The Story of How Washington Nationals' Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire Became Known As...

...Washington Nationals' Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire's connection to the DC organization stretches back some 30 years(with a few breaks) to 1978, when the then-18-year old, 6'2'', 190 lb, right-handed amateur free agent pitcher from Glen Falls, New York signed with the Montreal Expos and joined the Rookie level Pioneer League's Calgary Expos, who, that season, (for a bit of perspective), featured an 18-year old Andres Galarraga at first and third base...

...St. Claire pitched six seasons in the Expos' system before he made his MLB debut with Montreal on September 11, 1984, and after nine seasons at all levels of baseball with Montreal, Cincinnati, Minnesota, Atlanta and Toronto, St. Claire made the first professional assessment of talent in what would become his second career as a coach, as Mr. St. Claire himself explained to Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga in a 2/26/07 article entitled, "Nats' St. Claire Knows the Task at Hand", in deciding to bring his own career as a pitcher to an end:

"'I had to be a self-evaluator,' St. Claire said last week. 'I had to know: "You know what? You can't do this anymore. Your skills are deteriorating. What do you do now?""

St. Claire's decision eventually led to his being hired by the Expos again, this time as a coach for one of their old Class-A affiliates, and within nine years of his last game on May 31, 1994St. Claire had worked his way up to the Major League level again, joining the Expos as a coach in 2003 and remaining with the club as they made the move to Washington two years later, staying on as Frank Robinson's pitching coach until Mr. Robinson was relieved of his duties after the 2006 season. At that point, nearly all of Frank Robinson's staff was either reassigned or released so that the incoming Manager would be able to select their own staff...but Randy St. Claire? He wasn't done in DC yet...

...As DC GM Jim Bowden was quoted explaining to Washington Post writer Barry Svrluga in a 10/17/06 article entitled, "Girardi at Top of Short List, St. Claire Will Stay", the decision to retain St. Claire was fairly simple:

"'Randy St. Claire has done a fantastic job with our pitching staff,' General Manager Jim Bowden said in a statement released through a club spokesman. 'His work ethic, tireless attention to detail and ability to communicate have allowed him to build positive relationships with our young pitchers. I am very pleased that Randy will be with us in 2007.'"

Later in Mr. Svrluga's article, Randy St. Claire, who was, at the time, unaware that the Nationals would eventually hire Manny Acta as their new Manager, provided an overview of his approach to working with whatever pitchers were put before him, stressing, "The fundamentals...":

"...first-pitch strikes, getting ahead of hitters, not walking people, fielding your position, all that stuff -- if you prepare them to do that, I think they're going to be successful over the long haul, and I think the manager will be happy."

Two seasons later, and after the Nationals' trying 59-102 '08 campaign, the staff that Manny Acta had selected upon being hired was almost completely disbanded, with the new staff to be chosen by Acta, along with DC GM Jim Bowden, Asst. GM Mike Rizzo and the rest of the Nationals' Brass. So old Acta allies like Pat Corrales, Rick Aponte, Tim Tolman, Jerry Manuel and Lenny Harris were all to be replaced, but Pitching Coach Randy St. Claire? He wasn't going anywhere...

In Washington Post writer Chico Harlan's Nationals Journal post entitled, "More On The Coaching Changes", Mr. Harlan asked DC GM Jim Bowden directly, "The decision to have Randy St. Claire remain on staff -- what did you see from him that makes you feel like he's the right guy?", and Mr. Bowden's response:

"We thought he did a very good job with our young pitchers. They continue to improve and get better."

MLB.com writer Bill Ladson mentioned pitchers John Lannan and Collin Balester in an article entitled, "Nats dismiss most of coaching staff", as particular examples of young pitchers who were successful under St. Claire's tutelage in 2008, and this fall, Mr. Ladson wrote about Mr. St. Claire's visit with some of the youngest Nationals' pitchers competing in the Arizona Fall League in another article at the Nationals' official site entitled, "St. Claire visits AFL prospects", where Mr. St. Claire predicted, after spending a few days with pitchers Adam Carr, Ross Detwiler, Cory VanAllen and Zechry Zinicola, that all of them, "...will be in the big leagues some day," and no doubt, "Teflon" Randy St. Claire, who survived the Montreal years, the move to DC, the end of the Frank Robinson Era and the purge of the first Manny Acta Regime, will still be there when the next generation of DC arms emerges.

                                                      Randystclaire_medium

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