Eric Hinske is a 12 year Major League Veteran, and is returning “home” to where his journey started. While Hinske didn’t play a game as a Cub, he was the 17th round pick in the 1998 first year player draft. In March of 2001 he was traded to the A’s for Miguel Cairo.
While his numbers weren’t overwhelming, his career would still be considered a success by most standards. He was the 2002 Rookie of the Year recipient while a member of the Blue Jays. Hinske also made three consecutive World Series appearances, with three different teams, all from the AL East. (Red Sox ’07, Rays ’08, Yankees ’09) He walked away a two-time champion as the Red Sox and Yankees each were victorious.
After retiring in 2012, Hinske rejoined the Yankees as a scout, and was pivotal in convincing Brian McCann to sign with the Yankees. After just a few short months, he was hired by the Cubs on December 3rd to be the 1st base coach.
Gary Jones comes from the San Diego organization, where Renteria had been coaching before taking the reigns in Chicago. This is somewhat of a homecoming for Jones as well, as he was a free agent signing out of the University of Arkansas in 1982. Jones played seven seasons within the Cubs and Athletics organizations, but has only donned a major league uniform in one other season, as the first base coach of the A’s in 1998.
Jones spent much of 1990 through 2006 as a minor league manager with several different clubs. He also has won Manager-of-the-Year Awards in 1991 (Madison), 1994 (Huntsville), 1996 and 1997 (both with Edmonton).
Both of these men bring something different to the Cubs. Hinske, who just recently retired from the game, can relate to the players on many levels as he was as of just last season, a peer. Jones on the other hand brings 32 years of professional baseball experience, as a manager and an instructor.
While not the most glorious position, these men are responsible for more than waving runners home and holding shin guards. Thy are instructors, and mentors for these players, and will play a key role in the development of the youth that will arrive at Wrigley soon enough.
Keep following Cubbies Crib, as Friday will be getting to know the duo that will hope to revive the Cubs offense. Former Cubs players Bill Mueller and Mike Brumley. Thanks for reading and a happy Martin Luther King day to you all!