The Buffalo Bisons today announced that GARY ALLENSON will return for a second season as manager of the Herd in 2015. Allenson will once again be joined by pitching coach RANDY ST. CLAIRE, hitting coach RICHIE HEBNER and athletic trainer VOON CHONG on the Buffalo Bisons' coaching staff.
JASON DOWSE has been named by the Blue Jays as the Bisons' new strength and conditioning coach.
Under Allenson in 2014, the Bisons finished with a 77-66 record (.538), the 4th-best mark in the International League. The club finished just 1.5 games out of the IL's lone wild card position despite setting franchise records for number of players (73) and total transactions (239) during the year. The 73 total players were two shy of the all time International League record of 75 set by Norfolk in 2012.
Allenson, the 19th manager in the team's modern era, will enter his 21st season as a manager in the minor leagues. The 2015 season will be his 10th in the International League, having also managed in Louisville (1998-1999), Ottawa (2003) and Norfolk (2007-2011). Allenson also has seven 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). He was the Baltimore Orioles' 3B coach for the second half of the 2010 season.
Allenson has a career managerial record of 1,177-1,286 (.478 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 his five seasons with Norfolk from 2007-2011, he won a Tides' franchise record 284 games (284-341). 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 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, 54, enters his second year as the Bisons pitching coach. In 2014, the Herd posted a league-best 3.52 team ERA and walked the second-fewest batters (438) in the circuit. Buffalo featured 37 different pitchers last year, including 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game MVP Liam Hendriks and 2014 midseason and postseason IL All-Star, Bobby Korecky. Both pitchers are set to return to the Blue Jays organization in 2015.
St. Claire began his coaching career in 1996 and 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, 67, led a Bisons' lineup that finished 2014 with a .260 team average, 8th-best in the International League. Buffalo struck out the third fewest times during the campaign (981) and drew the third most walks (518) while posting a +69 run differential.
Hebner 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 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 14th season in the Toronto organization and his sixth 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. DOWSE spent last season as the strength and conditioning coach for Toronto's single-A affiliate in the Florida State League, the Dunedin Blue Jays.