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Juan Samuel

From BR Bullpen


Juan Milton Samuel

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 5' 11", Weight 170 lb.

BR page

Biographical Information[edit]

080808 Juan Samuel 211a.jpg

Juan Samuel, who played 16 seasons in the major leagues, is currently Third Base Coach of the Philadelphia Phillies.

Bill James once compared Samuel to actor Walter Matthau, saying that Samuel was equally hard to cast: obviously talented but not in ways that fit easily into a baseball team. He had speed, so you might want him leading off - except that he struck out a lot, didn't draw many walks, and his batting average was moderate. Or, with his power, you might want him hitting cleanup or fifth in the lineup, except that he really didn't have the kind of slugging that usually is required for those positions. The result is that Samuel was put in all sorts of spots in the lineup, never quite fitting.

Juan Samuel was signed to his first contract by Francisco Acevedo, the same scout that signed Julio Franco, out of San Pedro de Macoris. He tore through the Philadelphia Phillies minor-league system in the early 1980s, hitting well over .300 with power and exceptional speed at both A and AAA ball, skipping AA altogether. He played winter ball in 1982 for Torices (Colombia). By late 1983 Samuel was in the NL Champions' lineup at times and made their postseason roster. By 1984 he was the leadoff hitter and an All-Star. There was some debate that year as to whether he or Mets pitcher Dwight Gooden should win the Rookie of the Year Award. One rival manager quipped: "I don't know, they're pretty close in strikeouts, aren't they ?" In the end, Gooden won the award, but Samuel was perceived as a budding superstar.

Samuel finished second to Tony Gwynn in multiple-hit games in 1984, 70 to 60. That season, he fell one RBI short of becoming the fifth player in Major League history to have 70 stolen bases and 70 RBI's in one season. He was the 34th player in history to score 100 runs in his rookie season. He set a Phillies rookie record with 13 game-winning RBI in 1984. The spikes he wore when he set the rookie stolen base record with 72 are displayed in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY. Entering 2007, Juan was the last Phillie to collect 15 or more doubles, triples, homers and stolen bases in a season, twice. He accomplished that feat in both 1984 and 1987. Jimmy Rollins accomplished it for the Phillies in 2007.

He tied a major league record for consecutive strikeout titles with four from 1984 to 1987, shared with Hack Wilson (1927-1930) and Vince DiMaggio (1942-1945). Samuel's blend of power and speed offset his egregious strikeout rate and his shortcomings as a second baseman. He tied the Major League record for assists by a second baseman in a game with 12 against New York on April 20, 1985. He homered in 4 straight games that year, one short of the Phillies' record. He hit a 10th inning home run against San Francisco on August 20, 1986, which marks the last time the Phillies won an extra-inning game 1-0 by hitting a home run. In 1987, he set an All-Star Game record for most putouts by a second baseman (7), breaking the mark previously set in 1933, and tied another record for most chances by a second baseman (9) set by Bill Mazeroski in 1958. He had a 17-game hitting streak in 1987. Juan Samuel appeared on the 1988 Steve Jeltz Donruss baseball card #576; it is a Steve Jeltz card, front and back, yet Samuel's picture appears in the photo section in front of the card. In 1988, he led National League second basemen in putouts (343) and double plays (92).

Samuel played only second base in his major league career until the 1988 season, when he played third base on July 4th and went 0 for 4 against the Atlanta Braves in a Phillies 7 - 0 loss. He also played the outfield for the first time in 1988 on September 7th (rightfield) and went 1 for 4 against the St. Louis Cardinals in a 5 - 0 Phillies loss. He played centerfield against the Cardinals on September 14, going 2 for 5 at the plate in a 9-2 Phillies victory and on September 15, when he was 0 for 4. Overall he was 3 for 17 at the plate and the Phillies were 1 and 3 in the four games he played away from second base. This is the point his career began to decline. In 1989, the Phillies tried to make him a full-time outfielder to take advantage of his speed ("I am the fastest", Samuel was heard to remark) but his hitting suffered. He then was traded to the Mets for their centerfielder, Lenny Dykstra and pitcher Roger McDowell.

Despite playing for the Phillies for only 5+ seasons, he still ranks in the Phillies' Top 20 all-time in triples, home runs and stolen bases. This shows his impressive early career speed and power. He held the Philadelphia Phillies record for home runs leading off a game with 14, until Jimmy Rollins broke it in 2006. He ranks fourth on the Phillies for games played at second base with 798. Until 2007, Juan had the most home runs by any Phillies second baseman with 90 in his Phillies career; Chase Utley passed him that year.

