COMSTOCK PARK, Mich — Another blast from the Tigers’ past is heading to West Michigan.
Former Tigers closer Mike Henneman will serve as the West Michigan Whitecaps pitching coach in the 2013 season, joining former Tigers manager Larry Parrish’s staff. Parrish was hired as the Whitecaps manager in early October.
This is Henneman’s first professional coaching position.
Henneman was drafted by the Tigers in the fourth round of the 1984 amateur draft out of Oklahoma State University. He was named The Sporting News Rookie Pitcher of the Year in 1987 and finished sixth in American League Rookie of the Year voting after posting an 11-3 record with seven saves and a 2.98 ERA. He led all Tigers relief pitchers in both wins and ERA in 1987 and 1988, he led the American League in won-loss percentage (.786) in 1987, and in 1989, he was elected to the American League All-Star Team.
“I’m so excited to be coming on board with the Tigers organization,” Henneman said. “To me, it’s like home – I came up with the Tigers; my career started there. I’m fortunate to be back with them. With these young minor league guys, it’s all about learning their personalities and working with them in the way that works best for them, without forcing anything down their throats, because that will run them off.
“These guys in Class A ball have the skills and they know what they want, so it’s just a matter of teaching them how to be successful. I’ve got a bit of a wacky personality, so if we’re talking about something serious, I think I can make the point in a way that these guys will listen. We’re going to have a lot of fun next season at Fifth Third Ballpark.”
Henneman held the all-time saves record for the Tigers (154) until Todd Jones broke that record in 2006. He was traded to the Houston Astros for a player to be named later (Phil Nevin) on August 10, 1995. He signed with the Texas Rangers as a free agent the following year, where he put up a career-high 31 saves in his final season before retiring. During his 10-year Major League career, he amassed a 57-42 record with 193 saves and a 3.21 ERA.