GRAND PRAIRIE, Texas – The Texas AirHogs are proud to announce that former Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals skipper John McLaren will serve as the team’s manager for the 2018 season.
McLaren served as Mariners manager from 2007-2008 and also managed the Nationals during the 2011 season. He will bring 48 years of professional playing and coaching experience to his new role.
Photo: McLaren managed the Washington Nationals in 2011
This year’s staff will feature veteran coaches who will also bring a wealth of experience. Longtime Astros minor league manager Jim Johnson, who also managed the Saint Paul Saints in 2002, will serve as the team’s hitting coach. Former Padres pitcher and Texas Rangers coach Larry Hardy will serve as the team’s pitching coach. The staff will also feature former Rice University star and St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Kevin Joseph, as well as former Milwaukee Brewers third baseman and coach Garth Iorg.
Originally drafted by the Astros in the June 1970 MLB Amateur Draft, McLaren played seven seasons in minor league baseball, all in the Astros’ system. The former catcher hit .250 with 38 home runs and 200 RBIs over his professional career, reaching as high as triple-A before transitioning to coaching.
McLaren managed in the Blue Jays farm system from 1979-1985, skippering Toronto affiliates in Utica, Kinston and Knoxville before becoming the Blue Jays’ third base coach in 1986. He remained with Toronto through the 1990 season. Other big league coaching stops for McLaren included the Boston Red Sox (1991) and Cincinnatti Reds (1992). He was a prominent part of Lou Pinella’s staff in Cincinnatti and with the Mariners (1993-2002) and Tampa Bay Devil Rays (2003-2005).
McLaren returned to the Mariners in 2006 as the team’s bench coach and was named manager midway through the 2007 season. He guided Seattle to a second place finish that year and remained the team’s skipper until June 2008.
After working as a scout and bench coach with the Washington Nationals beginning in 2009, McLaren got a second opportunity to manage in the MLB. He replaced Jim Riggleman as the manager on an interim basis during the 2011 season before Washington hired Davey Johnson.
In 2016-2017, McLaren served as the catching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies.
McLaren has gained notoriety for his work in international baseball. He served as the third-base coach for Team USA at the World Baseball Classic in 2006. He replaced Terry Collins as the manager of Team China at the 2013 World Baseball Classic, guiding the team to an upset over Chinese Taipei in the tournament’s opening round. He once again managed Team China at the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
A Texas native, McLaren is an alum of Westbury High in Houston as well as Blinn College, the University of St. Thomas and Houston Baptist University.