The Buffalo Bisons today announced that the Toronto Blue Jays have selected GARY ALLENSON as manager of the Herd for the 2014 season. Allenson is the 19th manager of the Buffalo Bisons in the team's modern era.
Joining Allenson on the Bisons coaching staff will be pitching coach RANDY ST. CLAIRE and hitting coach RICHIE HEBNER. Athletic trainer VOON CHONG and strength and conditioning coach ARMANDO GUTTIERREZ will both return for their second seasons with the Bisons.
ALLENSON, 58, is entering his 20th season as a manager in the minor leagues and his second in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. Of his previous 19 seasons as a manager, eight have been in the International League: Louisville (1998-1999), Ottawa (2003) and Norfolk (2007-2011). Allenson also has six years of Major League coaching experience, working three years with the Boston Red Sox (bullpen coach: 1992-1993, 3B coach: 1994) and three with the Milwaukee Brewers (1B coach: 2000, 3B coach: 2001-2002).
Allenson has a career managerial record of 1,143-1,266 (.474 pct.). His career began in 1987 in the New York Yankees organization and he won a New York-Penn League Championship in his second season with the Oneonta Yankees (48-28). He then served as a minor league manager for Boston (1989-1991), Texas (1996), Houston (1997), Milwaukee (1998-1999), Baltimore (2003, 2006-2011) and Florida (2012). In 2013, he joined the Toronto Blue Jays organization and led the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats to a 68-72 record and a 3rd place finish in the Eastern League Eastern division.
Allenson reached the International League playoffs with the Louisville Redbirds in 1998 (77-67) and then again with the Ottawa Lynx in 2003 (79-65). In his five seasons with Norfolk from 2007-2011, he won a Tides' franchise record 284 games (284-341).
Allenson was drafted as a catcher by Boston in the ninth round of the 1976 draft and spent six seasons (1979-1984) as a catcher in the Major Leagues with the Red Sox before finishing his career with 14 games for the Blue Jays in 1985. Overall, Allenson hit .221 with 19 home runs and 131 RBI in 416 career big league games. He was also named the International League MVP in 1978 after he hit .299 with 20 home runs and 76 RBI for the Pawtucket Red Sox.
ST. CLAIRE, 53, began his coaching career in 1996 and spent last season as the pitching coach for the Triple-A Las Vegas 51s of the Pacific Coast League. He also spent 10 years in the Major Leagues, serving as the pitching coach for Montreal/Washington from 2003-2009 before joining the Florida/Miami organization as a pitching coach in 2010. St. Claire spent three years in the International League as the pitching coach of the Ottawa Lynx from 2000-2002.
A free agent signed by Montreal in 1978, St. Claire pitched in 162 Major League games with Montreal, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Atlanta and Toronto from 1984-1994. He was 12-6 with a 4.14 ERA and nine saves in 252.0 big league innings. St. Claire was a member of the Braves 1991 and 1992 National League pennant-winning clubs and pitched an inning of relief in Game 5 of the 1991 World Series.
HEBNER, 66, began his coaching career in 1988 and has served as a Major League hitting coach for the Boston Red Sox (1989-1991) and the Philadelphia Phillies (2001). He has also spent five years as a minor league manager and was named Manager of the Year in the South Atlantic League for leading the Blue Jays' Single-A affiliate Myrtle Beach to a 83-56 record. He also managed Toronto's Triple-A affiliate Syracuse during the 1996 season (67-75) before serving as the skipper for Nashville (Milwaukee) of the Pacific Coast League in 1997 (63-79). Hebner served as the hitting coach for the Durham Bulls from 2002-2006 and helped the club to back-to-back Governors' Cup championships from 2002-2003.
Hebner spent last season as the hitting coach for Double-A New Hampshire under Allenson. Last year's Fisher Cats finished second in the Eastern League with 126 home runs and fourth with a .255 batting average.
Hebner played 18 Major League season with the Pirates, Phillies, Mets, Tigers and Cubs, posting a .276 career batting average with 1,694 hits. He had 10 or more home runs in 11 seasons, including a career high 25 for the Pirates in 1973. Hebner participated in eight National League championship series and won a World Series with Pittsburgh in 1971.
CHONG enters his 13th season in the Toronto organization and his fifth as the athletic trainer for the Blue Jays' Triple-A affiliate. He was named the 2007 Eastern League Athletic Trainer of the Year while serving that role with New Hampshire. GUTIERREZ is in his fifth season with the Blue Jays and his second as the strength and conditioning coach for the Bisons.