Robert Michael Picciolo was born on February 4, 1953, in Santa Monica, California. The middle infielder was a star player at Pepperdine University getting drafted in the first round, (4th pick overall) in 1975 by the Oakland A’s. He was known for his fine glove work more than his weak hitting or low on base percentages. Picciolo never posted an on base percentage above .290 & never drew double figures in walks in his career.
By 1977 all the Oakland A’s from the World Series Dynasty years of the early seventies were gone. After a second place finish in 1976, the A’s had fallen to a seventh place finish by 1977, Picciolo was brought up to the A’s as their starting shortstop to replace the departed Bert Campaneris. In his rookie year, Picciolo batted just .200 with 2 HRs & 22 RBIs as the teams main shortstop playing in 148 games. He remained in Oakland for parts of six seasons, playing four of those as the A’s main shortstop.
He had his best season in the strike shortened 1981 season, when he batted .268 as the A’s got into the post season finishing first in the first half of the season & second after the strike. That season he made just five errors in 261 chances posting a .981% & turning over 30 double plays at short. In the ALDS he played just in Game #2 going 1-3 (.333) as manager Billy Martin went with veteran Fred Stanley (the chicken) in the other two games.
During the next season he was traded to Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Mike Warren & a minor leaguer. There he served as Robin Yount’s back up getting to another World Series although he did not play in any games. Picciolo spent three more seasons in the majors playing with the California Angels & finishing his playing career back in Oakland in 1985. In his nine year playing career Picciolo batted .234 with 17 HRs 109 RBIs 56 doubles & just 25 walks in 1628 at bats for a .246 on base %.
After his playing days, he got a manager’s job with the Spokane Indians in the minor leagues. In 1990 he became a coach with the San Diego Padres & remained there for 16 seasons, the longest tenure of any Padre coach.
In 2006 he became a roving instructor for the Los Angeles Angels & for 2011 he has been named the teams bench coach under Mike scioscia.