The Orioles have chosen former major league outfielder Mark Quinn as their new assistant hitting coach, with multiple sources confirming the hire. The club is expected to make the announcement on Thursday if the paperwork is completed.
Quinn and Milt Thompson were two of the finalists for the job. Thompson is expected to remain in his current role as Royals minor league outfield/baserunning/bunting coordinator.
Quinn, 41, wasn’t working for an organization. He owns a baseball academy in Houston that’s considered among the best in the country.
The position of assistant hitting coach opened up when the Orioles decided to move Einar Diaz to their bullpen as a replacement for Rudy Arias. Diaz will continue working with hitters, but he’s taking on additional in-game responsibilities.
Quinn spent four seasons with the Royals from 1999-2002 and batted .282/.324/.481. He finished third in Rookie of the Year voting in the American League in 2000 after hitting .294/.342/.488 with 33 doubles, two triples, 20 home runs and 78 RBIs in 135 games.
Injuries limited Quinn to 23 games in 2002 and he never made it back to the majors. He retired in 2007 after being released by the Royals, Padres, Rays, Padres (again) and Cardinals. He later was granted free agency by the Cardinals and White Sox.
An 11th-round pick by the Royals in 1995 out of Rice University, Quinn became only the third player in history to homer twice in his major league debut on Sept. 14, 1999.
Quinn averaged 31 walks over a 162-game season. After drawing a free pass from Anaheim’s Jarrod Washburn for his first unintentional walk in 242 consecutive plate appearances, Kauffman Stadium fireworks went off and the scoreboard flashed “Walk! Walk!”
According to an Associated Press story, Quinn smiled as he reached first base and later said, “I looked over at the pitcher and he was laughing, too. I’m just glad to get that monkey off my back so people can find something else to blow up and make a big deal out of.”
Don’t assume that Quinn will recommend the same approach to every hitter he encounters.
Quinn joins an Orioles coaching staff that remains intact from 2015, including hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, who enters his second season.
Here’s a memorable video from Quinn’s major league debut:
Note: I forgot to share my Hall of Fame ballot. I omitted Barry Bonds and Rogers Clemens again, but I admit to wavering. More writers are including them and I’m beginning to feel as though I should join, as well. It’s such a difficult choice.
Anyway, I voted for Ken Griffey Jr., Jeff Bagwell, Mike Piazza, Mike Mussina, Tim Raines, Trevor Hoffman, Edgar Martinez, Lee Smith, Alan Trammell and Fred McGriff.