Orioles manager Buck Showalter was somewhat astonished by the interest his third base coach vacancy drew. Candidates constantly emerged to replace DeMarlo Hale, who was hired as Toronto's bench coach last month.
But when decision time to make a hire came, Showalter stayed within the organization and turned to one of his most trusted coaches.
The Orioles announced Thursday they have hired Bobby Dickerson, who has been the organization's minor league infield coordinator for the past three seasons, as their new third base coach.
For the 47-year-old Dickerson, who was been a minor league manager or coach for the past two decades -- including eight years in the Orioles organization -- it is his first major league job.
"It’s just an honor," Dickerson said Thursday. "I’m like a lot of guys in the minor leagues, I’ve paid my dues. I’ve tried to do it the right way, the best I could. ... To be chosen, it’s just a very nice gesture. And, again, at this time I know we have to go win and it’s going to be a big responsibility and I am ready for it."
In replacing Hale, the Orioles also needed an infield coach, and Dickerson's experience as both a third base coach and infield coach stood out. This past season, Dickerson worked closely with rookie Manny Machado before Machado was called up from Double-A Bowie to assume the starting third base job. He's also been a spring training instructor and has joined the major league club the past few Septembers.
"We’re always going to look from within before we look somewhere else," Showalter said. And I don’t know what else you can ask for on a resume than what Bobby has. I just thought it would send a bad message to our organization [if we hired externally].
"We needed a guy that was familiar with our infielders that would be seamless with the transition," Showalter said. "All our players know Bobby and think the world of him. ... He’s coached third base probably as much as any of the candidates we were talking to. Just by all the criteria, I looked at the criteria I was looking for and we just kept coming back to Bobby."
Dickerson was selected from a crop of candidates that included strong options both internally (minor league instruction coordinator Brian Graham and special assignment instructor and MASN analyst Mike Bordick) and externally (former Rangers and Indians third base coach Steve Smith and former Blue Jays bench coach and Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu).
Showalter and Dickerson have deep ties. Showalter was Dickerson's first full-season minor league manager in 1988 when Dickerson was a New York Yankees farmhand. Showalter managed Dickerson for parts of three seasons in the minors. As a coach, Dickerson followed Showalter after he joined the Diamondbacks organization.
Dickerson spent 10 seasons as a minor league manager, also coaching third base, compiling a 568-508 career record. He managed the Orioles' rookie level Bluefield team to league titles in 1996 and '97.
"We feel like Bobby is capable of doing the job and more than anything is deserving," Showalter said. "And I don’t think you underestimate the message that sends to the organization when you have an opening like that and you have people that are capable and are deserving of it and you go in that direction instead of constantly coveting other people’s people. So we feel good about it, but I think Bobby is up to the task. He’s a tough guy. I have known him for a long time."