Samuel didn't work out at all with the Mets, who traded him to the Los Angeles Dodgers after the 1989 season for Mike Marshall and Alejandro Pena. The Dodgers put him back at second base, full-time, in 1991 and he was once again an All-Star Second Basemen. He then slipped into the role of utility player for several clubs in the second half of his 16-year career. In Juan's final major league game, September 26, 1998, he pinch ran, stole third base and scored the winning run for the Toronto Blue Jays over the Detroit Tigers in the 13th inning of a 5-4 Blue Jays win. That date was also the last game for Dennis Eckersley, Jim Eisenreich and Bob Tewksbury... among others. Samuel is one of only a handful of players of his generation who retired with 100+ career doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases, joining Hall of Famers Robin Yount and George Brett. Tim Raines is one of the few others; in fact, Samuel and Raines appeared on a 1987 Fleer baseball card together titled, "Doubles and Triples", and it was Raines' record for stolen bases as a rookie that Samuel broke in 1984. The two were often compared in the 1980s, but Raines was a much more patient batter, drawing a huge number of walks while striking out relatively little, while Samuel had more home run power.

As of 2014, Samuel is one of only 56 players in MLB Baseball history who have recorded 100+ Triples and 100+ Homeruns in his career. Of those 56, he is only one of 16 who are not in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Samuel in uniform for the Orioles

Shortly after his playing career ended, Samuel joined the Detroit Tigers coaching staff in 1999, initially as first base coach, He switched to third base on April 9, 2002 after manager Phil Garner was fired. He remained in the job through four managers and the complete descent of the Tigers into baseball purgatory in 2003 and saw the club return to mediocrity in 2005. The following year, he made his managerial debut as skipper of the Binghamton Mets and after the season, he joined the Baltimore Orioles as the team's third base coach.

Like some other contemporary talents who seemed to have more athleticism than baseball smarts (Alfredo Griffin, Ozzie Guillen), Samuel seems to be forging a respectable career as a teacher of younger players, both as a coach and as a minor league manager.

Juan's Brother, Fernando Samuel, once played in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He has four children, Francisco (born May 22, 1983), Noemy (born June 22, 1989), Samuel (born March 4, 1997) & Alexa (born August 3, 2003).

Juan received 2 votes on the Hall of Fame ballot of 2004, his only year of eligibility. He is however a member of the Peninsula Baseball Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Virginia Professional Baseball Hall of Fame along with Gary Carter, Johnny Bench and Satchel Paige, among others. He holds the Peninsula single-season records for runs scored (111) and total bases (283).

Samuel was the 2006 recipient of the Philadelphia Phillies Latino Legend Award. He received this award on September 6 at Citizens Bank Park. He was inducted onto Phillies Wall of Fame on August 8, 2008.

Samuel replaced Dave Trembley as interim manager of the Baltimore Orioles, owners of the worst record in the major leagues at the time, on June 4, 2010. Samuel had been the Orioles' third base coach until that point. On July 29, the Orioles announced that they had come to an agreement with Buck Showalter to become the team's manager, beginning on August 3. Samuel declined a return to 3rd base coach and accepted a position with the Orioles to work on special assignments. He was then hired by the Philadelphia Phillies on November 11, 2010 to be the third base coach in 2011, with Sam Perlozzo moving over to become first base coach. He is the 34th man in franchise history to both play and coach for the Phillies. He kept the position for two years, then was replaced by Ryne Sandberg after the 2012 season, but stayed with the team, moving to coach first base in 2013. When Sandberg took over for Charlie Manuel as Phillies manager on August 16th, Samuel moved back to his familiar third base coaching spot, while assistant hitting coach Wally Joyner took over first base duties. Samuel returned to first base for 2014-2015 before sliding across the diamond to third base once more for 2016-2017. When Gabe Kapler was named manager for 2018, he chose not to bring Samuel back as a coach.

Samuel was bench coach of the Dayton Dragons in 2022.

