CLINTON -- As a player, Clinton LumberKings manager Scott Steinmann shared the dream of all minor-leaguers: to reach the major leagues.
Making it to the big leagues was his goal when he started coaching and managing in the minor leagues, too.
But, after 18 1/2 years in the Seattle Mariners organization, Steinmann’s goals have changed.
He’s never made it above the Double-A level as a player or a manager, but now he’s content helping others reach their dreams in the role of minor-league player development.
“I used to, and I don’t think I really do anymore,” he said of having that dream. “I’m not sure if I really want to get up into that arena. It doesn’t really drive me; the winning doesn’t really drive me. It’s more of development and helping young men attain some goals that they have and help them along their way. I think that’s more my calling than go win a game in the big leagues. That’s where I am in my life, I guess.”
It took only a few years for Steinmann to realize he wasn’t going to make it as a player. He hit .189 in three seasons as a minor leaguer, primarily as a catcher, although he played every position at least once during his 125-game career.
So, he took his talents behind the scenes, and by age 29, in 2003, he was managing Seattle’s entry in the Arizona League. He’s made several stops as a coach or manager since then.
Steinmann is in his eighth season as a minor-league manager, his second with the Clinton LumberKings and third in the Midwest League. He guided the 2005 Wisconsin TimberRattlers to a 76-63 record and the 2009 LumberKings to a 69-68 mark.
But, managing in the minors, especially the low minors, is about as far from managing in the majors as Clinton is from Seattle. Sure, there are the obvious things such as bus rides from city to city instead of airplane trips and all the other first-class amenities that major-leaguers enjoy, but the role of a minor-league manager is much different, too.