Kentucky native Foley makes mark in minors as baseball Tourist

mmaloney@herald-leader.comJune 11, 2014 

His uniform identifies him as a Tourist, but Marv Foley is anything but in Lexington.

Foley, 60, was raised here, a product of Henry Clay High School and the University of Kentucky.

These days, he's development supervisor with the Asheville Tourists, who were in town this week to take on the Legends.

In his 40th year of professional baseball, Foley lives in Sarasota, Fla., during the offseason. He still has his mother, three brothers and a sister living in Lexington, though. He says he's grateful to have a job that enables him to see family and friends in Lexington while simultaneously taking care of business.

So what is the daily routine for a development supervisor?

"I put the uniform on during batting practice and the early work," he said. "I do a lot of work with the catchers. That was my forté — I was a catching coordinator before I took this job. I throw batting practice, work with the infielders, do a lot of the base-running instruction and just help in any way I can, any shape or form.

"During the game, from time to time I'll sit in the stands and watch how we perform as one. Then sometimes I'll sit on the bench and interact with the players a little more and offer some suggestions, instruction during the game."

Foley is in his 12th year with the Colorado Rockies organization, his second as development supervisor. He spent the previous six seasons as roving catching coordinator, and also managed Colorado's Triple-A farm club for two seasons.

In fact, he managed 16 seasons in the minors, posting a career record of 1,112-1,051. In 1997, he led the Rochester Red Wings to the International League title, becoming the only manager to win championships in each of the three Triple-A leagues (American, International, Pacific Coast). That feat may stand forever, as only two Triple-A leagues remain.

His coaching and managerial career includes time with the Rockies, Orioles, Cubs and White Sox. A catcher, he played 12 seasons of pro ball, including time in the majors with the White Sox (1979-80, '82) and Rangers (1984).

"I think most of my highlights were coaching, and I'm very proud of the fact that I was able to manage three high-level Triple-A clubs in three different leagues to championships," he said. "The players win the games; I just sit there and watched it, but I was fortunate to be there.

"Those three leagues were all different. The Pacific Coast League is a run-scoring league; high-altitude cities and high-paced offense. The East Coast, with the International League, was more of a pitching (league), more strategy and more running the game. As was the league that was in the central part of the country. I'm kind of proud of the fact that I could manage any kind of team and we still came out on top."

Now, he's still living his dream in pro ball. Not even the bus rides that are part of life in the South Atlantic League dampen his outlook.

"The kids keep me young and the travel's not a real killer, so it's all good," he said. "Where we're at in Asheville we're kind of in the central part, and I drive myself to a lot of the places, so I'm not on the bus all the time. That's kind of the easy way to go really. It's really not a problem."

Mark Maloney: (859) 231-3229. Blog: markmaloney.bloginky.com

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