Wilmington, DE -
Former Wilmington Blue Rocks skipper John Mizerock
has found a new home, the minor league system of the Philadelphia Phillies. The second-winningest manager in the history of the Blue Rocks served as the bullpen coach for the parent club of the Blue Crew, the Kansas City Royals, from 2008-09, but did not have his contract renewed. He now will mentor the minor leaguers of the closest big league team to Wilmington geographically as the hitting coach for the Advanced-A Clearwater Threshers (FSL).
Mizerock, who turns 50 today, had been in the Kansas City organization since 1992 and managed at every level. During that time he compiled a 648-534 record in nine managerial seasons while winning three league championships. He first joined the major league staff in 2002 and, for 13 games that season, served as the Royals' interim manager between the terms of Tony Muser and Tony Pena. Mizerock, who had a 5-8 record in that role, also was one of the candidates for the job that went to Pena.
He returned to the minor leagues after the 2004 season for two years as a catching instructor and one year as Wilmington's manager, the team's first season after re-affiliating with Kansas City. He returned to the major league staff in 2008.
Over four seasons of steering the Wilmington ship on the Riverfront (1995-97, 2007), "Miz" went 300-255 (.541). Mizerock and Jeff Garber (307-250, .551) are the only skippers to amass 300 wins with the Blue Crew. Garber managed Wilmington from 1999-2002. Mizerock's tenure included four half championships, two Northern Division titles and one Carolina League Mills Cup championship in 1996. During the summer of 2007, fans voted "Rock" as the manager for the 15th Anniversary All-Time Blue Rocks Team. Mizerock earned 49.2% of the fans' votes to beat out Garber (39.4%).
Over his nine seasons as a manager in Kansas City's minor league system, the Punxsutawney, PA native had stops in Eugene (1993; Class-A Short Season Northwest), Rockford (1994; Class-A Midwest), Wilmington, Wichita (1998-99; Double-A Texas) and Omaha (2000-01; Triple-A Pacific Coast).
Selected by the Houston Astros in the first round of the 1979 draft, Mizerock was a catcher for parts of four seasons at the major league level (1983, 85-86, 89). He homered in his major league debut on August 16, 1983 at Cincinnati. After the 1986 season, he signed with Montreal in December before signing with Atlanta in April 1987. He played for both Richmond (Triple-A International) and Atlanta before retiring after the 1990 season.
In Clearwater, Mizerock will coach alongside former Kansas City Royal Dusty Wathan, the son of John Wathan, a former player and manager for Kansas City. John has served a variety of roles in the Royals' farm system over the last five years. Dusty will manage the Threshers.
Mizerock will not be the only man with Wilmington ties coaching future Phillies. Former Blue Rocks' (1996, 1998) and Royals' right-hander Lance Carter will serve as pitching coach for Short Season Williamsport (NYP).
The Blue Rocks return to the field on April 8, 2011 as they open their season in Myrtle Beach, SC against the Pelicans. The full 2011 schedule is available on the team's website.
Blue Rocks Baseball = Affordafunability!
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.