark Morris High School. He attended Gonzaga University, where he played college baseball for the Bulldogs from 1973-1975.[2][3]

Playing career

Sweet was drafted in the 3rd round of the secondary phase of the 1975 Major League Baseball Draft by the San Diego Padres. He spent six seasons in their organization, including one full season with the major league club in 1978, when he split time behind the plate with Gene Tenace. He batted .221 in 88 games.

In 1979 he was replaced by Bill Fahey, who had been acquired from the Texas Rangers. On his 1979 Topps baseball card, Rick is laughing. This is because teammate and friend Gene Tenace asked him jokingly how it felt hitting only one home run, which Rick started laughing and the photographer snapped the pic and it was placed on his baseball card.

After two seasons with the Triple-A Hawaii Islanders minor league team, Sweet's contract was purchased from the Padres by the New York Mets. He spent another full season at Triple-A in 1981, this time with the Tidewater Tides, then opened the 1982 with the Mets. He played just three games in the first six weeks of the season before having his contract sold to the Seattle Mariners, where he was made their starting catcher.

In both 1982 and 1983, Sweet played more games behind the plate than any other Mariners' catcher, appearing in a total of 181 games, batting .238. In November 1983, the Mariners acquired catcher Bob Kearney from the Oakland Athletics in a trade, and Sweet was released in March. Rather than return to the minor leagues, Sweet retired, and was named the Mariners' bullpen coach.

Post-playing career

After spending 1984 as a Mariners coach, he was moved into the scouting department for the next two seasons. In 1987, Sweet was named to his first managerial post, with the Bellingham Mariners of the Northwest League. He spent one more season managing in the Seattle organization with the Wausau Timbers, then moved to the Houston Astros system to manage the Osceola Astros.

Over the next seven seasons, Sweet moved his way up the Astros chain. In 1993, while managing the Triple-A Tucson Toros, he won his first championship, as the Toros won the Pacific Coast League title. By 1996, he was named to the Astros' coaching staff under manager Terry Collins. After one season as Houston's first base coach, he was let go along with Collins, and landed in the New York Mets organization for 1997.

After a season managing the Binghamton Mets, Sweet changed organizations once more, moving on to manage the Harrisburg Senators, the Double-A farm team of the Montreal Expos. In 1998, Sweet won his second league championship as a manager, leading Harrisburg to the Eastern League title.

Over the next several years, Sweet continued to manage, moving from the Expos organization to the Padres' system in 2001, the Detroit Tigers system for a season in 2004, and then finally the Reds' organization in 2005, when he was named to his current position as manager of their Triple-A farm team, the Louisville Bats. He led the team to three straight Western Division titles (2008–10) and was named the International League Manager of the Year in 2008 and 2009.[4]

Sweet was fired from the Bats after the 2011 season despite posting a winning record for the previous six years. He was hired by the Cincinnati Reds as a roving instructor for catchers.[5]

Notes

Sources

  • Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference (Minors)
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