Samuel also coached internationally. He was a coach on the 2013 and 2017 Dominican Republic national team in the World Baseball Classic. The Dominican Republic won the tournament in 2013. In addition, Samuel managed the Leones del Escogido team during the 2004/2005 Dominican Winter League season until he was fired on 12/7/2004.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 1984 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 3-time All-Star (1984, 1987 & 1991)
  • NL Silver Slugger Award (1987)
  • 3-time NL At Bats Leader (1984, 1985 & 1987)
  • 2-time NL Triples Leader (1984 & 1987)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1987)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1987)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 3 (1984, 1985 & 1987)
  • 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 2 (1984 & 1985)

Preceded by
Dave Trembley
Baltimore Orioles Manager
Succeeded by
Buck Showalter

Year-by-Year Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs Notes
2006 Binghamton Mets Eastern League 70-70 6th New York Mets
2010 Baltimore Orioles American League 17-34 -- Baltimore Orioles replaced Dave Trembley (15-39) on June 4/
replaced by Buck Showalter on August 3


Quotes Regarding Juan Samuel as a player

"...Juan Samuel is an impact player. Whenever I thought about the Phillies the last four or five years, I thought about Juan Samuel. He reminds me of Bobby Bonds. People don't realize what kind of impact player he is." - Davey Johnson, Mets Manager, The New York Times June 19, 1989

Commenting on the passing of Philadelphia Phillies announcer Harry Kalas on April 13, 2009:

"I've known him for a long, long time and he was a real good friend of mine. He's one of the people that every time I went to Philadelphia, I'd look forward to seeing. Now, I'm going to miss that. And I know all the fans in Philadelphia and in Pennsylvania are going to miss that voice. It's probably not going to be the same. As recently as last year, he was the emcee when I went into the Phillies Wall of Fame. That was a real highlight for me. And last night on the flight, I was going through my camera and I saw all those moments again. It's going to stay there for a long time." - "People always commented to me about how they loved to hear Harry say, 'Run Sammy, run," with that distinctive voice."

When hired by the Orioles as Interim Manager on June 4, 2010

"I played the game aggressive[ly]. I would like to manage the same way," he said. "Aggressive, take chances, and that's what I will try to do. I expect those guys to come out there with some energy; I expect those guys to compete. That's the No. 1 thing for me. If you compete, and regardless of the outcome, you go home feeling good. Let's go out there and compete. Each pitch, each at-bat. … I would expect these guys to come out on the field with a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of fire, and I think fans appreciate that. That's what I want to tell the fans, expect that from them — the enthusiasm, the hustle, the preparation."

In the Philadelphia Daily News in regards to moving to the outfield - March 8, 2011

"I started having hamstring problems when I moved out there...the movements are different in the outfield. I had to run with longer strides than in the infield, where you take quick, little steps.....I thought my offense struggled because my concern was moving to a new position. I wanted to play good defense," he said.

Quotes about Juan Samuel when he was promoted to interim manager by the Orioles[edit]

Former Oriole Mickey Tettleton, who played with Samuel in Detroit in 1994 "This is a really good fit for Sammy, he always carried himself in a leadership role. Sammy's players will work hard, like he did, and they will play the game right."

Davey Johnson, the onetime Orioles skipper who managed Samuel with the New York Mets in 1989 "Sammy was a smart player who always, always worked hard at his trade,...I like him a lot, and I wish him well. It's painful to watch the Orioles on TV now. I hope Sammy does a great job."

Sparky Anderson, a Hall of Famer who managed Samuel with the Detroit Tigers in 1994-1995 "I'll guarantee you that Baltimore will wake up, three or four years from now, saying, 'We made a good choice here,...Sammy's as honest a human being as there is. I'll bet everything I've got on the table that his career [as a manager] is unbelievable."

Mark Brewer, Binghamton's pitching coach when Samuel was manager "We were diligent about getting better, and Juan was the one leading the charge...At first, things were a little erratic for him that year. He's a hard-nosed guy who had to get his feet wet. But Juan understands people. Common sense is what he brings to the table. He would sit players down and pump them up without raising his voice. He brings out the best in you because you can't say no to the guy," Brewer said. "Juan could sell ice cubes to Eskimos — and make them believe that they need them."

Rick Schu, a former Orioles third baseman who played with him in Philadelphia from 1984 to 1987 "Sammy was as even-keeled as they come...He was exciting, for sure. He could run like the wind, and he had a cannon for an arm. But for all of that, he was quiet. And when he spoke, you listened. He had this presence about him."

Quotes about Juan Samuel when he was hired by the Phillies to be 3rd base coach on 11/11/2010[edit]

"I feel fortunate that we were able to add someone of Juan's stature to our coaching staff," said Phillies manager Charlie Manuel in a statement released by the Phillies. "He was a tremendous major league player and a big part of Phillies history and I'm looking forward to him passing on his knowledge of the game to our players. He's a great addition to our organization."

Quotes from Juan Samuel about the passing of Darren Daulton 8/7/2017[edit]

“Darren and I started in the minor leagues together. We worked our way up together to the big leagues so he was like a brother to me. He was the best teammate I ever had.”

