Before this recent run of Brewers success, the last time the Crew made a postseason run was during that famed 2011 season. And when you think back to that team, plenty of significant players from Milwaukee lore come to mind.
Names like (newly Hall of Fame eligible) Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Jonathan Lucroy, Rickie Weeks, Zack Greinke, John Axford, Carlos Gomez, Nyjer Morgan – well you get the picture – stand out. But like any team that makes a deep run, important role players were there as well.
One of those players was outfielder Mark Kotsay. Signed before the season, the 35-year-old was already a veteran of 14 MLB seasons, had played with six different teams across both leagues, and had over 1600 games under his belt.
On a team that already featured Braun, Gomez, Morgan, and Corey Hart in the outfield, Kotsay still got plenty of run as a Brewer. He played in 104 games that season, batting .270 with a .703 OPS and a trio of home runs.
2011 would be his only season with Milwaukee, and after another two seasons in the league, Kotsay would announce his retirement.
Since then, Kotsay has still spent plenty of time in a Major League dugout, just in a different capacity. Most recently, it was as a third base coach for the Oakland A’s, the same organization he’d been with since the 2016 season, and also the same organization with an open managerial position.
Today, former Brewers outfielder Mark Kotsay was named the manager of the Oakland A’s.
The fact that Kotsay even had a position to apply for was a bit of a surprise. The position came open when former A’s manager Bob Melvin, at the time the longest tenured MLB manager, accepted the corresponding open position with the San Diego Padres this offseason.
Kotsay joins fellow former Brewers such as Mike Matheny and 2021 NL Manager of the Year Gabe Kapler as current MLB managers. Oh yeah, he also becomes peers with current Brewers manager, and ex-Milwaukee infielder, Craig Counsell.
It will be interesting to see what type of team Kotsay inherits in 2022. The A’s have already lost talented outfielders Mark Cahna and Starling Marte, both to the Mets, in free agency. It’s also been common this offseason to see musings as to whether they might be willing to trade first baseman Matt Olson or third baseman Matt Chapman.
If Kotsay needs advice on how to be successful in a rookie season as manager, all he needs to do is look down the road to Kapler. The San Francisco Giants didn’t have very high preseason expectations in 2021, but that didn’t stop Kapler from leading his team to MLB’s highest win total last season.
It’s always cool to see former Brewers players get coaching jobs across the league, even more so when it’s the job of manager.