Billy McMillon never played in The Show with the Boston Red Sox.
But he certainly knows his way around their minor-league system.
That indocrination will continue this summer as manager of the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs, it was announced Wednesday.
McMillon, 42, will replace Kevin Boles, who is moving up in the organization to manage the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox.
McMillon becomes the 11th manager in Sea Dogs history but the first to have also played here.
“He seems like he’s a great guy. I’ve always said the Red Sox don’t hire bad people,” Sea Dogs General Manager Geoff Iacuessa said. “I’m really looking forward to having him here for the hot stove dinner (Jan. 17) and for him to reacquaint himself with the Portland area.”
McMillon was at his home in Columbia, S.C., on Wednesday and unavailable for comment. He spent the past two seasons managing Boston’s High-A affiliate in Salem, winning the Carolina League championship last year. Before that he managed at Low-A Greenville for two years after spending two seasons as the hitting coach for the Drive.
“From the baseball standpoint, obviously we’re looking for him to continue that success developing players at the Double-A level. That’s a crucial stage for prospects, with three Single-A teams feeding into us,” Iacuessa said.
“We also want to make sure there’s a connection to our community by the coaching staff and the players. I know he’s preached that at every stop he’s been at. That means free clinics, visiting schools and hospitals.”
McMillon spent parts of six seasons in the major leagues with the Florida Marlins (1996-1997), Philadelphia Phillies (1997), Detroit Tigers (2000-2001) and Oakland Athletics (2001-2004), hitting .248 in 269 games.
The Marlins drafted McMillon in the eighth round of the June 1993 draft. He spent 1995 with the Sea Dogs, appearing in 141 of the 142 games that season while hitting .313 with 29 doubles, 14 home runs, 93 RBI, 15 stolen bases and a franchise-record 96 walks, earning a selection to the Eastern League Year-End All-Star squad. His .423 career on-base percentage ranks second in Sea Dog history behind Kevin Youkilis’ .487 mark. He collected 162 hits in 1995, which ranks second behind Kevin Millar’s record of 175 in 1997.
McMillon’s staff will include hitting coach Rich Gedman, pitching coach Bob Kipper and athletic trainer Brandon Henry, all of whom were here last season.
Iacuessa said the biggest adjustment for McMillon might be dealing with the increased fervor of fans located much closer to Fenway Park than what he was used to down south.
“Here in Portland, you’re in the middle of Red Sox Nation. I think there’s a lot more interest in the players, a lot more demands of the players,” Iacuessa said. “It sounds like he’s fully on board with that.”
“We are excited to have Billy take over the helm in Portland,” Red Sox Director of Player Development Ben Crockett told the Press Herald in an email. “He brings a wealth of experience as a player, coach and manager and has earned the opportunity to lead what we expect to be a talented Sea Dog club in 2014.”
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