The Tenth Inning
 The Tenth Inning Blog
Periodically, I will post new entries about current baseball topics.  The posts will typically be a mixture of commentary, history, facts, and stats.  Hopefully, they will provoke some  of your thoughts or emotions. Clicking on the word "Comments" associated with each post below will open a new dialog box to enter or retrieve any feedback.
New Orleans area players found careers in baseball after playing days

While professional baseball players aspire to have lengthy major-league careers, the reality is that most of them won’t ever reach the big leagues. And even if they make it to the “Show,” the average length of major-league careers is around three to four years.

Some retired players have a passion for the game that doesn’t allow them to give it up altogether. They are able to leverage their experience and knowledge of the sport to find careers after their playing days are over.

Here are several New Orleans area players that found post-career success with jobs in player development, scouting, coaching, managing, and front office operations.

Blake Butera was a four-year letterman at Mandeville High School. He was an all-metro and all-state performer in 2011. He played at Boston College from 2012 to 2015, where he posted a slash line of .265/.375/.344 in 207 games. Butera was selected by the Tampa Bay Rays in the 35th round of the 2015 MLB Draft. He spent two minor-league seasons in the Rays organization, hitting.235 with three home runs and 31 RBIs. He became the youngest minor-league manager in 2018 at age 25. Butera compiled an 88-62 record in two seasons with Hudson Valley. He was named Manager of the Year in the Low-A East League after leading the Class A Charleston RiverDogs to an 82-38 record, the best winning percentage in the minors in 2021. Butera’s father Barry Sr. and brother Barry Jr. also played minor-league baseball.

Jeremy Bleich was a three-time all-metro pitcher and twice an all-state performer for Newman High School during 2003-2005. The left-hander accepted a scholarship with Stanford University where he was a starter and closer during his three seasons, which included a College World Series appearance in 2008. Bleich was the overall 44th selection of the 2008 MLB Draft by the New York Yankees. He toiled in the minors for 10 seasons before making his major-league debut with the Oakland A’s in 2018. In 280 career minor-league games, he posted a 36-37 record with a 3.90 ERA. He pitched in only two major-league games. Bleich played for Team Israel in the 2016 World Baseball Classic and the 2021 Olympics. After a knee injury ended his playing career in 2019, he joined the Pittsburgh Pirates major-league staff as an analyst focused on defensive shifting and positioning through analytics and scouting.

Randy Bush was a second-round selection out of the University of New Orleans by the Minnesota Twins in the 1979 MLB Draft. He spent his entire professional career with the Twins, logging 12 major-league seasons in which he batted .251 with 96 home runs and 409 RBIs. He was a member of World Series championship teams in 1987 and 1991. Following his playing career, he held a variety of jobs in the Chicago Cubs organization, including minor-league hitting instructor, special assistant to the GM, interim GM, and assistant GM. He is currently a senior advisor to baseball operations. Bush was head coach for the University of New Orleans from 2000-2004.

Jack Cressend prepped at Mandeville High School before signing with Tulane University. He lettered for the Green Wave during 1994-96, where he posted an 18-15 record with a 4.37 ERA. He led the team in strikeouts in 1995 and 1996. One of his highlights was a 15-strikeout game against Missouri in 1996. Cressend was signed as a non-drafted free agent with the Boston Red Sox in 1996. He spent five seasons in the majors with the Minnesota Twins and Cleveland Indians during 2000 and 2004. He compiled a 5-5 record and 4.20 ERA in 122 games. After his playing career, he became a scout in the Tampa Bay Rays and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations. He is currently a national pitching cross-checker in the Dodgers’ scouting organization.

Bobby Dickerson prepped at East St. John High School and played at Nicholls State University from 1984-1987. He was selected by the New York Yankees in the 23rd round of the 1987 MLB Draft. The infielder spent seven years as a player in the minors in the Yankees and Baltimore Orioles organizations. From 1993 to 2012, he held jobs in player development, coaching, and managing in the Orioles, Arizona Diamondbacks, and Chicago Cubs minor-league systems. He got his first major-league coaching position in 2013 with the Orioles, where he spent six seasons. After a season with the Philadelphia Phillies in 2019, he joined the San Diego Padres coaching staff for two seasons. He was named the MLB Coach of the Year in 2020 by Baseball America. He is currently the infield coach for the Phillies.

Michael Johns was drafted out of Tulane by the Colorado Rockies in the 19th round of the 1997 MLB Draft. The shortstop played the 1997 and 1998 seasons in the Rockies organization and batted .215 in 121 games. He followed that with one season in an independent league in 1999. After a stint in high school coaching, he became a minor-league coach in the Tampa Bay Rays organization. He was later elevated to a minor-league manager in the Rays system, where he spent 2010 to 2017 at the Rookie and Class A levels. Johns is currently the field director in the Rays minor-league system.

Ron Marigny, a standout at St. Augustine High School, was originally drafted out of high school by the Cincinnati Reds in the 30th round of the 1983 MLB Draft. He didn’t sign with the Reds, instead attended Tulane University from 1984 to 1986. He compiled a .340/.428/.502 slash line, 16 home runs, and 143 RBIs in 179 games. He was named to the second team Freshman All-American Team in 1984 by Baseball America. In the 1986 MLB Draft, he was taken by the Detroit Tigers in the eighth round. He spent three seasons in their minor-league system compiling a .252 batting average, six home runs, and 174 RBIs. After his playing career, Marigny embarked on a career in scouting. He has been a scout for the Arizona Diamondbacks, national crosschecker for the Los Angeles Angels, scouting supervisor for the Oakland A's and most recently national crosschecker for the Atlanta Braves.

J.P. Martinez played his prep career for Newman High School. He initially signed with LSU but later transferred to UNO for the 2003 and 2004 seasons. The right-handed pitcher was selected by the Minnesota Twins in 2004 in the 9th round of the MLB Draft. In five minor-league seasons in the Twins and Baltimore Orioles organizations, he had a 1 7-14 record and 3.36 ERA in 203 games, mostly in relief. Following his last season in 2008, he coached for Newman and Pope John Paul II High School in Slidell. Martinez became a pitching coach in the Twins organization, including 2018-2020 as the Twins minor-league pitching coordinator. He served as assistant pitching coach for the San Francisco Giants in 2021.

Matt Paul prepped at Slidell High School before playing at Southern University, where he was an infielder for the 2003 SWAC champions. He was selected by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 18th round of the 2004 MLB Draft. He played two seasons in the Dodgers system before a shoulder injury rerailed his playing career. Paul secured a job as a scout with the Dodgers, including eight seasons as a regional supervisor, and earned a reputation as a top talent evaluator. He currently works for Reynolds Sports Management as the Director of Southeast Scouting and Development. His brother Xavier played in the majors for six seasons during 2009-2014 for the Dodgers, Pirates, Reds, and Diamondbacks.

2 comments | Add a New Comment
1. Richard Wentz | March 21, 2022 at 06:37 AM EDT

Just a quick note to say that my old teammate from Jesuit ('76-80) Tim Parenton is currently head baseball coach at the University of North Florida.

Thanks for the great posts.

Dickie Wentz

2. Richard | March 27, 2022 at 07:25 AM EDT

Dickie, good to hear from you. I had Parenton on my candidate list for this piece, but it getting too long, so he didn't make the final cut. I've followed him since he went to Miss. State (my alma mater).

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