10/21/2005 11:28 AM ET
Orioles name Leo Mazzone as pitching coach
The Orioles today announced that Leo Mazzone has agreed to terms on a 3-year contract to become the club's pitching coach. Mazzone had been pitching coach of the Atlanta Braves for the past 15 ½ years.
Leo Mazzone has been named Baltimore's new pitching coach. (John Bazemore (AP)
Under Mazzone, the Braves pitching staff finished first or second in the National League in ERA in 12 of the last 14 seasons, and Braves hurlers posted an ERA under 4.00 in 13 of his 15 full seasons as coach. The Braves had six Cy Young Award winners and nine 20-game winners under Mazzone, and 10 different pitchers were named to the NL All-Star team.
In 2005, the Braves lost 3 of the 5 members of their starting rotation to injuries and had an array of rookies in the bullpen, but still managed to win the N.L. East Division title for the 14th straight year and finished 6th in the league with a 3.98 ERA.
Named in a recent ESPN.com story as the best "assistant coach" in team sports history, Mazzone took over as Braves pitching coach on June 20, 1990, the same day Bobby Cox was named manager. Mazzone worked as a coach and instructor in the Braves farm system since 1979, including one year - 1985 - as co-pitching coach of the major league club with Johnny Sain.
A native of Keyser, WV, Mazzone was raised in Cumberland, MD and is a longtime friend of recently named Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo, a native of Cumberland. Mazzone graduated from Bruce High School in Westernport, MD before signing with the San Francisco Giants in 1967. He pitched nine seasons in the minors before retiring after the 1975 season, then managed three seasons in the minors before joining the Braves organization.
Mazzone succeeds Ray Miller, who returned in 2004 for this third stint at Orioles pitching coach. Miller recently underwent successful surgery for an aortic aneurism and is recuperating.
"I want to thank Ray Miller for all he did, for his support and his professionalism. Ray did an outstanding job and we remain good friends," said Perlozzo. "Leo and I have been best friends for a long time and have always said that if I get the chance to manage, he would be my pitching coach. I'm glad for us that it will happen, but I'm really happy for the Orioles organization that Leo has joined the club. His record speaks for itself and I have no doubt he will help our pitchers and the ballclub reach the next level."
"Leo Mazzone has proven to be among the best coaches in the game, and we believe he can help both our young and veteran pitchers take the next step in becoming proven winners," said Mike Flanagan, Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations. "We believe this is a real coup for the ballclub and is another step in the process of turning the team into a consistent winner."