New Boston Red Sox manager John Farrell hired another coach he is familiar with, naming Brian Butterfield his third base coach.
Baseball followers in Maine also know a thing or two about Butterfield, 54, an Orono native who played basketball and baseball for one year at the University of Maine. Butterfield currently lives in Standish.
Butterfield had been a coach on the Toronto Blue Jays staff the past 11 years, the last two with Farrell as manager.
Farrell was named the Red Sox manager last week, replacing the fired Bobby Valentine.
Farrell’s first hire was Blue Jays first base coach Torey Lovullo, a former Pawtucket Red Sox manager, as his bench coach.
Butterfield’s hiring leaves four coaching spots to fill – hitting, pitching, bullpen and first base.
Butterfield began coaching in the Yankees organization. He has been on major league staffs for the Yankees, Diamondbacks and Blue Jays.
“There may not be a better coach in the game than Brian Butterfield,” baseball writer and commentator Peter Gammons said in a tweet soon after Butterfield’s hiring.
Butterfield could not be reached for comment.
Butterfield’s introduction to baseball began early.
At age 6, he was bat boy for the University of Maine during the 1964 College World Series. Butterfield’s father, Jack, was the Black Bears coach.
Jack Butterfield coached Maine from 1957-74, before leaving for the head job at the University of South Florida. He left USF two years later to work in the front office for the Yankees. Jack Butterfield died in November of 1979 in a car accident.
Brian Butterfield graduated from Orono High in 1975 and enrolled at Maine on scholarship. He played second base for the Black Bears his freshman year, but noticed something on Maine’s spring trip to Florida.
“We played there a couple of weeks and it was great,” Butterfield said in a previous Press Herald story.
“It was hot and you could tell that the Miami kids were farther ahead of us.
“When we got back to Maine we had to go back indoors because there was still snow on the ground. Our first game was at Providence and it was 27 degrees.”
Butterfield transferred after his freshman season to Valencia Community College in Orlando. He then played two years at Florida Southern in Lakeland.
Butterfield played five years of minor league ball, four with the Yankees – reaching Triple-A – and one with the Padres.
The Yankees offered him a minor league coaching job in 1984, and a career had begun.
It continues next spring at Fenway Park.
Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]