SeaWolves Announce 2018 Field Staff

By Erie SeaWolves | January 11, 2018 9:54 AM

The SeaWolves, in conjunction with their parent club the Detroit Tigers, announced their complete 2018 field staff. In November, Andrew Graham was named the 16th manager in SeaWolves history. Joining Graham will be pitching coach Willie Blair, hitting coach Mike Hessman, coach Santiago Garrido, Athletic Trainer T.J. Obergefell and Strength & Conditioning Coach Jeff Mathers.


Blair returns for his third season with the SeaWolves while Hessman and Garrido are both in their first seasons with the club. Both Obergefell and Mathers return for their second seasons with Erie. It marks the first time in team history that the SeaWolves will have a four-man coaching staff.

The SeaWolves open their 24th season on Thursday, April 5, 2018 at the Reading Fightin Phils (Philadelphia Phillies). The 2018 home opener at UPMC Park, presented by Plyler Entry Systems, is Friday, April 13 against the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates). For ticket packages, group outings, or marketing and promotional opportunities at UPMC Park, contact the SeaWolves at 814-456-1300.





Andrew Graham joins the SeaWolves in 2018 as the 16th manager in team history.


Graham, a native of Sydney, Australia, was originally a 19th round selection by the Tigers in the 2003 draft. He spent six seasons in the Tigers minor league system, reaching the Triple-A level in 2007. Graham is the first former SeaWolves player to be named manager of the team, playing in 20 games with Erie in 2006. Graham saw action with Australia during the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and 2009.

Following his playing career, Graham joined the Tigers organization as a coach with the Gulf Coast League Tigers in 2009-10. He also served as the Tigers roving catching coordinator in 2010 and was a fill-in hitting coach with the SeaWolves for part of that season. Graham transitioned into managing in 2011 when he took over as the skipper for the Connecticut Tigers (Short-Season-A, New York-Penn League) where he would spend three seasons. In 2014, Graham was promoted to manage the West Michigan Whitecaps (Low-A, Midwest League). He guided the Whitecaps for three seasons, including back-to-back playoff appearances in 2015-16 and a Midwest League title in 2015. Graham spent the 2017 season as the manager for the Lakeland Flying Tigers (High-A, Florida State League).

Graham and his wife Gwen have one child, Harlow, and make their home in Tampa, FL.


Mike Hessman joins the SeaWolves in 2018 to serve as hitting coach. Hessman is in his third season as a coach in the Tigers organization. He spent the 2016 season with the Connecticut Tigers and last season with the West Michigan Whitecaps, serving as hitting coach for both clubs.

Prior to coaching, Hessman set the minor league career home run record at 433 with Triple-A Toledo in 2015, the final season of his 20-year playing career. Most of his playing career was spent with Toledo, playing parts of seven seasons with the Mud Hens. In addition to his time with the Tigers, Hessman also had stints in the Atlanta Braves, New York Mets, Houston Astros and Cincinnati Reds organizations.

Hessman played parts of five season in the major leagues with three organizations including the Braves (2003-04), Tigers (2007-08) and Mets (2010). He hit 14 total home runs over 109 games with all teams collectively.

He was originally selected by the Braves in the 15th round of the 1996 draft.


Former Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Willie Blair returns to the SeaWolves in 2018 to serve as pitching coach for the third straight season.

Blair spent three seasons (2013-2015) as bullpen coach for the San Diego Padres. Prior to his time at the Major League level with the Padres, he was the pitching coach for Class-A Fort Wayne.


Blair was originally signed by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 11th round of the 1986 draft. He went 60-86 with a 5.04 ERA over parts of 12 Major League seasons with the Blue Jays (1990), Cleveland Indians (1991), Houston Astros (1992), Colorado Rockies (1993-94), Tigers (1997, 99-2001), Arizona Diamondbacks (1998) and New York Mets (1998).


Blair won a career-high 16 games for the Tigers in 1997. That season, he went 16-8 with a 4.17 ERA over 29 games, 27 starts. He was also the final Opening Day starter in Tiger Stadium history on April 12, 1999 along with battery mate Brad Ausmus.




Santiago Garrido joins the SeaWolves staff as a coach after playing ten seasons in the Minor Leagues.


Garrido pitched for parts of two seasons with the SeaWolves in 2016-17, appearing in 27 games. In addition to his two years with the Tigers organization, he spent seven seasons in the Kansas City Royals system and one season in the Tampa Bay Rays organization.


Garrido is a native of Higuey, Dominican Republic and was originally signed by the Royals as an undrafted free agent on January 26, 2007.


This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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