HOUSTON -- Astros manager A.J. Hinch was somewhat of a trailblazer when he was hired to manage the D-backs in 2009 despite not having any previous managerial or Major League coaching experience. Hinch lasted only parts of two seasons in Arizona, but six years later he's managing the hottest team in baseball.
After the Brewers tabbed Craig Counsell to be their manager on Monday, there are several teams who have managers who previously had no managerial or Major League coaching experience, including Brad Ausmus (Tigers), Robin Ventura (White Sox), Mike Matheny (Cardinals) and Walt Weiss (Rockies).
"It's a different environment than it was back then," said Hinch, who was 34 years old and the D-backs' farm director when he was picked to manage the club. "Mine was a little more shock the world, and I [didn't have the resume] as a player as some of these guys, even though I did play in the big leagues and I defend my career enough that I'm proud of it."
Hinch's hiring in Arizona was seen as unconventional at the time, but not anymore. The trend now is to find players who aren't too far removed from their playing career who are considered managerial material and give them a shot.
"It can get a little volatile," Hinch said. "There's a lot you learn in your first couple of days as manager, and these are tough jobs. We're all baseball people in our own right, whether you have a lot of games under your belt as a manager. The key is keeping the players on the field in line and getting them to play hard for you. I have no doubt Counsell will be a good leader of men and have a very consistent approach to the game."
After dismissing manager Ron Roenicke Sunday night following a 7-18 start, the Brewers gave Counsell a three-year contract that covers the rest of this season and each of the next two.