Todd Steverson, most recently the manager of the Sacramento River Cats, the Oakland A’s Triple-A affiliate, has been named first base coach with their major league club. It is his first return to the big leagues since his playing days in 1996.
The 37-year-old also has a long history with the Cardinals, first as a drafted teenager, then as a minor league veteran and finally as a coach in the system.
The former outfielder was originally selected out of Culver City (CA) High School by the Cardinals organization in the sixth round of the June 1989 First-Year Player Draft. He did not sign with them however, instead electing to attend Arizona State University. Three years later, in 1992, he was drafted again, this time in the first-round (25th overall) by the Toronto Blue Jays.
By 1995, Steverson reached the majors for several short stints that totaled 31 games while posting a .256 batting average with Detroit and San Diego. His seven-year professional playing career as a corner outfielder concluded at the age of 26 with the 1998 Triple-A Memphis Redbirds, his only season as a player in the Cardinals organization.
Steverson kept the uniform on, making a transition to coaching the next year for the Cardinals. He would remain five seasons coaching in the farm system at the Single-A level. Steverson began with the A-Advanced Potomac Cannons in 1999 and also returned for the 2001-02 seasons. He also coached with A-level Peoria in 2000 and A-Advanced Palm Beach in 2003.
The native of Los Angeles moved over to the A’s organization in 2004, serving as the hitting coach for the short-season Vancouver Canadians. The next two seasons, Steverson received his first managerial shot with the A-Advanced Stockton Ports. In 2007, Steverson was promoted to helm the A’s Double-A affiliate, the Midland RockHounds of the Texas League.
Steverson moved up again in 2008, leading the River Cats to both the Pacific Coast League and Triple-A Championships (in the Bricktown Showdown over the International League champ Scranton/Wilkes-Barre) in his first season as their manager. The Cats repeated the dual feats from 2007.
Steverson’s 2008 club had finished 83-61 in the regular season to take the PCL’s Pacific South Division title. The Arizona resident carries a lifetime managerial record of 297-264.
He had already been announced as returning to Sacramento for 2009 before he received the call to join the major league staff of A’s skipper Bob Geren.
Steverson replaces former Cardinal infielder Tye Waller as Geren’s first base coach. Waller has slid over to the bench coach role. Steverson will be working alongside yet another former Redbird infielder as Mike Gallego was hired as the A’s third base coach and infield instructor earlier in the off-season.
Our Scout.com A’s affiliate, OaklandClubhouse.com, interviewed Steverson two years ago. In this interview, he discussed topics such as coaching Albert Pujols and his major league aspirations – part of which have now been realized.