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Solid defense begins before the first pitch is thrown. From player placement to situational awareness, the nuances of superior fielding are vast and varied. That’s why the American Baseball Coaches Association’s top defensive minds have compiled Gold Glove Baseball--to give you an all-encompassing resource to help turn your team into a stellar defensive unit.
The all-star lineup of coaches provide in-depth instruction, special insights, and practice drills on every aspect of defensive play. The book’s scope ranges from fundamentals to advanced tactics for those who have mastered the basics. Coaches at all levels and serious players will find great tips and new techniques for executing specific fielding maneuvers and complex plays involving several players. A sample defensive signals system will explain how to coordinate the positioning and movements of all nine fielders on every pitch.
Winning baseball requires smart and steady defensive play every bit as much as solid hitting and strong pitching. In fact, many top baseball coaches say that the foundation of championship teams is defense because it makes pitchers’ jobs easier and takes pressure off the offense. Gold Glove Baseball provides a complete plan for playing championship-caliber defense.
Chapter 1. Fielding Techniques, Davey Johnson
Chapter 2. Fielder Positioning, Sam Piraro
Chapter 3. Pitching Strategy, Steve Smith
Chapter 4. Catching Techniques, Jim Penders
Chapter 5. Stopping Steals From the Catcher Position, Scott Stricklin
Chapter 6. Executing Pickoffs and Rundowns, Mike Maack
Chapter 7. Defending Bunts, Jerry Weinstein
Chapter 8. Turning Double Plays, Rich Maloney
Chapter 9. Catching Pop-Ups and Fly Balls, Charlie Greene
Chapter 10. Making Cutoff and Relay Plays, Ed Flaherty
Chapter 11. Choosing Defensive Tactics in Games, Ken Knutson
Chapter 12. Communicating Tactics in the Field, Bob Bennett
The American Baseball Coaches Association (ABCA) is the largest baseball coaching organization in the world and includes hundreds of international members. The association's mission is to improve the level of baseball coaching worldwide. The ABCA assists in the promotion of baseball and acts as a sounding board and advocate on issues concerning the game. In addition, the ABCA promotes camaraderie and communication among all baseball coaches, from the amateur to professional levels. The ABCA also gives recognition to deserving players and coaches through several special sponsorship programs. It is an organization that has grown steadily in membership, prestige, and impact in recent years. The ABCA's headquarters are located in Mount Pleasant, Michigan.
ABOUT THE CONTRIBUTORS Davey Johnson was hired as a consultant to the team general manager of the Washington Nationals in June 2006. As the manager for Team USA baseball, Johnson led Team USA to a seventh-place finish out of an 18-team field in the 2005 Baseball World Cup, and he is also working to earn Team USA a spot in the 2008 Summer Olympics. A former second baseman and manager in Major League Baseball, Johnson played for the Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago Cubs. The four-time All Star and three time Gold Glove Award winner was also a successful manager for the New York Mets, Cincinnati Reds, Baltimore Orioles, and Los Angeles Dodgers. Johnson was the first National League manager to win at least 90 games in each of his first five seasons. The highlight of his career was the Mets' World Series victory over the Boston Red Sox in 1986.
Sam Piraro was named the San Jose State head coach in the summer of 1986 and has since become the winningest head baseball coach in San Jose State University history. Piraro is the first to guide the Spartans to multiple NCAA Tournament appearances and Western Athletic Conference pennants. As the first and only San Jose State baseball coach with more than 600 victories, he has led his teams in reaching an overall record of 620-469-6 in 19 seasons. He is also the only Spartan baseball coach to lead teams to seven consecutive .500-or-better seasons. In 1997, Piraro was named the Western Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and Louisville Slugger WAC Coach of the Year. Piraro has served as an NCAA regional advisor and a voting member of the Collegiate Baseball rankings panel and was selected to represent the West Region on the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee for the 2006 season. Piraro, an infielder on the 1971 and 1972 Spartan teams, earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from San Jose State University.
