It all seemed so different for Carlos Tosca, visiting Hadlock Field for the first time since he managed here from 1994 to 1996.

On Wednesday, he walked out of the Portland Sea Dogs clubhouse beyond right field – and not from his cozy office in the Portland Expo.

Tosca spotted the right-field pavilion, built in 2006, and Hadlock’s version of the Green Monster in left field, built in 2003.

“Unbelievable changes,” he said. “Great changes.”

Dressed dapperly in an overcoat and beret, Tosca also appeared different from his first days as the Sea Dogs’ first manager, when he spent some frigid nights in the third-base coach’s box.

“I was dressed for it,” Tosca said. “One guy would call me the Michelin Man.”


True, Tosca layered up well for spring games. He looked more comfortable Wednesday, returning as part of the Sea Dogs’ celebration of their 25th season.

On April 18, 1994, the Sea Dogs played their first home game. To commemorate the occasion Wednesday night, the Sea Dogs wore their throwback teal uniforms – from when they were a Florida Marlins affiliate. They also invited Tosca, 64, and former Sea Dogs slugger Brandon Moss to throw out the ceremonial first pitches.

“This is a great place,” Tosca said.

Portland marked a milestone for Tosca. A professional coach and rookie-league manager since 1978, Tosca reached Double-A for the first time with Portland, an expansion minor league franchise affiliated with the expansion Marlins.

For Tosca’s first season, he managed mostly players drafted from other organizations, and Portland finished 60-81.

“We had (future All-Star) Charles Johnson and maybe a couple other guys from our system,” Tosca said. “But we had a lot of guys from different organizations. It was not the best situation in the world.”


The next two Sea Dogs teams finished 86-56 and 83-58, reaching the Eastern League playoffs both times.

“We had people come through our system,” Tosca said. “I always tell people this, the reason we were so good the next two years was because (Class A manager) Fredi Gonzalez had those guys the two years before. And he taught them the right way.

“I was just reinforcing what he had taught them.”

He reinforced well. While Portland did not win the championship either year, the 1996 playoffs ended uniquely at Hadlock. The Sea Dogs were down 6-1 in the ninth inning. It was apparent Portland would lose, as the home team came to bat.

“Yeah, I remember,” Tosca said, pausing to compose himself. “We were losing. Ninth inning. I went out to coach third base, and the fans stood up and gave us an ovation the entire inning.

“It was the most memorable moment I’ve had in my career, without question.”


That says something, considering that Tosca moved up the coaching chain and reached the majors in 1998.

Tosca got his first minor league coaching break with the Yankees – hired by his former college coach, Jack Butterfield – and met a player named Buck Showalter. Showalter would eventually become manager of the Yankees.

In 1998, when Showalter took over the Arizona Diamondbacks, he welcomed Tosca as his bench coach.

Tosca was in Arizona for three years. In 2002, he became Toronto’s third-base coach. When Manager Buck Martinez was fired after 53 games, Tosca was promoted to manager.

Tosca’s one and only major league managing job lasted three seasons. He had a winning record the first two seasons and was 47-64 in the third when he was fired.

From 2007 to 2016, Tosca served as bench coach for Gonzalez – four years in Miami, then in Atlanta.


When Gonzalez and his coaches were fired on May 17, 2016, Tosca got a call from Showalter with a job offer with the Orioles. Tosca is now working with rookies as a Gulf Coast League instructor in Sarasota, Florida.

“I like what I’m doing,” Tosca said. “I’m teaching young kids. I’m a teacher at heart. That’s worked out well for me.”

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or: Twitter: ClearTheBases

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