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Thomas William Runnells (born April 17, 1955, Greeley, Colorado) is the Bench Coach of the Colorado Rockies of Major League Baseball, and a former infielder, coach and manager in American Major League Baseball.

Contents

Biography

Runnells attended the University of Northern Colorado and originally signed with the San Francisco Giants. He played parts of two seasons (1985-86) with the Cincinnati Reds, appearing in 40 games and batting .174 in 46 at bats without a home run or run batted in. He was a switch hitter who threw right-handed. Runnells began his managerial career with Cincinnati's AA Eastern League affiliate, the Vermont Reds, in 1987. In 1989, his Indianapolis Indians won the American Association championship and the "AAA Classic," earning him a promotion to a coaching position with the parent Montreal Expos.

On June 2, 1991, he was promoted again to manager of the Expos, who were lodged in last place in the National League East Division after 49 games. His time as Expos manager was short but tumultuous. Succeeding the very popular Buck Rodgers, he had trouble establishing his credibility with the media and the team. He was General Manager Dave Dombrowski's hand-picked man but failed to replicate his minor league success as the Expos finished the 1991 season in last place for the first time since 1976. In what became his defining moment, he made an entrance at spring training in 1992 dressed in marine fatigues, apparently trying to channel the spirit of General Norman Schwartzkopf. Everyone who witnessed the performance found it eerily distressing. He then proceeded to try to shake up the team through various strange moves, such as shifting three-time Gold Glove winner Tim Wallach from third base to first base in order to slot in Bret Barberie, who had hardly ever played the position in organized baseball. The players quickly were in open revolt against their leader. Runnells' position with the front office had become shaky anyway, as Dombrowski had bolted the organization and had been replaced by Dan Duquette, who sacked Runnells on May 22, 1992 in favor of Felipe Alou, who would forge the longest and winningest managerial career in Montreal's history.

With a career major league managing record of 68-81 (.456), Runnells then returned to minor league baseball, managing in the farm systems of the Detroit Tigers and the Colorado Rockies. On May 29, 2009. Runnells was promoted to Bench Coach of the Colorado Rockies when manager Clint Hurdle was fired and bench coach Jim Tracy replaced him.

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Personal life

Tom Runnells is married to Chrys Peterson. She is the lead anchor for WTOL-TV, the CBS affiliate, in Toledo, Ohio. They have one child together.

Managerial statistics

Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
MON 1991 51 61 .455 6th in NL East - - - -
MON 1992 17 20 .459 2nd in NL East - - - -
Total 68 81 .456 - - - -

Sources

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Buck Rodgers
Montreal Expos Manager
1991 - 1992
Succeeded by
Felipe Alou
Preceded by
Marv Foley
Colorado Springs Sky Sox Manager
2006–2009
Succeeded by
Stu Cole

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