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Gene Lamont

Lamont as coach for the Detroit Tigers in 2009.
Catcher
Born: December 25, 1946 (1946-12-25) (age 63)
Rockford, Illinois
Batted: Left Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 2, 1970 for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
May 24, 1975 for the Detroit Tigers
Career statistics
Batting average     .233
Hits     37
Home runs     4
Teams

As player

As manager

Career highlights and awards

Gene William Lamont (born December 25, 1946 in Rockford, Illinois) is a former catcher and manager in Major League Baseball who managed the Chicago White Sox (1992–1995) and Pittsburgh Pirates (1997–2000). He batted as a switch-hitter (mostly left) but threw right-handed during his playing career. Currently, Lamont is 3rd base coach for the Detroit Tigers.

Biography

Lamont was a Chicago Cubs fan all his life, growing up in Kirkland, Illinois and attending Western Illinois University. He was selected by the Detroit Tigers in the 1st round, as the 13th pick, of the 1965 amateur draft, and came up with them as a September call-up in 1970, when he had 13 hits in 44 at bats. The following year, he had only 15 at bats and only 1 hit. In his biggest year, he had 92 at bats, playing as a backup to Tigers catcher Jerry Moses. After 1975, his major league career, spent entirely with the Tigers, was over. He bounced around in the minors, on triple-A Evansville (with such players as Tom Brookens and Jerry Manuel) before stopping. He ended with a lifetime batting average of .233, with 4 home runs and 14 RBI in 87 games played. He had 37 hits in 159 at bats, and stole 1 base.

The highlight of his time as a player had been a home run in his first at bat of his career off the Boston Red Sox' Cal Koonce. However, his career would go on as a manager, beginning soon in 1977 with the Kansas City Royals as a manager, managing their single-A Fort Myers team for two years. After that, he guided double-A Jacksonville Suns to a championship in 1982 and again in 1983, being named Southern League Manager of the Year in the former.

Finally after two seasons with the triple-A Omaha Royals in the minors, he had worked his way up to the majors, serving as a third base coach for Jim Leyland's 1986 Pirates team. By the early '90s, with the Pirates emergence as a contender, Lamont was being considered by some teams for a managing job.

In 1992, Jeff Torborg left the White Sox to take the managing job with the New York Mets, and Lamont was named manager of Chicago. That year, the Sox did well, finishing 86–76, 3rd in the American League's Western Division. However, the following year the White Sox finished 94-68 under Lamont and were first in the AL West for the first time since they won 99 games in 1983 under Tony La Russa. His team consisted of such stars as Frank Thomas, Robin Ventura, Ellis Burks, Jack McDowell, Alex Fernandez, Jason Bere, and Wilson Alvarez. Lamont took home the AL Manager of the Year award that year, and the team lost in the American League Championship Series to the soon-to-be champs, the Toronto Blue Jays.

In 1994, a baseball strike took place. When it began, the White Sox had the best record in the league; but the following year, the team seemed really hurt by it, starting out with an 11–20 record before Lamont was fired and replaced by Terry Bevington.

Lamont returned to the Pirates and began coaching again, before Leyland left in 1997, giving Lamont the job of manager once again. He was the first Pirates manager to have been a catcher during his playing career since Billy Meyer (1948-1952). Amazingly, in his first year Lamont finished second with a young, inexperienced team that was widely predicted to finish last. His team often upset many NL teams vying for playoff spots. He came in 2nd place in the manager of the year voting behind Dusty Baker of the San Francisco Giants.

There was no continued success for the Pirates though, finishing in last place in the Central in 1998. After the terrible 2000 season, Lamont was fired and replaced by Lloyd McClendon.

He has a career record of 553–562, barely below .500 at .496, despite the many bad Pirates seasons. His all-time record in Chicago was 258–210, and he was 295–352 in Pittsburgh. Lamont had two first place finishes, including the strike shortened year.

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Managerial records

Team Year Regular season Post season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CWS 1992 86 76 .531 3rd in AL West
CWS 1993 94 68 .580 1st in AL West 2 4 .333 Lost ALCS to TOR
CWS 1994 67 46 .593 1st in AL Central No playoffs
CWS 1995 11 20 .355 3rd in AL Central (fired)
PIT 1997 79 83 .488 2nd in NL Central
PIT 1998 69 93 .426 6th in NL Central
PIT 1999 78 83 .484 3rd in NL Central
PIT 2000 69 93 .426 5th in NL Central
Total 553 562 .496

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