LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Louisville Bats introduced former Major League manager Jim Riggleman as the club's new skipper Monday. Riggleman brings to Louisville 12 seasons of Major League managing experience with the Padres (1992-94), Chicago Cubs (1995-99), Seattle Mariners (2008), and Washington Nationals (2009-11). Riggleman, who spent time with the Louisville Redbirds in 1982 as a coach, is excited to return to Louisville.
"It's great to be back. I was only here for half a year and the ballpark was out at the Fairgrounds," Riggleman said. "Just being here today, (Louisville Slugger Field is) really a neat place. It's got a big league atmosphere to it, but it's got the charm of a minor league ballpark. It's just really done first class, I couldn't be happier with it."
The 2013 season will be Riggleman's second in the Cincinnati Reds organization as Riggleman managed the Reds' Double-A affiliate, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, last season. Moving up the chain to the Triple-A level will give the skipper a chance to see some of the players he has managed move up a level as well.
"I'm glad I'll be familiar with some players. Last year, stepping in to Pensacola, every name and face was new, but it'll be a lot more familiar this year," Riggleman said. "Pensacola was an outstanding situation, I was treated unbelievably there. The fans were great... and everyone I talked to said Louisville is the same way."
While having never played in the majors himself (he reached Triple-A with the Cardinals in 1977 and 1979), the manager brings a vast amount of player development experience to Louisville. In addition to his time in Pensacola, Riggleman also managed in the Cardinals' and Padres' minor league systems throughout the 1980s and into the early 90s.
"Having spent so much time in the minor leagues, to then go to the Major Leagues and come back to the minor leagues... If you've never really experienced the minor leagues much, it might be a little bit of a shell shock," the manager explained of his player development experience. "It's a little bit more of a grind that you go through and a little bit less comfort. There were no surprises for me. Going back to the minor leagues, there've been zero surprises."
The skipper, entering his second season with the Cincinnati Reds, has many glowing things to say about the organization.
"From [Reds President and CEO] Mr. [Bob] Castellini right down through [Reds President of Baseball Operations and General Manager] Walt [Jocketty] and his staff... they've been just so helpful and supportive, that I couldn't ask for a better situation," Riggleman said.
The manager posted a 662-824 record as a Major League manager, including leading the Cubs to the 1998 MLB Postseason. Riggleman's Blue Wahoos posted a 68-70 record last season, that organization's first go-round in the city of Pensacola.
Riggleman becomes Louisville's third manager in as many seasons and has been a manager or coach for over 30 seasons, including at least parts of 19 seasons at the big league level.
It was also announced Monday that Ted Power will return for his eighth season as the Bats' pitching coach while Tony Jaramillo will join Riggleman in moving from Pensacola to Louisville to take over as the Bats' hitting coach.
The Bats open their 2013 season at Louisville Slugger Field with a Budweiser Game Time Happy Hour on Thursday, April 4 against the Toledo Mud Hens at 6:35 p.m. One-dollar Budweiser and Bud Light will be sold from 5:30-7 p.m.
Tickets are on sale now. Fans can call the Bats front office at (502) 212-2287 or visit www.batsbaseball.com for information on full season tickets, mini plans, group outings and suite rentals.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.