MANCHESTER, N.H. - In conjunction with their parent organization, the Toronto Blue Jays, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats introduced the new field staff that will lead the team for the 2013 season. Former major leaguer and long-time minor league coach and manager Gary Allenson takes the reins from Sal Fasano, who has been named the Blue Jays new minor league catching coordinator.
Allenson will be accompanied by new hitting coach Richie Hebner, an 18-year major league veteran, and pitching coach Tom Signore, who is back for his fourth season with the Fisher Cats. Athletic trainer Bob Tarpey and strength and conditioning coordinator Brian Pike will also be back at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium for the Fisher Cats' tenth anniversary season.
"Gary Allenson and Richie Hebner have both built outstanding reputations throughout their playing and coaching careers," said Fisher Cats President Rick Brenner. "We look forward to welcoming them to New Hampshire with our good friends Tom, Bob, and Brian. It's been an exciting off-season for the Blue Jays and we anticipate an exciting summer for the Fisher Cats."
Allenson becomes the seventh manager in Fisher Cats history after Fasano skippered the club for the 2011-12 seasons. A native of California, he spent eight of the last ten years in the Orioles organization, most recently with the Aberdeen IronBirds (New York-Penn League) in 2012. The bulk of his time with the Orioles came with the team's Triple-A affiliate where he earned his 1,000th win by piloting the Norfolk Tides past the Durham Bulls on August 23, 2011.
He began his coaching career in the New York Yankees system in 1987, and the Blue Jays will represent his sixth major league organization. Allenson, 57, has also coached in the major leagues with three of his five previous organizations. He was the bullpen coach and third base coach for the Boston Red Sox from 1992-94. He coached the bases for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2000-02 before serving as third base coach with the Orioles in 2010.
As a player, the former catcher was drafted by the Red Sox in the ninth round of the 1976 draft out of Arizona State University. He made his major league debut with Boston in 1979, hitting .203 over a career-best 108 games. He retired after his seventh and final season in 1985 with the Blue Jays.
Hebner, 65, returns to affiliate baseball after managing in the Futures Collegiate Baseball League in the summer of 2012. A life-long baseball man, Hebner brings years of playing and coaching experience to the Fisher Cats dugout. He was a first-round draft pick of the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1966, and made his major league debut just two years later. Primarily a third baseman, the Massachusetts native played 11 of his 18 years in the major leagues with Pittsburgh, helping the club win the 1971 World Series. He would hit .276 over his career with Pittsburgh, Philadelphia Phillies, New York Mets, Detroit Tigers, and Chicago Cubs.
He began his coaching career as manager of the Myrtle Beach Pelicans in 1988. Just a year later, he began the first of two major league coaching stints. From 1989-91 he was the hitting coach of the Red Sox, the same position he would hold with Philadelphia for the summer of 2001. Most recently he was a manager and hitting coach in the Orioles organization from 2008-10.
Hebner is no stranger to New Hampshire or the Blue Jays organization. He served as the Jays' minor league hitting instructor from 1992-95 before managing the team's Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse. He had an abbreviated stint as manager of the Nashua Pride (Can-Am League) in 2008 before joining the Orioles Class-A team mid-season.
Signore is back for his fourth overall season, and second consecutive, as the Fisher Cats' pitching coach. Last summer, the Connecticut native saw five of his charges make their major league debut with the Blue Jays. The soon-to-be 51-year-old has been with the Blue jays since 2005, spending four of the last five seasons in New Hampshire. He was a former draft pick of the Milwaukee Brewers, and played professionally for two seasons before beginning his coaching career at the collegiate level. A former standout pitcher at Quinnipiac College, he was inducted into the school's hall of fame in 1994.
Tarpey returns to the Fisher Cats clubhouse for his fourth consecutive season as the Fisher Cats' athletic trainer. The Blue Jays are the only major league organization that the York, Maine, native has known, having joined the organization full-time in 2006. He graduated from the University of Maine at Presque Isle before earning a master's degree at California University of Pennsylvania. Prior to joining the Fisher Cats, Tarpey tended to players with the Pulaski Blue Jays (Appalachian League) and the Lansing Lugnuts, earning Midwest League Athletic Trainer of the Year honors in 2008.
Pike counts his assignment to the Fisher Cats as an annual homecoming. The Gorham, N.H., native is back for a fourth season in his second stint with his home-state team. A graduate of Plymouth State University, Pike began his baseball career with the Blue Jays affiliate in Pulaski before spending 2007 with the Fisher Cats. In 2009, he served a year with Lansing before advancing to Double-A in 2010.
Fisher Cats Full and Half-Season Tickets and Mini-Ticket Plans are on sale now. To see the full list of benefits and gifts with each plan visit www.nhfishercats.com or call (603) 641-2005. Opening Day at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium is April 4, 2013, against the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies).