The White Sox added another piece to their 2020 coaching staff, hiring former Texas Rangers legend (hey, I saw him play down at Arlington Stadium, he was the Next Big Thing there for a minute) Scott Coolbaugh as their assistant hitting coach.
Coolbaugh played in four major league seasons for three different teams, and spent almost six years as a hitting coach for the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles.
The full White Sox press release follows:
CHICAGO – The Chicago White Sox have named Scott Coolbaugh as the club’s assistant hitting coach. He will work with hitting coach Frank Menechino, who was named to the position on October 10.
Coolbaugh, 53, served as the hitting coach for Triple-A Oklahoma City in the Los Angeles Dodgers organization last season, where he worked with infielder Gavin Lux, the Baseball America 2019 Minor League Player of the Year. Lux hit .392 with 18 doubles, four triples, 13 home runs, 39 RBIs, 33 walks, a .478 on-base percentage and 1.197 OPS in 49 games with Oklahoma City, which ranked third in the Pacific Coast League in walks with 573.
A native of Binghamton, N.Y., Coolbaugh was the hitting coach for the Baltimore Orioles from 2015-18. During his four-season tenure, the club ranked among the major-league leaders in home runs (third, 890), total bases (eighth, 9,367) and slugging percentage (ninth, .423). Baltimore led baseball with 253 home runs in 2016, and seven Orioles hit 20-plus home runs in 2017. Among the players Coolbaugh coached in Baltimore were Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones, Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop and Mark Trumbo.
Coolbaugh spent eight seasons in the Texas Rangers organization (2007-14), including as the major-league hitting coach from June 2011 through the end of the 2012 season. In 2011, the Rangers led the majors in average (.283) and won the American League pennant before losing to St. Louis in seven games in the World Series. Texas led baseball in runs scored (808) and ranked second in the AL in average (.272) in 2012. During his time in the Texas organization, Coolbaugh worked with Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre, Nelson Cruz, Josh Hamilton, Ian Kinsler and Michael Young.
Coolbaugh appeared in 167 career major-league games with Texas (1989-90), San Diego (1991) and St. Louis (1994), hitting .215 with eight home runs and 41 RBIs. He originally was selected by Texas in the third round of the 1987 draft out of the University of Texas.
Coolbaugh currently serves on the board of directors for Diamond Dreams, a nonprofit organization that honors the memory of his brother, Mike, by promoting safety in the game of baseball and providing support to members of the baseball community in need. Mike Coolbaugh died while coaching first base for the Tulsa Drillers in July 2007.
And that last point was why I wanted to devote a post to Coolbaugh’s hiring. I had genuinely forgotten about his brother’s on-field death — the opposite of the aim of Scott’s Diamond Dreams organization. While a freak accident, Mike Coolbaugh’s death sped the adoption of helmets worn by first- and third-base coaches at all levels.
On July 22, 2007, Tulsa Drillers first-base coach Coolbaugh was struck in the neck by a foul ball from catcher Tino Sánchez; because the ball pulverized Coolbaugh’s vertebral artery, blood flow to the brain was cut and he in essence died on impact. Despite CPR administered on the field, Coolbaugh was pronounced dead less than one hour after the incident. Tulsa was the Triple-A affiliate of the Rockies, and Colorado players voted Coolbaugh’s widow, Amanda, a full playoff share — totaling $233,505.18, as the Rockies reached the World Series.
During the GM Meetings after the season, helmets were made mandatory for all base coaches, beginning in 2008.