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November 18, 2010

Shelby will miss Baltimore; looking forward to Milwaukee

I caught up with John “T-Bone” Shelby on Wednesday for a few minutes on the phone, and we talked about his new gig in Milwaukee as the Brewers’ outfielders’ coach and “eye in the sky.”

When it became clear to Shelby, the Orioles’ first base/outfielders coach for the past three seasons, that he wouldn’t be back in Baltimore, he started sending out feelers for jobs. One was to old friend Ron Roenicke, who he has known for decades.

Roenicke and Shelby were both first-round draft picks in 1977 – Roenicke with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Shelby with the Orioles – and they were managers together in the Dodgers’ minor league system in the 1990s. (And Orioles fans know Roenicke’s brother, Gary, and T-Bone played together in the outfield on some great Orioles’ teams in the early 1980s).

When Ron Roenicke landed the managerial job in Milwaukee earlier this month, he contacted Shelby.

“He wanted me and I wanted to coach for him,” Shelby said.

There wasn’t an available spot for Shelby on the field, so the “eye in the sky” position was created – Roenicke served a similar role for the Dodgers in 1992-93.

Shelby will suit up with the team pre-game and participate in normal coaching activities, but once the game begins, he can’t be on the bench and must watch – and position outfielders – from a skybox. He’ll travel with the team and be a regular staff member except while the game is being played.

“It’s going to be a little different, not being on the field,” Shelby, 52, said. “I’ll be overseeing the outfielders, and I’ll do the same things before games, drills and things, I just won’t be on the field when the game begins, and that will be different. But I’m still excited.”

Shelby, who has been a big-league coach since 1998 (for the Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Orioles), had discussions with other teams, but wanted to remain in the majors. Going to Milwaukee will allow him to be near his family in Kentucky three times a season when the Brewers visit the Cincinnati Reds. Most of his family, anyway. One son, John III, plays in the Chicago White Sox organization and another, Jeremy, was drafted by the Orioles last season.

Shelby will also get to work with Rick Kranitz again. The Orioles’ pitching coach from 2008-10 was hired by Roenicke to handle the pitching staff in Milwaukee. Shelby and Kranitz spoke by phone Tuesday.

Even though he is moving on, Shelby, who played seven seasons in Baltimore, said the city and the team will always be special to him.

“I’m going to miss Baltimore. I enjoyed my time with everyone … and I would have liked to have been there when things got turned around,” Shelby said. “But I got to see a little bit of that at times this year. I’ve still got a lot of good friends there and I’ll still be paying attention to the Orioles.”

Posted by Dan Connolly at 7:00 AM | | Comments (7)


Sounds like the type of guy that SHOULD be in the organization......

I will miss T-Bone: it was nice to see that old Oriole player on the field every day.

Why can't Shelby be on the field/dugout during games? Is there a rule about how many field coaches you can have? Or is this due to some other reason?

Yes, there are rules about how many coaches can be in dugout during games.

"One resume was to old friend,Ron Roenicke who he has known for decades."

You should have written "WHOM he has known foe decades."


Thanks for all that you and Jeff do keeping us up to date. This article made me think of a couple of things. First, I wonder how the Brewers fans feel about their new coaching staff having 2 former O's coaches, given the lack of success we have had over the past years. And secondly, it is interesting how many fans rail against the coaching staff then, when they leave and get another position, it's all wine and roses. Guess we O's fans are too nice to hold any grudges (except Thank God to Yankee and Red Sox fans).

I'm pretty sure the Sun caption should read that Shelby was the O's FIRST base coach...not their THIRD base coach.

It's ironic John Shelby leaves the O's for Milwaukee; his greatest moment as an O's player (really, his only great moment as an O's player) was against the Brewers on 9/26/82, when he threw Bob Skube out at the plate on a fly ball to CF in the bottom of the 8th, preserving a 3-2 lead during the pennant race.

Dan - Shelby will have a place in the hearts of Oriole fans and I wish him luck with the Brewers.

He was really out of place as a first base coach, however, because those duties should include helping with baserunning, especially stealing bases, yet the O's have had some above average speed in Jones, Pie and Markakas (Pie's probably one of the fastest guys in the game) and had very, very little to show in stolen bases from that trio.

I just hope Kirby is an improvement in that regard (and Randolph, too, could help them improve their totals if he's hired).

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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