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Scott Fletcher enjoys role teaching Tiger players

  • Braves-Spring-Baseball

    Scott Fletcher in 2014.

    ALEX BRANDON / AP FILE

  • Twins-White-Sox

    The Twins' Ron Washington is out at second as Chicago White Sox's shortstop Scott Fletcher fires to first during sixth inning action in Chicago, Sept. 25, 1984. Fletcher, a Wadsworth graduate, has had a baseball career as a player and coach going back to the 1980s.

    FRED JEWELL / AP FILE

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Scott Fletcher loves the chance to groom young baseball players and see them succeed as they push to achieve their dream of playing in the big leagues.

As one of two hitting coordinators for the Detroit Tigers organization, the 1976 Wadsworth graduate is charged with working with hitting coaches, managers and players in the farm system, from Class AAA all the way to the Dominican Summer League.

“It’s always fun as a coach to see a player develop and get better,” Fletcher said. “I think they keep you young, working with players, building the relationship, talking with them and figuring things out together.

“It’s great to see their progression to that level and see them enjoy success at the major league level.”

The 60-year-old Fletcher knows all about success after a 15-year career that saw the infielder play for the Chicago Cubs and White Sox, Texas Rangers, Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit.

“We work with those coaches, where different players need to work, what drills, what development they need to do to make the next level,” he said. “Then we report on them, let people (in the organization) know what’s going on with them and where their development is and see if they’re ready for the next level.”

Among the players Fletcher works with is Highland graduate Chad Sedio, who is currently with the Tigers’ AA affiliate, the Erie Seawolves.

Fletcher’s journey to the majors began in Wadsworth, where he and his brother would gather with their friends throughout the summers on all the baseball diamonds around the city.

“I think Wadsworth was a great place to grow up, a great community, the small-town atmosphere,” he said. “I remember me and my brother and our friends playing at the different ballparks. Durling and Overlook School, Miller Park, just having access to those places to enjoy growing up and playing ball at those parks is something I’ll always remember.”

Baseball has always been a family affair for Fletcher, whose father, Dick, was a pitcher in the Akron AA League, where he brought his two sons along to watch him play. Dick went on to be a baseball coach for many years, including a stop at Highland.

Scott Fletcher’s son, Brian, was drafted by the Astros in 2007 and played in the minor leagues until 2015. His son-in-law, Gordon Beckham, has played major league ball since 2009 and is currently with the Tigers.

After his time starring for the Grizzlies in high school, Fletcher played baseball for Valencia Community College, the University of Toledo and then Georgia State University. He was selected by the Chicago Cubs with the sixth pick in the June 1979 secondary draft.

Fletcher made his major league debut for the Cubs in 1981. In 1983, he was traded from the north side to the south side of Chicago, where he started one of two stints with the White Sox. The middle infielder broke in as the starting shortstop on opening day and for the first time played more than 100 games in the big leagues. As a regular, Fletcher helped Chicago to the American League Championship Series in 1983, where the White Sox lost to the Baltimore Orioles 3-1.

“It wasn’t like it is now where 10 teams make the playoffs,” he said. “Back then I think it was just four. We had a great year that year with the White Sox.”

In a study covering 1957-2007, the Society of American Baseball Research named Fletcher the most clutch performer of all players with at least 3,000 at bats, stating his performance at the plate in crucial situations was worth about 10 more runs per year than standard stats implied, or one more win per year.

“Being considered a clutch performer at that level was very rewarding,” said Fletcher, who recorded 1,376 hits, a .262 average, 688 runs and 510 RBIs. “Just getting to play with and against as many great players for as long as I did was a blessing.”

The right-handed shortstop broke into coaching following his playing career as the manager of the Charleston River Dogs, then an affiliate with the Tampa Bay Rays. After one year in Charleston, coaching took Fletcher to Emory University as well as the Colorado Rockies and Atlanta Braves organizations before he landed with the Tigers.

Contact John Urchek at sports@medina-gazette.com.
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