Most Brewers fans know all about the team. The mastery of Christian Yelich at the plate. The artistry of LoCain in center field. The sheer wizardry of Corbin Burnes on the mound.
But as we brace ourselves for another baseball season, with whatever that may bring, how often do we stop to think about the coaching staff?
These are the hardworking professionals that Craig Counsell relies on every day. The guys we see at first and third and occasionally popping their head above the parapet of the dugout. They work in the heart of the engine room. They coach, develop, motivate and inspire the crew to play at their optimal best, every time.
And with the sport putting more emphasis on the physical, emotional and mental side of the game, their importance is more critical now than ever.
So as CC prepares to lead the Crew for his seventh season, let’s take a closer look at some of the key coaching positions and the personalities behind them.
Andy Joe Haines – Hitting Coach
At the age of 43, Andy Haines begins his third season with the Crew. A graduate of Eastern Illinois University, he joined from the Cubs, where in 2018 they led the National League batting average (.258) and were ranked second in OBP at .333.
Under his tenure the Brewers hit 250 HR in 2019, a franchise record for a single season.
Prior to his current position, he managed in the minor leagues. Predominantly in the Miami farm system between 2009-2015. Spells at Class A affiliates Jamestown, Greensboro and Jupiter and later at AAA New Orleans delivered a minor league managerial record of 449-467(0.490 PCT).
As a player, Haines did not play above collegiate level, where he took to the field as a catcher.
Assistant Hitting Coach – Jacob Cruz.
Andy Haines is ably supported by assistant Jacob Cruz, who, at 46 years of age, brings lots of major league hitting experience.
The graduate of Arizona State University is beginning his second season in Milwaukee after joining in November 2019 from Pittsburgh, where he held the same post.
As a pro, he played nine seasons in the major leagues as a first baseman and outfielder. Representing the Giants, Indians, Rockies Tigers and Reds; he hit 19 HR and 105 RBI in 409 games. Cruz finished with a career slash line of .241/.331/.377.
Chris Wayne Hook – Pitching Coach
Chris Hook is 52 years old and has spent 14 seasons in the Milwaukee Brewers organization.
Prior to the majors he held the position of pitching coach at Huntsville and Wisconsin before stepping up to coach AA Biloxi Shuckers between 2015-17.
He is now beginning his third season at major league level. In 2019, under his guidance, the Brewers hit a franchise record 1,497 strikeouts.
Hook pitched for 11 seasons between 1989-99. Two of those were in the major leagues with San Francisco (1995-96). As a right-handed reliever he made 55 appearances, earning a 5-2 and 5.89 ERA record.
He is an alumni of Northern Kentucky University and away from the ballpark, co-owns and operates a baseball training center in his hometown of Florence, KY.
Steve (Stefan) Andrew Karsay – Bullpen Coach
At 49 years old and in charge of one of the crew’s most valuable assets, Steve begins his third season as bullpen coach.
He has enjoyed a high level of success with a bullpen that has led the National League in strikeouts in 2019 (761) and 2020 (304).
Steve Karsay played 357 times in his major league career (1993-2006), representing five different teams in both NL and AL. Pitching over 600 IP, he finished with a 32-39 record, with 41 saves and an ERA of 4.01
Just as importantly, he pitched in the postseason three times in 1999, 2001 & 2002. As a result, he has that all important first-hand experience of how to pitch in high pressure situations.
Quintin Lonell Berry – 1st Base Coach
Quintin is a new face on the major league coaching staff this year after being promoted from his minor league position in November 2020. Aged 36, he spent the previous two seasons as a minor league outfield and base running coordinator.
As a major leaguer, he played 13 pro seasons as an outfielder and pinch runner in five different organisations, including 7 games for the crew in 2017. In 132 games played he hit .262/.333/.364 including 29 for 31 on stolen bases.
A graduate of San Diego State University, he was a member of the 2013 World Series winning Red Sox.
Jason Dean Lane – 3rd Base Coach
Jason moves across the corners for his first season at third base. He has been on the staff for 6 years and coached first base during 2020. He is 44 years old.
Enjoying great success in his formative playing years, he set a college World Series record in 1998 with 15 hits and earned all-American honours at USC in 1999.
As an outfielder, he played for 17 seasons, including 7 in the majors for Houston & San Diego. With over 1200 PA in 500 games, he hit 61 HR and 189 RBI and ended with a career slash line of .241/.314/.457.
In 2012 he converted to pitcher and played a handful of games, becoming one of an elite band of players to have started a game as pitcher having completed more than 1000 AB!
Pat Thomas Murphy – Bench Coach
Pat needs no introduction. Aged 62 he gave the Brewers fans a real scare last season when he suffered a heart attack during a training session at Miller Park. Thankfully now fully recovered, he assumes his post of bench coach for the sixth year.
He pitched for Florida Atlantic University and after graduating, had an illustrious 25 year career as a college coach. With a 1000-457 (.686) record, he has the accolade of having coached his current boss Craig Counsell at Notre Dame from 1989-1992.
Pat pitched in the minors for the Giants and Padres, before playing professionally in Australia between 1984 – 1986. He coached the Dutch national team in the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia.
Ed Joseph Sedar – Advisor – Coaching Staff
No feature on the Brewers coaching staff would be complete without Ed. Now aged 59 he starts his 30th season at Milwaukee of which 14 have been in the majors. This season sees his first role in an advisory capacity.
Originally coaching base running and outfield in the minors, Ed has coached at first (2007-2010) and – in his more familiar role – calling players home at third (2011-2020).
He is without doubt one of the most recognisable faces in the Brewers organisation.
Oh, and he has a dog named Squirt – What’s not to love about this man?
So clearly there is a wealth of experience and talent in our coaching staff. Just like the playing roster, CC has some of the very best on hand.
And all are aligned to ensure that the crew continue to perform above the expectations of most.
So for every home run scored or strike out pitched, it’s good to remember the huge amount of hard work from player and coach alike that goes into each and every one of them.
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