Steve Smith has been head coach of Baylor's baseball program since 1994. In his first 11 years, Smith guided the program to unprecedented heights, including the most successful eight-year run in the program's 100-year history and a College World Series appearance in 2005. He has compiled a 418-258-1 career record, all at Baylor, and holds the best winning percentage of any coach in Baylor baseball history. Smith has led Baylor to seven NCAA Regional appearances, three NCAA Super Regional appearances, one College World Series appearance, and two Big 12 Conference titles. In 2006 Smith was named Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year by the Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, San Antonio Express-News, and Waco Tribune-Herald. Following the 2005 season, Smith served as head coach of the USA Baseball national team. He was named the 2000 Big 12 coach of the year after guiding the Bears to their first outright conference title in 77 years.
Jim Penders was named the University of Connecticut's head baseball coach in 2006. Penders served as an assistant coach for the Huskies for seven years, during which time the Huskies posted winning seasons in each of those campaigns. As an assistant coach, Penders coordinated the Huskies recruiting of student-athletes, served as the hitting coach, and worked with the catchers. A standout on the baseball field for the Huskies during his undergraduate career, Penders was a four-year letter winner for the Huskies. He was cocaptain of the 1994 UConn squad that won the Big East Conference tournament, and the Huskies advanced to the NCAA Championship in both his junior and senior years. Penders graduated from UConn with a degree in political science and went on to earn his master's degree from the UConn School of Education.
Scott Stricklin became the 16th head baseball coach at Kent State in 2004. In 2005, he led the Golden Flashes to a 33-win season, the second-most victories by a MAC-East team. Stricklin arrived at Kent State after serving his previous three seasons as assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgia Tech, where he landed a recruiting class that was ranked No. 1 in the nation by both Baseball America and Collegiate Baseball in 2002. In 2003, Stricklin helped lead the Yellow Jackets to the Atlantic Coast Conference championship in the first triple-header in ACC history. A class-A all-star in 1994, Stricklin played five seasons of minor league baseball. He played the 1994 and 1995 seasons in the Twins organization, reaching the triple-A level. Stricklin lettered three seasons as a catcher at Kent State. Stricklin graduated magna cum laude from Kent State in 1995 with a bachelor's degree in marketing.
Mike Maack was named head coach of the new Plano Blue Sox in 2006 and also serves as head varsity baseball coach for Prestonwood Christian Academy. Maack was a left-handed pitcher in the Minnesota Twins organization from 1982 to 1985 and coached in the collegiate ranks for 13 years as an assistant at Central Florida and the University of Tennessee and as the head coach at Tennessee Tech University. Since coming to Prestonwood Christian Academy in 2001, Maack's baseball teams have won a pair of District Championships and were the state runners-up in 2004. He was selected as the TAPPS 3A Coach of the Year in 2004.
Jerry Weinstein began his fifth year as an assistant coach at Cal Poly in charge of the pitchers and catchers in 2006. He compiled an 831-208-12 record in 23 seasons as head coach at Sacramento City College, guiding the Panthers to 16 conference championships, two co-conference titles, a state title in 1988, and a national crown in 1998. His record of 831 career wins is No. 1 among all California community college baseball coaches. Weinstein also has served as assistant coach for two U.S. Olympic teams (1992 and 1996) and one U.S. Pan American Games team (1987). He directed the 2005 U.S. team to a gold medal at the Maccabiah Games. Weinstein is a member of the California Community College Baseball Hall of Fame and Sacramento City College Sports Hall of Fame. He was named National Community College Baseball Coach of the Year in 1988 and 1998. Weinstein earned his bachelor's degree in history at UCLA in 1965 and earned a master's degree in physical education at UCLA in 1969.
