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11/14/07 Get To Know Your Nationals. Coaching Edition: Tim Tolman

     July 24, 2007. Washington Nationals at Philadelphia Phillies. Citizen's Bank Ballpark. Philadelphia, PA. Two out in the top of the third inning. Phillies lead 2-0. Jason Bergmann stands at second with Ronnie Belliard at the plate...

     ...Belliard singles to center off Philly starter Kyle Kendrick. Aaron Rowand fields the ball in center as Jason Bergmann approaches third. Nationals third base coach Tim Tolman waves Bergmann around. Bergmann's slow. The throw in from center beats Bergmann to the plate.(1) Bergmann slides...

      "You're OUT!!" the Umpire screams. Phillies catcher Carlos Ruiz had the plate blocked. Bergmann comes up limping...

     Tim Tolman played parts of seven Major League seasons with the Houston Astros, starting with his debut on September 9, 1981 in Atlanta's old Fulton County Stadium, four years after the Astros had drafted the twenty-two year old outfielder out of Santa Monica, California with the 297th Pick in the 11th Round of the 1978 MLB Amateur Draft in the same year Tolman led USC to a College World Series win as the Pac 10 Player of the Year and Captain of the Trojans.

     Over 12 seasons in Houston's Minor League system, Tolman collected 1,258 hits in 4,246 at bats for a .296 career average with 263 doubles, 46 triples, 91 HR's and 621 RBI's, earning himself call-ups year after year with the Astros.

     In the Majors, however, Tolman managed only a .168 AVG over 7 seasons and 132 games, 33 hits in 196 at bats, 10 doubles, 5 HR's and 24 RBI's in his career. Tolman's last stint in the Majors came in 1987 in Detroit, where, at the age of thirty-one, Tolman managed just 1 hit in 12 at bats for the Tigers.

     Tolman began his second career, as a Manager in the Houston Astros Minor League system, in 1991, and according to his bio at, Tolman, "...Managed at every level in HOU's minor-league system from 1991-96." In Matthew Perls November 11, 2007 article, "A National in the Republic" at, Perl recounts Tolman's resume:

          "...4 seasons as the Cleveland Indians minor-league field
          coordinator, 14 seasons working in player development
          with the Houston Astros (including 6 seasons as a minor-
          league manager), 6 seasons in the Astros Scouting
          Department and managing for 3 seasons in the
          Venezuelan Winter League."

     During this time, Tim Tolman Managed current Nationals Manager Manny Acta, during his own playing career and, "encouraged Acta to go to scouting school and develop as an instructor," according to baseball writer Barry Svrluga's article, "Acta Completes His Staff," from November 22, 2006.

     Manny Acta added Tolman to his staff, as Third Base Coach, soon after being named Nationals Manager in '06, and was quoted by Bill Ladson in an article entitled, "Acta selects his coaching staff," at, saying:

           "He(Tolman) was real good to me...He taught me a lot
           about the game. He has a sharp mind when it comes to

     A third base coach only gets noticed when he makes a mistake, as Tolman learned after the Bergmann play in July '07, (recounted above), and two other plays which continued a two-week period, following Bergmann's injury, during which Tolman made several questionable calls and called attention to his decision-making for a short time.

     In another, Barry Svrluga article at the time entitled, "Third Base Coach Makes Tough Calls," Tolman provided his reasoned thoughts on the stretch of what were perceived as mistaken calls:

          "You may go two, three weeks where you don't have any
          decisions," Tolman said yesterday. "And then you might
          go the next two, three weeks and you have to make 20.
          That's just how it works."

     In his thirtieth year in the game, Tim Tolman will be standing just to the left of third and waving runners around again in the new Nationals stadium in 2008, as Manny Acta announced in late October that Tolman would be back, along with the entire coaching staff that ended 2007, prompting Nationals GM Jim Bowden to state in an MASN staff article entitled, "Nationals retain Acta's entire staff" that:

          "It's very important to have stability and continuity with
          any successful franchise...Certainly we're very pleased
          with the job Manny Acta and the coaching staff did with
          this team. The club was very competitive, a .500 club
          from May 11 on, and a lot of the credit should go to the
          coaching staff."

     In their second season as a staff, Manny Acta's regime will have to be a ".500 club" for the entire season if they hope to compete for the Wild Card, since it's already assumed the Nationals can't compete for the NL East crown for another few seasons. I wonder if Acta and Tolman agree with the general opinion?

(1) = has differing accounts in their write-up and at Gameday about who actually threw Bergmann out.

Bill Ladson says Pat Burrell here... key=recap&fext=.jsp&c_id=was's Gameday says Aaron Rowand here(Top of 3rd)...

...And I don't remember???)


Tim Tolman's profile:

Matthew Perl's article, "A National in the Republic" at's Box Score of Tim Tolman's MLB debut:

Tim Tolman's stats at

Barry Svrluga's articles:

"Acta Completes His Staff":

"Third Base Coach Makes Tough Calls":

"Nationals Bring Back Entire Coaching Staff":

Bill Ladson's article, "Acta selects his coaching staff": ws_was&fext=.jsp&c_id=was

MASN Staff article, "Nationals retain Acta's entire staff":