Yost secures 700th victory against Tigers
KANSAS CITY -- Ned Yost notched the 700th victory of his managerial career when his Royals beat the Tigers, 6-5, on Saturday night. Now let's take a glimpse at his first win.
That came on April 8, 2003, his first season as manager of the Milwaukee Brewers. Remember?
"I think I do, but we went like 0-6 before we won," Yost said. "We didn't have a very good team."
Indeed, Yost's Brewers lost six in a row -- three at St. Louis and three to San Francisco at Milwaukee -- before getting a 5-3 victory at Pittsburgh. There were 36,003 fans -- it was the Pirates' home opener.
Ex-Royal Glendon Rusch pitched the victory for the Brewers and Scott Podsednik, who would later join the Royals, had two RBIs. The three Pirates runs came on a home run by catcher Jason Kendall, now on Yost's staff as a part-time instructor for the Royals.
"I hit a bomb. I hit three bombs the first week of the season and ended up with four," Kendall said.
Kendall exaggerated a bit; he finished that season with six home runs.
But the homer against the Brewers came against reliever Luis Vizcaino, which reminded Yost of a story.
"I had the kid for three years and he didn't know my name," Yost said.
Then-Brewers pitching coach Mike Maddux had a habit of giving all his pitchers nicknames and Vizcaino, who resembled movie star Lou Gossett Jr., was called "Chappy" after the actor's character in "Iron Eagle."
"So he became Chappy. So every day I'd say, 'Hi, Chappy, how you doing?' and he'd say 'Hey, good, Chappy,' back," Yost recalled. "So in the third year, he was out in the bullpen and Billy Castro, my bullpen coach, said, 'He doesn't know your name.' I didn't believe him so Billy says, 'Luis, what's his name?' And Luis says, 'Chappy.' 'No, what's his name?' And Luis looks at me [sheepishly] and says, 'I'm sorry, Chappy.' "
And, in the small world of baseball, Kendall wound up playing for Yost's Brewers in 2008-09. Then, he signed with the Royals for the 2010 season and has remained with the team in a part-time coaching capacity.
"I was there for his first win and, hopefully, tonight I'll be there for his 700th," Kendall said before Saturday night's game.
Sure enough, he was.