Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Remembering Yankees of the Past: Kevin Long

Kevin Long was let go as the hitting coach for the New York Yankees a couple weeks back and has since landed across town with the New York Mets in the same position. Let’s take a look back at Long’s tenure as a member of the New York Yankees and see if he warrants the nickname “The Hitting Guru.”

Kevin Richard Long was born on December 30, 1966 and played minor league baseball in the Kansas City Royals organization. Long was drafted in the 31st round of the 1989 MLB First Year Player’s Draft by the Royals out of the University of Arizona. Long never amounted to much in the minor league and officially retired at the end of spring training in 1997 after being assigned to Triple-A Omaha still in the Royals organization. Long was named the Class-A Wilmington Blue Rocks manager that season and stayed in A-Ball through the 1999 season. Long was promoted to hitting coach for the Double-A team from 2000-2001 and Triple-A for the 2002-2003 seasons before heading to the Yankees Triple-A team, the Columbus Clippers for the 2004 season.

Long spent the 2004 through 2006 seasons in Triple-A with the Yankees before being promoted to major league hitting coach for New York before the 2007 season. During that 2007 season Alex Rodriguez won the MVP Award, Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, and Rodriguez won Silver Slugger Awards, the team led the majors in runs (968), hits (1,656), home runs (201), RBI (929), team batting average (.290), slugging percentage (.463), on-base percentage (.366), and total bases (2,649). The Yankees claimed four of the American League’s top 15 spots in batting average that season.

The Yankees had a down year offensively in 2008 under Long before bouncing back in 2009 to win the team’s 27 World Series championship in their franchise’s history. Long led impressive offensive teams in 2010-2012 before having a drastic fall off in both the 2013 and 2014 seasons which ultimately cost him his job in New York with the Yankees. No worries though you can still see the hitting guru in New York as he coaches the New York Mets through at least the 2015 season. 

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Sorry for the Capatcha... Blame the Russians :)