Must-read: Tony Jaramillo overcame adversity to succeed as a hitting coach

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer has a terrific feature up today focusing on Reds assistant hitting coach Tony Jaramillo. Jaramillo is in his second season as the Reds’ hitting coach and while the team hasn’t been anything to write home about, he has been instrumental in the progression of some of the team’s best players, including Zack Cozart and Billy Hamilton.

To get to where he is now, though, Jaramillo had to overcome tremendous adversity. Like many other families, Jaramillo’s parents were caught up with drugs. His father served a 10-year prison sentence for “knowingly and intentionally distributing approximately 20 ounces of heroin.” His mother served five years for six charges of delivery of a controlled substance and another four years for using a telephone to discuss a future heroin transaction. Fortunately for her, those two sentences ran concurrently.

As a result, Jaramillo went to live with his grandparents but after a year and a half, they moved in with their aunt and uncle. His uncle, Rudy, would soon become a major league hitting coach with the Astros from 1990-93 and most notably with the Rangers from 1995-2009 as well as the Cubs from 2010-12. Tony, who loved to hit as a kid, got the opportunity to not only learn the art of hitting, but got to interact with major league players.

Buchanan describes what it was like for Tony to get his parents back as he began to get attention for his baseball playing skills. His parents pushed him to continue to spend time with Rudy. While Tony got a chance with the Rangers in rookie ball in 1998 and ’99, he didn’t gather much momentum. He played in independent ball for another four years before transitioning into coaching, working his way up from the low levels of the minors into the majors, where he’s flourished. Cozart said of Tony, “He’s just all-in and he loves doing it. I think he’s really good at teaching hitting.”

Check out the whole thing on the Cincinnati Enquirer. It’s worth the time.

Jones, Maddux, Morris consider Bonds, Clemens for Hall

USA TODAY Sports
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COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. — Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris and Ryne Sandberg are among 16 members of the contemporary baseball era committee that will meet to consider the Cooperstown fate of an eight-man ballot that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro.

Hall of Famers Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also are on the panel, which will meet in San Diego ahead of the winter meetings.

They will be joined by former Toronto CEO Paul Beeston, former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein, Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng, Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and Chicago White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams.

Three media members/historians are on the committee: longtime statistical analyst Steve Hirdt of Stats Perform, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Neal and Slusser are past presidents of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Hall Chairman Jane Forbes Clark will be the committee’s non-voting chair.

The ballot also includes Albert Belle, Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Dale Murphy and Curt Schilling. The committee considers candidates whose careers were primarily from 1980 on. A candidate needs 75% to be elected and anyone who does will be inducted on July 23, along with anyone chosen in the BBWAA vote, announced on Jan. 24.

Bonds, Clemens and Schilling fell short in January in their 10th and final appearances on the BBWAA ballot. Bonds received 260 of 394 votes (66%), Clemens 257 (65.2%) and Schilling 231 (58.6%).

Palmeiro was dropped from the BBWAA ballot after receiving 25 votes (4.4%) in his fourth appearance in 2014, falling below the 5% minimum needed to stay on. His high was 72 votes (12.6%) in 2012.

Bonds denied knowingly using performance-enhancing drugs and Clemens maintains he never used PEDs. Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days in August 2005 following a positive test under the major league drug program, just over two weeks after getting his 3,000th hit.

A seven-time NL MVP, Bonds set the career home run record with 762 and the season record with 73 in 2001. A seven-time Cy Young Award winner, Clemens went 354-184 with a 3.12 ERA and 4,672 strikeouts, third behind Nolan Ryan (5,714) and Randy Johnson (4,875). Palmeiro had 3,020 hits and 568 homers.

Schilling fell 16 votes shy with 285 (71.1%) in 2021. Support dropped after hateful remarks he made in retirement toward Muslims, transgender people, reporters and others.

McGriff got 169 votes (39.8%) in his final year on the BBWAA ballot in 2019. Murphy was on the BBWAA ballot 15 times and received a high of 116 votes (23.2%) in 2000. Mattingly received a high of 145 votes (28.2%) in the first of 15 appearances on the BBWAA ballot in 2001, and Belle appeared on two BBWAA ballots, receiving 40 votes (7.7%) in 2006 and 19 (3.5%) in 2007.

Players on Major League Baseball’s ineligible list cannot be considered, a rule that excludes Pete Rose.

This year’s BBWAA ballot includes Carlos Beltran, John Lackey and Jered Weaver among 14 newcomers and Scott Rolen, Todd Helton and Billy Wagner among holdovers.