At age 66, former Washington Senators right-hander Dick Such is happy working with players a third of his age or even younger. He’s the pitching coach for the Boston Red Sox affiliate in the low-Class A South Atlantic League.
“They’re young and just getting started, so you can see if you can’t make a difference and help them advance,” Such said in a telephone interview last week. “Once the game starts, the pitchers at the higher-up levels are pretty much already set. Only small, minor, simple adjustments are required. Here, they’re still trying for repetition and they have a lot to learn.”
It’s not that Such has no interest in the major leagues. The Sanford, N.C., resident hopes to help his pitchers make it to where he was in 1970, when he went 1-5 in 50 innings for Washington.
“I remember D.C. Stadium [which had been renamed RFK Stadium], having Ted Williams as a manager and Frank Howard as a teammate, and meeting the president of the United States,” Such said. “Being there was one of the biggest thrills of my life.”
With the Greenville (S.C.) Drive, Such guides a pitching staff that included touted Red Sox pitching prospect Anthony Ranaudo, a right-hander from Louisiana State who went 4-1 with a 3.33 ERA and 50 strikeouts in 46 innings before heading to high-Class A Salem.
Right-hander Scott Swinson, who pitched at George Washington and then Maryland, is 3-3 with a 2.80 ERA and 46 strikeouts in 61 innings for the Drive.
“This job absolutely keeps me young,” Such said. “Of course, it’s a kid’s game played by adults. These are in-between kids here, but once the game starts, it’s all the same no matter where you are.”