Rich Maloney was named head baseball coach at the University of Michigan in 2002. He led the Wolverines to the Big Ten Tournament in each of his first three seasons at the helm. In his third season, Maloney also made his first appearance in the NCAA Tournament and earned his 350th career win. Maloney, who is 106-72 (.596) in three seasons at Michigan, has an overall career record of 362-216-1 (.627). His teams have won at least 30 games in each of his 10 seasons as a head coach, including all seven years at Ball State. Maloney was recognized as one of the Top Five Rising Coaches of NCAA Division I Baseball by Baseball America while at Ball State in 2001. A third team All-American as a senior shortstop at Western Michigan, Maloney earned two degrees at Western Michigan in communications and journalism and in English. He was named to WMU's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2004.
Charlie Greene, now retired, coached at Miami-Dade Community College from 1968 to 1997, leading the school to state championship titles in 1970, 1978, and 1981 and one NJCAA National Championship Title in 1981, for which he received the National Coach of the Year Award. Greene posted a career record of 1,047-548 and is a member of the ABCA Hall of Fame.
Ed Flaherty has been head coach of the University of Southern Maine baseball program since 1986 and has established the Huskies program as one of the nation's finest with 16 postseason appearances. USM Baseball has won two national championships under Flaherty. Heading into the 2006 season, he has compiled a career record of 594-255-3 (winning percentage of .699). Flaherty was inducted into the University of Maine Sports Hall of Fame in 1992, the State of Maine Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993, and the NABC Hall of Fame in 2005. His instructional baseball camps are among the highest regarded in New England. Flaherty earned an undergraduate education degree with majors in history and math from the University of Maine. He holds a master's degree in administration from Southern Maine.
Ken Knutson became the winningest baseball coach in the University of Washington history in 2004. With his 461-295-2 overall record, Knutson has a higher winning percentage (.609) than any Husky coach who headed up more than 85 games. In addition, his 13 seasons at the helm of his alma mater's baseball team have been the most successful stretch since the program's inception in 1901. During his tenure, Knutson has led the Dawgs to two Pacific-10 Conference championships, four Pac-10 Northern Division crowns, a second-place league finish, and two second-place division finishes. He has led Washington to within one game of its first College World Series appearance on three occasions. Six of Washington's eight all-time NCAA appearances have come under Knutson's watch. Knutson has been named the Pac-10 North Coach of the Year three times. He spent nine seasons with the Huskies as a player and assistant coach before taking over the duties of head coach.
Bob Bennett retired from coaching in 2002 with a career record of 1,302-759-4, ranking him seventh on the all-time Division I win list. In 34 years as head coach at Fresno State University, his teams had 32 winning seasons, won 17 conference championships, made 21 NCAA regional championship appearances, and played in two College World Series. Bennett was awarded 14 Conference Coach of the Year Awards and an NCAA Coach of the Year award in 1988. He coached 32 All-Americans, eight of whom were first-round draft picks. Bennett also served as head coach of the U.S. national team in 1983 and 1986.
Dr. Carroll Land has been the director of athletics at Point Loma Nazarene University since 1968. In 1962, he also served as the school's baseball coach after finishing an outstanding career as a pitcher for the Crusaders. His squads won back-to-back NAIA District 3 and Far West Region titles. Dr. Land is a member of the NAIA Hall of Fame, Pasadena/Point Loma Nazarene College Athletic Hall of Fame, and ABCA Hall of Fame. He received his bachelor's degree from Pasadena College and went on to receive both his master's degree in education and PhD from the University of South Carolina. In 1998, the Crusader field was named Carroll B. Land Stadium by Point Loma Nazarene University.
"In Gold Glove Baseball you will learn the proper techniques, strategies, and execution of defense from some of the great baseball minds. It is an excellent book for both players and coaches."
Brian O'Connor Head Baseball Coach University of Virginia
"Gold Glove Baseball has more in-depth drills for pitching and defense than I've ever seen in one book. We have used many of these drills in our program to help us win our championships. I would recommend this book to every baseball coach, regardless of competition level."
George Horton Head Baseball Coach Cal State Fullerton