John Halama named Revolution pitching coach
When Mark Mason was promoted from pitching coach to Revolution Manager upon the retirement of Andy Etchebarren, fans wondered if Mason would continue to handle the pitching staff day-to-day along with his managerial and player procurement duties. We now know that is not the case, as Atlantic League veteran John Halama, also a veteran of nine Major League seasons, has retired as a player and signed on as the third pitching coach in York Revolution history. (Tippy Martinez & Mason.)
Halama, 40, was drafted by the Houston Astros in 1994, debuting in the majors for Houston in 1998. His most notable time in the big leagues would come with the very good Seattle Mariners teams of the early 2000s, pitching there between 1999 and 2002. Between 2003 and his last appearance in the majors in 2006, Halama suited up for Oakland, Tampa Bay, Boston, Washington and Baltimore. In the Atlantic League, he pitched for Long Island in 2007, before being left unprotected in the expansion draft to create the first Southern Maryland Blue Crabs roster in 2008. From 2008 through 2010, Halama began the season with SOMD and ended it in Triple-A for the Indians, Braves and Athletics respectively. When former Blue Crabs manager Butch Hobson went to Lancaster in 2011, Halama joined him for each of the last two seasons, helping the Barnstormers to the playoffs each year.
Here is the full press release from the Revolution (Darrell Henry), after the jump:
ATLANTIC LEAGUE GREAT JOHN HALAMA NAMED REVS PITCHING COACH
Former Major Leaguer and on-field rival joins York’s coaching staff
(York, Pa.): Longtime Atlantic League ace John Halama will join the York Revolution as the team’s new pitching coach in 2013, it was announced today. Halama is the first new hire made by first-year Revs Manager Mark Mason, who had previously served as York’s pitching coach the last three seasons.
“We’re very excited to be adding John to our coaching staff,” said Mason. “His personality along with the knowledge and experience he’s acquired throughout his playing career will allow him to transition smoothly into his coaching career. John is obviously no stranger to the league and that will also be a plus for everyone involved. I’m sure he will be a great fit here.”
Halama transitions to the next phase of his baseball career as a coach after a decorated playing career that spanned parts of nine seasons in the Major Leagues, followed by stops in the Atlantic League over the last six seasons.
“I’m excited to stay in the game and take on a new role,” said Halama. “I won’t know exactly what the transition will be like until the season starts and I’m sure there will be a lot of things I’ll have to learn and pick up along the way, but being in York and working with a former pitching coach in ‘Mase’, I can pick his brain and bounce ideas off of him. That’s the beauty of being in York, I have him to help me out and guide me.”
At age 40, Halama was still one of the league’s best last year, finishing in the league’s top five in wins with a 13-8 record, to go with a 3.09 ERA, the league’s fourth lowest, in 27 starts for the rival Lancaster Barnstormers. He also proved to still be one of the league’s most durable, with three complete games including a nine-inning shutout on August 23 against Sugar Land, and 186.2 total innings to his credit, the second most in the league.
Last season marked the fifth consecutive year that Halama pitched for Manager Butch Hobson, with three seasons in Southern Maryland (2008-2010) followed by two years in Lancaster on Hobson’s teams. Hobson saw a future coach in the veteran southpaw.
“He was a good example for younger pitchers to watch because he pounded the strike zone, had a game plan, and he was always in the dugout talking to other pitchers when he wasn’t on the mound,” said Hobson. “I noticed that when I first had him in 2008 and thought then that he’d have a chance to be a really good pitching coach one day. He’s also very, very intense, and very knowledgeable of the game. He had a chance to work as my pitching coach for a few games when Marty Janzen was away for the birth of his son, and he’ll do a good job. York’s got a good one there. If I didn’t already have Marty, York wouldn’t be getting John, that’s for sure.”
Halama is a 56-game winner at the Major League level, and reached double figures in wins in three consecutive seasons with the Seattle Mariners from 1999-2001. That stretch included a career-best 14-win season in 2000, while he also won 10 games for the 2001 Mariners team that set the American League single-season wins record and tied the Major League wins record by going 116-46. That same year, Halama fired a perfect game for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers, one of just eight in the history of the Pacific Coast League.
All told, the Brooklyn native totaled 262 appearances including 119 starts at the Major League level for the Houston Astros, Seattle Mariners, Oakland Athletics, Tampa Bay Rays, Washington Nationals, Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles from 1998-2006.
Halama first came to the Atlantic League in 2007 with the Long Island Ducks, and began each of the next three seasons with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, before having his contract purchased by a Major League organization all three years. He is the only player in Atlantic League history to earn a contract with a Major League organization on four separate occasions after playing for an Atlantic League team, having signed with the Cleveland Indians in 2008, the Atlanta Braves in 2009, the Milwaukee Brewers following the 2009 season, and the Oakland Athletics in 2010.
Halama ranks in the top ten in Atlantic League history with 41 career victories, while posting a 3.43 career ERA. That mark includes a sub-2.00 ERA in three consecutive Atlantic League seasons from 2008-2010 with Southern Maryland. He also ranks eighth in league history in innings pitched with 627.
Halama was always a rival of the team he now joins, having earned six of his victories against York with a 3.69 ERA and five complete games. Among his highlights were complete game shutouts against the Revs in 2008 and 2011, and a complete game two-hitter in a playoff victory against York on September 24, 2011.