Quotes from Vin Scully, as reported in Philadelphia Inquirer Article by Matt Gelb, STAFF WRITER August 10, 2016[edit]

Upon visiting with Scully in the Dodgers press box with current Phillies and Samuel. Scully, 88 and in his 67th and last season as a Dodgers Broadcaster, glanced at Samuel. "Where has the time gone?" Scully said. Samuel grinned. "This man has the best smile in baseball," Scully said to those gathered in the cramped booth.

Career Milestones[edit]

  • Played Little League Baseball in Puerto Rico
  • 1979 Signed by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Dominican Winter League
  • 1981 South Atlantic League All-Star Second Baseman
  • 1982 MVP Carolina League Peninsula Pilots
  • Debuted 8/24/1983, 12,401st player in MLB history
  • Hit a triple in his first major league game (8-24-1983) (Boxscore) and rounded the bases on a Chili Davis error.
  • Hit hit first Major League home run on September 4, 1983 (Boxscore)
  • 1984 Topps All-Star Rookie Team
  • 1984 The Sporting News Rookie Of The Year
  • 3-time All-Star (1984, 1987 & 1991)
  • On June 11, 1985 (Boxscore), he went 5 for 7 in a 26-7 victory over the New York Mets. Juan also stole 2nd and 3rd base in the first inning of the game.
  • NL Player of the Week from 8/26 to 9/2/1985: .480 Batting Average, 1 triple, 1 double, 2 homers, 5 runs scored and 8 RBIs
  • In 1987, he became only the third Second Baseman in Major League history (following Hall of Famers Charlie Gehringer and Rogers Hornsby) to achieve 80 Extra-Base Hits in one season.
  • Only player ever to have double figures in Doubles, Triples, Home Runs and Stolen Bases in each of his first four seasons.
  • One of only 4 players since 1901 to have at least 10 triples, 25 stolen bases, 30 doubles, 100 runs scored and 180 hits as a rookie (Joe Jackson (1911), Hanley Ramirez (2006) and Austin Jackson (2010) are the others.
  • When Juan retired following the 1998 season he was ranked in the top 300 all-time in career home runs and the top 10 of All-Time Home Runs by a Second Basemen.
  • One of only 55 players in baseball history to retire with over 100 triples and 100 homeruns.
  • Hired by New York Mets Organization as Minor League Manager (Binghamton Mets) on January 24, 2006 link to story
  • Named Baltimore Orioles third base coach for 2007 season.
  • Inducted onto Phillies Wall of Fame, August 8, 2008
  • Named Interim manager of the Baltimore Orioles' on June 4th, 2010. Replaced by Buck Showalter on August 3rd.
  • Declined a return to 3rd base coach following the hiring of Showalter and accepted a position working on special assignments for the Orioles organization.
  • Became a member of the Hispanic Heritage Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. Other 2010 inductees include Baseball Hall of Famers Roberto Clemente and Rod Carew.
  • Named Philadelphia Phillies third base coach for 2011 season

Samuel Firsts[edit]

