09/22/08 12:27 PM ET
Where are they now? Chris Hoiles
Former O's catcher enjoying role as Atlantic League manager
By Amanda Comak / MLB.com
The hardworking Hoiles, known as "Tractor Mechanic" to his Orioles teammates, spent 10 years in Baltimore simply embodying the "Oriole Way," a method of playing -- focused on fundamentals and basics -- that was ingrained in Orioles players during Hoiles development.
Ten years removed from his last game in an Orioles uniform, Hoiles, a career .262 hitter with 151 homers and a .467 slugging percentage, is still working at those same fundamentals that he was being taught 20 years ago as an Orioles prospect.
This time, however, the Orioles Hall of Famer is working on getting them through to his own players, in his second season managing the York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.
"It's a new venture for me," Hoiles said of his latest career. "This is the second year I've been doing it and it was something new for me as far as being a manger so I wanted to try it and see if I liked this side of it. Things have been going very well."
With his team leading its division for the second half of the season, Hoiles is getting through to his players on some level. Working with former Orioles pitcher Tippy Martinez, who serves as York's pitching coach, Hoiles has used his time since leaving the Major Leagues to test out what he refers to as "the other side" of the game.
Heading first to the college ranks, Hoiles spent time at both his alma mater, Eastern Michigan University, and Bowling Green as an assistant coach. However, when Adam Gladstone, the Revolution's director of baseball operations came calling, the opportunity seemed too good to pass up.
"It just started out by a phone call," Hoiles said. "Adam Gladstone just called me one day. I'd been doing some work at the college level for about the last seven years, and Adam called me and gave me a little bit of a rundown about York and the league and it just started to make sense to me to give it a shot.
"It was just a whole lot of exciting factors that sold me on this, I knew it was going to be a big thing and [managing] was something that I was looking to do, something that I was hoping to do."
ARI: Travis Lee | ATL: Mark Lemke
BAL: Chris Hoiles | BOS: Bill Lee
CHC: Randy Hundley | CIN: Eric Davis
CWS: Dan Pasqua | CLE: Dave Burba
COL: Curtis Leskanic | DET: Steve Sparks
FLA: Charlie Hough | HOU: Doug Drabek
KC: Mike Macfarlane | LAA: Rick Reichardt
LAD: Jim Gott | MIL: Don Sutton
MIN: Kevin Tapani | NYM: Ed Kranepool
NYY: Jim Abbott | OAK: Ben Grieve
PHI: Tommy Greene | PIT: Barry Jones
STL: B. Tewksbury | SD: C. Hernandez
SF: Brian Johnson | SEA: Henry Cotto
TB: Doug Creek | TEX: Dave Hostetler
TOR: Alex Gonzalez | WAS: W. Fryman
The ALPB is an independent baseball league that began in 1998 -- although the York team is in just its second year of existence -- that is designed for more experienced Minor League players. It's meant to concentrate on signing six-year professional players. In short, it isn't exactly Rookie Ball.
That is where Hoiles experience comes in handy.
"Baltimore is a great town to play in and the fans were great, but I just think that being able to take what I did there and apply it to where I'm at right now, I think, goes a long way," Hoiles said. "Being able to deal with players not only from a professional, playing-side level, but I've been through exactly what they've been through and I think that goes a long way with the players.
"Being an ex-player at that level gives you a respect factor from other players that you have been there, especially when things are going bad."
And when he's not busy with York's 140-game schedule, Hoiles has been enjoying spending time with his wife, Dana, and three sons. With Dalton, 12, Derek, 9, and Drew, 7, all in school and getting active in sports, Hoiles takes full advantage of having the entire winter off to be a fan.
"Dalton is going to start middle school football, and I've been able to watch him play basketball in the winter and baseball in the beginning of the spring season," he said. "It's nice with that schedule, and where Spring Training is only about a week and a half, I'm able to see quite a bit."
Amanda Comak is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.