Cumberland Times-News

Mike Burke - Sports

September 5, 2013

Perdew gets weekend call to The Show

If you thought that was a familiar face you saw in the Chicago White Sox dugout Thursday night, it was. And you’ll be able to see it all weekend long, as J.R. Perdew is in Baltimore and in uniform for the White Sox’s four-game series with the Orioles that began last night at Camden Yards.

Perdew, the pitching coach for the White Sox’s Class A Carolina League Winston-Salem Dash the past two seasons, has worked from the Advanced Rookie to Double-A levels through his 17 seasons in the Sox organization, and is considered to be an exceptional teacher, particularly by the man who not only hired Perdew, but who invited him to Baltimore for the series.

“I was talking to Don Cooper, our big league pitching coach one night,” said the Fort Hill High and Frostburg State University graduate, “and he just asked me, ‘If you don’t make the playoffs, we’re in Baltimore then. Come on down,’ and I said, ‘Sure.’ It was really that simple. He said, ‘I would like for you to sit in the dugout with me.’

“It’s a reward kind of thing the organization has always done; and it’s a learning thing too. Guys we’ve had are in the big leagues, so I’ll get to see them.”

Two of Perdew’s former Dash pitchers — right-handers Erik Johnson and Daniel Webb, as well as catcher Miguel Gonzalez — were called up to the White Sox on Sept. 3. In addition, catcher Josh Phegley and pitchers Charlie Leesman, Jake Petricka and Andre Rienzo have debuted for the White Sox.

“Four others were called up last year and five more the year before,” said Perdew, “so it’ll be kind of cool to see them.”

The Dash finished 71-69 overall this season, but came up short for the postseason. Right-hander Myles Jaye, though, was named Carolina League Pitcher of the Week for the final week of the regular season.

“I just got home, unpacked and I’m taking off again,” Perdew said Thursday afternoon while on his way to Baltimore for what will be a one-series gig. The White Sox asked Perdew if he cared to travel with the big-league club, “but we’re moving into a new house,” he said. “It would have been tough to do. But this is a nice thing to be able to go to Baltimore and hang out there.”

As for what he will be doing this weekend, the former Allegany College player and pitching coach said, “Just observe, really. I’m just going to hang out, stay out of everybody’s way and out of trouble.”

Six years after pitching the Allegany Trojans to the 1984 NJCAA World Series, Perdew served as Coach Steve Bazarnic’s pitching coach from 1990 to ’96. He was hired by Cooper, the White Sox Minor League pitching coordinator in 1997, and has since coached for the Bristol Sox (1997-98), Burlington (Iowa) Bees (1999-2000), Kannapolis Intimidators (2001, 2005), Winston-Salem Warthogs (2002-04; 2006-07), Birmingham Barons (2008-2011) and again for Winston-Salem, now the Dash, the past two seasons.

In 2012 Perdew was named a coach for the Carolina League All-Star team, and prior to this season the White Sox considered him for the then-vacant bullpen coach position with the big club, but instead hired Bobby Thigpen, the club’s all-time leader in saves. The White Sox brass, however, recognizes Perdew’s ability to effectively work with multiple pitchers with different skills.

By his last count Perdew has coached 120 White Sox pitchers, including All-Star Mark Buehrle, who has pitched two no-hitters, including the 18th perfect game in MLB history in 2009, and 14 catchers who have played in the major leagues.

“We kind of take pride in our catchers in the minors,” he said, “because we work so closely with them along with our pitchers.”

While the White Sox have invited Perdew to be a September call-up, the former right-hander said he reads nothing more into it as far as future organizational plans are concerned.

“No, this is just a case of my having been in the organization for a long time, and they must think I do a good job and wanted me to be around,” Perdew said.

If he is asked by Cooper or Manager Robin Ventura to pitch in, however, Perdew will know what to do.

“In spring training I do this all the time,” he said. “They’ll bring me over to the big-league camp and I’ll work with all the pitchers on pick-off moves, fielding bunts, things like that. The next day I’ll be coaching with the big club in a game.

“I ran the pitching in a game for (former Manager Ozzie Guillen) and all the big league coaches and players. They just used my minor league staff. It’s kind of like at Fort Hill — the freshman and jayvee coaches get a chance to sit in on the Homecoming Game. That’s all it is.”

That’s not all it is by any stretch. The White Sox inviting Perdew to Baltimore for this weekend series is a show of gratitude and respect for the job he has done developing major league pitchers for the past 17 years. And though he we won’t admit that, Perdew does admit it’s given him a good feeling about being in the organization.