  • Game- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants
  • At Bat- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants P Mark Davis, 1st inning
  • Hit- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants P Mark Davis, 3rd inning
  • Single- 08/26/1983 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers P Fernando Valenzuela, 5th inning
  • Infield Single- 08/27/1983 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers P Rick Honeycutt, 8th inning
  • Double- 10/02/1983 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates P Lee Tunnell, 1st inning
  • Triple- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants P Mark Davis, 3rd inning
  • Homerun- 09/04/1983 vs. San Francisco Giants P Andy McGaffigan, 4th inning
  • Lead Off Homerun - 04/22/1984 vs. New York Mets Ron Darling, 1st inning
  • Inside the Park Homerun - 08/07/1984 vs. Montreal Expos Bryn Smith, 3rd inning
  • 2-run Homerun - 07/25/1984 vs. Chicago Cubs Dennis Eckersley, 1st inning, Greg Gross scores.
  • 3-run Homerun - 05/20/1984 vs. San Francisco Giants Jeff Robinson, 2nd inning Ivan DeJesus and Charles Hudsonscore.
  • Grand Slam- 06/29/1986 at St. Louis Cardinals P Todd Worrell(Game Winner)(Scoring S. Jeltz, T. Foley & G. Gross), 9th inning
  • Last Homerun - 06/22/1998 vs. Montreal Expos Steve Kline, 8th inning
  • Stolen Base- 08/29/1983 vs. San Diego Padres P Tim Lollar C Gwosdz(stole second), 1st inning
  • Caught Stealing-08/31/1983 vs. San Diego Padres P Mark Thurmond, C Terry Kennedy, pickoff
  • BB(unintentional) 08/28/1983 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers P Jerry Reuss, 5th inning
  • IBB- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants P Mark Davis, 6th inning
  • HBP- 09/30/1983 vs. Pittsburgh Pirates P Larry McWilliams, 5th inning
  • 2 HR Game- 06/23/1986 vs. Chicago Cubs (1)P Jamie Moyer,1st inning(2)George Frazier,5th inning
  • Strikeout- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants P Mark Davis, 4th inning
  • Sac. Hit- 05/24/1985 vs. San Diego Padres P Dave Dravecky(Ivan DeJesus, John Denny advance)
  • Sac. Fly- 08/31/1983 vs. San Diego Padres P Mark Thurmond, 5th inning(DeJesus Scored)
  • Grounding into Doub. Play-08/29/1983 vs. San Diego Padres (4,6,3)Flannery, Templeton, Wiggins, 3rd inning
  • Out- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants P Mark Davis, 1st inning FO(8) to Chili Davis
  • Committed Error- 08/28/1983 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers C Jack Fimple(batter), 2nd inning
  • Run Scored- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants P Mark Davis, 3rd inning
  • Fielded DP- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants (5,4,3) Schmidt,Samuel,Perez P Steve Carlton, Batter Jack Clark, 3rd inning
  • Safe on Error- 08/26/1983 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Pedro Guerrero, 2nd inning
  • Road Game- 08/24/1983 at San Francisco Giants Loss 5-3, day game
  • Home Game- 08/26/1983 vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Win 4-1, night game
  • RBI- 08/31/1983 vs. San Diego Padres (sac. fly) P. Mark Thurmond, runner Ivan DeJesus, 5th inning
  • Pinch Hit- 08/09/1984 vs. St. Louis Cardinals P Dave LaPoint(PH for P Larry Andersen)(single), 8th
  • PH for- 08/29/1983 vs. San Diego Padres P Luis DeLeon (by Greg Gross) Fly Out(8), 9th inning

Records Held[edit]

  • At bats, rookie, season, 701, 1984
  • At bats, right handed batter, season, 701, 1984
  • Modern day record (post-1900) for Most triples by a rookie, 19, in 1984
  • Shares Phillies record with 7 at bats in one game, June 11, 1985
  • Teamed with Von Hayes to steal 120 combined bases in 1984, a Phillies record for 2 players (Samuel 72, Hayes 48). Jeff Stone stole 27 bases that season for a total of 147 for three players, also a Phillies Record.
  • Only Rookie to have 70 extra base hits and stolen bases in a single season, 1984

Uniform Numbers[edit]

Minor League Career

  • 1980 Bend (Central Oregon Phillies) - Short Season - A Ball
  • 1981 Spartanburg Traders - A Ball
  • 1982 Peninsula Pilots - A Ball & Reading Phillies - AA Ball
  • 1983 Portland Beavers - AAA Ball

Major League Playing Career

  • 1983 Philadelphia Phillies #16 & #9
  • 1984-1989 Philadelphia Phillies #8
  • 1989 New York Mets #7
  • 1990-1992 Los Angeles Dodgers #10
  • 1992 Kansas City Royals #17
  • 1993 Cincinnati Reds #8
  • 1994-1995 Detroit Tigers #8 (wore #55 in Spring Training 1994)
  • 1995 Kansas City Royals #27
  • 1996-1998 Toronto Blue Jays #11

Coaching/Managing Career

  • 1999-2005 Detroit Tigers 1st & 3rd base coach #10 & #8
  • 2006 Binghamton Mets Manager Eastern League AA #8
  • 2007-2010 Baltimore Orioles 3rd Base Coach/Manager #11
  • 2011-2012 Philadelphia Phillies 3rd Base Coach #12
  • 2013 Philadelphia Phillies 1st Base Coach (Game #1 to Game #120), 3rd Base Coach (Game #121 to Game #162) Moved back to 3rd base on August 16th, 2013 #8
  • 2014-2015 Philadelphia Phillies 1st Base Coach #8
  • 2016-2017 Philadelphia Phillies 3rd Base Coach #8
  • 2021 Acereros de Monclova (Mexican League) #23
  • 2022 Dayton Dragons (Bench Coach) - Cincinnati Reds affiliate, Midwest League, High-A Ball

Related Sites[edit]