Arrow-right Camera


Herold Steps Up To Plate But Manager Keeps Career, Promotion In Perspective

The uninformed might wonder why Bob Herold had to manage four years at rookie league before earning a promotion.

Turns out Herold’s idea of a promotion isn’t the same as many people’s.

Not to say that the youthful-looking 47-year-old is unappreciative of the chance to guide the Spokane Indians, a short-season A team one step up from rookies leagues.

But Herold, a native and resident of Omaha, Neb., liked what he had going in Florida’s Gulf Coast League.

The numbers - a 144-91 record and first-place finishes the last two years - weren’t the main allure.

Instead, Herold cherished dinners at home, bed-time stories with the kids and Sundays free for church.

In the Sunshine State, rookie-league games are held in the morning to avoid scheduling confrontations with the Class A advanced Florida State League.

Rookie-league players and coaches have nights and weekends off to create their tropical paradise.

For Herold, that meant extra time for what really matters.

“We home-school our kids, so I prefer to be home every night,” Herold said Thursday as he prepared for a four-day minicamp that begins this morning at Seafirst Stadium. “My faith in God is the most important thing in my life. My’s family’s second, my job’s third.”

The Kansas City Royals, Spokane’s parent club, have offered Herold a handful of promotions since he took over the Gulf Coast team in 1991. (His one year away from Florida, 1992, was to coach at Triple-A Omaha.)

The Royals finally talked Herold into the Spokane position for reasons practical to Kansas City. Herold switched places with 1995 Spokane manager Al Pedrique, a Venezuelan whose mastery of Spanish comes in handy with the large number of Latin American players at Gulf Coast.

Herold, who also speaks Spanish, knows Pedrique at first considered the flip-flop a demotion. Yet Pedrique will likely benefit from working with Gulf Coast hitting coach Jose Tartabull - the best baseball mind in the K.C. organization, according to Herold.

Herold’s baseball mind has been noticed, too.

“Bob Herold, I think, is a motivator,” said fourth-year Spokane general manager Andy Billig, who has seen four Indians managers. “He has earned a lot of respect.”

The talkative Herold describes himself a “hyper,” yet enough in control of his emotions to positively influence his players.

“You don’t want to give them any excuses not to be professionals,” said the former outfielder/first baseman in the Royals organization.

Herold is prepared to witness a different brand of player in Spokane. Northwest League players tend to have college experience and a few years away from home under their belts. Rookie-league sorts may have more talent in the long run, but they often have to learn how to hit the curveball or cover the right bag.

Herold preaches making the right choices on the field and off. He makes some points by reciting biblical verses. Boastfulness is one of his pet peeves.

For that reason, Herold takes little credit for managing title winners in ‘94 and ‘95. He said fans shower managers with too much praise for winning and too much blame for losing.

“You know what I do when I have good players?” he asked. “I write their names down (on the lineup card) and then I just get the heck out of the way.”

Spokane’s minicamp roster grew to 29 Thursday when Kansas City signed right-handed pitcher Stephen Huesten.

Huesten, out of Long Beach State, was selected in the 10th round of last week’s amateur draft.

, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color photo

MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: OPENING WEEK Tuesday: At Everett Wednesday: at Everett Thursday: at Everett June 21: vs. Eugene June 22: vs. Eugene June 23: vs. Eugene June 24: vs. Eugene

This sidebar appeared with the story: OPENING WEEK Tuesday: At Everett Wednesday: at Everett Thursday: at Everett June 21: vs. Eugene June 22: vs. Eugene June 23: vs. Eugene June 24: vs. Eugene