“Absolutely,” he said. “It’s a very nice gesture. It’s nice of them to allow me to be with them; it’s a great thing, and I feel good about it. I’m kind of looking at it as a good experience. I’ll learn as much as I can while I’m here.

“Don Cooper is the man who hired me when he was the minor league pitching coordinator, so it means a lot to me that he would extend this invitation. Between Coop and Leo (Mazzone), they’ve been my mentors.”

Mike Burke is sports editor of the Cumberland Times-News. Write to him at mburke@times-news.com

1
Text Only
Mike Burke - Sports
  • Terps need to move and move quickly

    The good news is Maryland will never have to play another basketball game in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Goodbye, good riddance, sayonara, smell ya, no more of you, stay classy, we won’t let the door hit us on the way out.
    Until we see you in court.

    April 13, 2014

  • Then again, he’s manager of the Yankees, and I’m not

    I went to bed confused Wednesday night, which in itself is nothing new. But having
    watched most of the Orioles-Yankees game, including the final three innings, earlier
    in the evening, then watching the late Baseball Tonight before I turned in, I was under the impression that the Yankees had won the game when I was pretty sure before watching the show that the Orioles had won.

    April 11, 2014

  • At times we all should allow for a little flex

    Other than when I was a student in the Allegany County Public Schools System, I’ve always believed the most thankless job there is — or at least one of the most thankless jobs there is — belongs to the person who ultimately hits the switch on whether or not to call off school because of the weather. You’re slammed if you do, you’re slammed if you don’t. No matter what you decide it’s no win, but, like managing a baseball team or running a bar, everybody knows they could do it.

    January 11, 2014

  • A treasured member of the family of baseball

    When a former professional football player from our past dies, he is most often remembered as being one tough son of a gun, or a wonderful runner or pass catcher, or as a brilliant quarterback.

    January 10, 2014

  • Bob Giffin believed in the goodness of us all

    The first time the Giffin family exploded onto my radar was at a Fort Hill basketball game years ago in the old Fort Hill gym. Believe it was a City game, which meant the place was packed, the walls were sweating and the smell of popcorn permeated the atmosphere. And through it all marched the family Giffin in perfect formation, tallest in the front, shortest in the back, led by father Lew, mother Donna, oldest son Bob, second son Tom, third son Donnie and fourth son Johnnie.

    December 28, 2013

  • Redskins do that voodoo that they do so well

    This time last year the Washington Redskins were in the midst of a seven-game winning streak on their way to the NFC East title. Mike Shanahan was being hailed as the perfect football presence the franchise had sorely needed for so long. Quarterback Robert Griffin III in the sprint option was being hailed as the single greatest invention since the wheel, and beleaguered Daniel Snyder, the little owner who couldn’t, was being hailed for not even trying as he allowed his two-time Super Bowl winning coach and lord of all things football to pull the strings on all things football.

    December 13, 2013

  • Fort Hill’s approach is all-inclusive

    After Fort Hill opened everybody’s eyes last season in what was supposed to be a rebuilding year (*1), it was a pretty sure bet that the Sentinels, given all of their returning resources, would be making a run for the state championship this year (*2).

    December 6, 2013

  • What resource will the O’s allocate next?

    In November 1993, Dan Duquette, then the general manager of the Montreal Expos, traded second baseman Delino DeShields to the Los Angeles Dodgers for a young pitcher by the name of Pedro Martinez. According to a story in last Sunday’s New York Times, upon completing the deal, Duquette, now general manager of the Baltimore Orioles, told Neal Huntington, then a member of the Expos front office and now the general manager of the Pittsburgh Pirates, “This trade is going to be hated in Montreal.”

    December 4, 2013

  • No month of Sundays this Friday

    With Fort Hill comfortably in control Friday night in its eventual 46-7 1A West Region semifinal victory over Manchester Valley, and with score updates from the other semifinal pouring in from nearby Washington County, Greenway Avenue Stadium was abuzz, for the unthinkable was about to take place — Fort Hill was going to play Hancock.

    November 16, 2013

  • Mike Burke Ty Johnson works hard, and makes it look easy

    Any summer day you might go to Greenway Avenue Stadium to get a little exercise you are likely to see any number of high school athletes there working out — football players, soccer players, basketball players, any kind of player you might want to think of.

    November 9, 2013 1 Photo