photo: Stubby Clapp and 2017 PCL Championship Trophy (Memphis Redbirds)
Before Stubby Clapp won consecutive Pacific Coast Manager of the Year titles and guided his Memphis Redbirds to two straight league championships, the Windsor, Ontario native represented his homeland of Canada in a number of international competitions as a player and coach.
With his deepest experience coming from nearly a decade as a minor league hitting coach, Clapp, 45, previously had logged just two seasons as a manager – in the 2011 and 2012 New York-Penn League, while working for the Houston Astros. Before being tabbed by the Cardinals to take the helm of Memphis prior to the 2017 season, Clapp had been the Toronto Blue Jays’ Double-A hitting coach.
As one of the highest-profile Canadians in baseball and former employee of the Jays, Clapp’s career is of particular interest to baseball fans in his native land.
The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) contacted Clapp recently and posted their interview with him. Excerpts follow, with the full audio at the end.
Not surprisingly, Clapp was asked right away if had any news about a major league job.
“I haven’t heard anything yet,” Clapp replied. “(I’ve seen) All kinds of silly rumors on Twitter and stuff like that. I still have time left representing the Cardinals. I am under contract, so that is what I am focused on right now – taking care of St. Louis. They are my first thought right now – and going to the Arizona Fall League.”
Like all minor league coaches, Clapp remains under contract under the end of October. Customarily, before the prior contracts expire, organizations that want coaches back make their offers and lock down commitments for the following season.
Clapp was in St. Louis last week for staff meetings, but is not joining Mike Shildt’s coaches for the final week, instead catching up with his family at their home in the Memphis area. Next stop is to manage the Surprise Saguaros of the AFL from early October until mid-November. His charges will include prospects from Toronto, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Kansas City and Texas.
When Clapp was asked about the ways to qualify and become a candidate for a major league job, he noted that it is an inexact process.
“It is just the right opportunity at the right time and knowing people who are in those situations who are confident in your abilities and they give you that opportunity,” the manager said. “If someone felt that way right now, they would have to call St. Louis and ask for permission to talk to me right now. That is how that ball would start.”
Other than offering his admiration for the Blue Jays organization and their major league manager John Gibbons, for whom he once played in the Arizona Fall League, Clapp avoided direct comment about the potential of returning to Toronto.
However, he reaffirmed his ultimate goal.
“Obviously, I am in this for a reason,” Clapp said. “That is to work at the highest level and try to be the best I can in order to help players be the best they can. Any opportunity to coach in the major leagues, that would be achieving a dream, so that is what I would love to do. I would love to work in the big leagues, but that stuff is beyond my control right now.”
Clapp said he is not bothered by the uncertainty, drawing an analogy to how he took care of himself as a player while knowing he could not directly impact everything having to do with his career.
“You try and sit at the bottom of the storm and pretend it’s not happening,” Clapp said in closing.
September 28 update:
Outgoing Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons endorses Stubby Clapp as his replacement. “You know what they should do? They should hire Stubby Clapp. He’s Canadian. He can handle young players. And he knows the system,” said Gibbons. https://t.co/IxKyNGmL56 pic.twitter.com/32SOPdNp8j
— Brian Walton (@B_Walton) September 29, 2018
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