“You’ve got to relax and realize it’s the pitcher who’s in trouble, not you.”
Hitting Coach: Harold “Butch” Wynegar
Butch Wynegar caught in the Major Leagues for some 13 years. In 1976, at age 20, Butch became the first ever catcher to make the jump from Class A to the Major Leagues. Wynegar accomplished this with the Minnesota Twins because his manager, Gene Mauch, had great confidence in him. Butch Wynegar was second to Mark Fidrych for Rookie of the Year honors. Wynegar was named to the American League All-Star team each of his first two seasons, and in 1982 he was traded to the New York Yankees. Butch caught Dave Righetti’s no-hitter (1983) and Phil Niekro’s 300th win (1985). Wynegar was the Milwaukee Brewers hitting coach from 2003-2006 and from 2007-2014 was the New York Yankees Triple-A hitting coach in Scranton.
These days Butch Wynegar is the hitting coach for the Pittsburgh Pirates Triple-A team, the Indianapolis Indians. Butch’s quote, “it’s the pitcher who’s in trouble not you” leads you to one thing: confidence. In baseball, more than any other sport, confidence levels waver due to the difficult nature of hitting and pitching. No matter how good a player you are, you will have to deal with adversity. One of the things that Butch and other good coaches do, is to instill confidence in their players. There are times you must lead with a firm hand and other times, as Butch has said to me, “You often can accomplish more with honey than with vinegar.” I think Butch Wynegar is right on target with that comment. Butch Wynegar’s accomplishments as a player speak for themselves. Minor League managers and coaches like Butch are “unsung heroes” in that they help shape players careers and get them to the Major Leagues. As the Indianapolis Indians broadcaster, I have seen first hand how dedicated Butch Wynegar is with all the time and effort he puts in with the hitters. He is a credit to his family and to the game of baseball.