Jul 27, 2015

Late Nineties Mets Reserve Outfielder Turned Coach: Wayne Kirby (1998)

Wayne Leonard Kirby was born January 22nd, 1964 in Colonial Williamsburg, Virginia. The five foot eleven left hand hitting out fielder was signed out of an Apprentice School in 1983 by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 13th round.

Kirby spent  eight years in the Dodgers minor leagues before getting put on waivers & signed with the Cleveland Indians. He debuted at age 27 playing 21 games with the Indians in 1991. He spent six years in Cleveland, playing as a regular in 1993. That year he batted .269 with 123 hits, 19 doubles, 5 triples, 6 HRs, 60 RBIs & 17 stolen bases in 131 games. He was a fine defensive outfielder, making a league leading 19 assists. He also turned in five double plays & posted a .979 fielding %.

The next year he hit .293 in 78 games but then fell to .207 in 101 games in 1995 for the AL Champion Indians. He got two post season hits in seven at bats, playing 11 games in the ALDS, ALCS & World Series combined.

The next year he was placed on waivers & was signed by the L.A. Dodgers, making an NLDS appearance. After two years in L.A. where he hit .271 in 65 games in 1996 & then just .169 in 46 games the next year. In 1997  he was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals. After playing in their minors, he was traded to the New York Mets for Shan Gilbert.

Kirby arrived to debut with the Mets on June 11th as a defensive sub. He got a start the next day, going 0-4 in a 4-3 loss to the Florida Marlins. Two days later, he came into the game in the 6th inning & got two hits in three at bats. On June 25th Kirby hit a pinch hit triple in the bottom of the 7th inning, during an inter league game with the Baltimore Orioles. He tied the game when Mike Piazza scored him on sac fly. The Mets went on to a 3-2 win, on a Carlos Baerga walk off hit.

Kirby got one more start & went 1-4 on July1st in Toronto against his old Blue Jays team mates. By the end of July he was sent back down to AAA Norfolk. He finished the year playing in 33 games batting .194 (6-31) with five runs scored. 

After the season he was released & then played in the minors through 2001. In his eight year career he hit .252 with 302 hits 51 doubles 14 HRs 119 RBIs 44 steals & a .309 on base %.

Retirement: Kirby became an outfield base running coach for the Texas Rangers. In 2011 he became the first base coach for the Baltimore Orioles. He has held that position for the past five seasons.

Family: Wayne, his wife & two daughters live in Las Vegas. His brother is Terry Kirby who played in the NFL (1993-2002) FOR Miami, San Francisco, Cleveland & Oakland.

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