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Joe Tanner (baseball)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joe Tanner
Born: (1931-11-16)November 16, 1931
Newton, Mississippi
Died: April 1, 2020(2020-04-01) (aged 88)
Sarasota, Florida
Batted: Right Threw: Right
Minor League statistics
Batting Average.256
Career highlights and awards

Joseph Henry "Joe" Tanner (November 16, 1931[1] – April 1, 2020[1]) was an American professional baseball player, coach, and farm system instructor spanning over 50 years.

After a standout season hitting at Jones Junior College, Tanner played one year for the Texas Longhorns baseball team, making it to 1952 College World Series.[2][3] Tanner signed with the Boston Red Sox in 1953, playing just 25 games for the Red Sox’ Triple-A Louisville Colonels, before he spent the next two years in the US Army as an infantryman, returning to baseball for spring training in 1955. From 1955 to 1958, Tanner played for the Red Sox’ Double A and Triple A affiliates. In 1959, Tanner signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers’ organization where he played his final three professional seasons at Triple-A, before a back injury ended his professional career in 1961.

Tanner spent the next seven years playing semi-pro baseball, culminating in being named the National Baseball Congress World Series MVP in 1968, while playing for the semi-pro Jackson Braves.[4]

In 1969, Tanner entered coaching, as a bunting and baserunning coach for the brand new Kansas City Royals Baseball Academy, which produced major leaguers Ron Washington, U L Washington, and Frank White.[1][5][6] After four years at the Royals Academy, Tanner was the Chicago White Sox roving baserunning coach for two seasons. After the second season Tanner took an 11 year break from professional baseball, utilizing his Business and Finance degree from the University of Texas at Austin to be a stockbroker in Texas.[7]

In 1986, new Pittsburgh Pirates General Manager Syd Thrift, who had hired Tanner with the Royals in 1969, hired Tanner to be a Pirates roving instructor, focusing on bunting and baserunning.[8] After two seasons with Pittsburgh, Tanner returned to the White Sox as a baserunning and bunting instructor, where he would invent a baseball practice tool that can now be found at every MLB Spring Training facility, the Tanner Tee, a metal batting tee with a soft rubber top.[9] The Tanner Tee is not only used by every major league baseball team, but many college and high school teams as well.[1]

Tanner would spend much of the next two decades starting a business, Joe H. Tanner Baseball Products, LLC, in Sarasota, Florida, based around his innovative and increasingly popular tee. In 1993, Tanner was the Chicago Cubs roving infield and baserunning instructor. In 1994, Tanner got his first job on a coaching staff outside of the spring training facility, as the hitting coach of the Cubs’ Single-A Peoria Chiefs. Tanner moved to the Baltimore Orioles organization in 1996 and was an assistant coach for the Rookie League Gulf Coast Orioles from 1999 to 2003.[10][11]

In 2012, Tanner sold the company to his grandsons, but continued to make tees at is work bench.[12] Joe Tanner passed away on April 1, 2020 in Sarasota, Florida.


  1. ^ a b c d Fernandes, Doug (2020-04-13). "Sarasota's Joe Tanner led a baseball life". Harold-Tribune. Retrieved 7 February 2021.
  2. ^ Caldwell, Stan (February 11, 1986). "Hub City's Tanner on Pirates Staff". Hattiesburg American. (Mississippi). p. 5B.
  3. ^ "Texas Baseball History: All-Time Lettermen". National Baseball Congress. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  4. ^ "NBC World Series MVP". National Baseball Congress. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  5. ^ Leggett, William (August 23, 1971). "SCHOOL'S IN: WATCH OUT FOR BASEBALL PLAYERS". Sports Illustrated.
  6. ^ Roberts, Mike; Bishop, Tim (2013). Baserunning. Human Kinetics. ISBN 978-1-4504-3218-4.
  7. ^ Abadie, Chuck (May 28, 1981). "Injury kept Tanner out of majors, but not out of baseball, for sure". Hattiesburg American. (Mississippi). p. C1.
  8. ^ "Pirates pushed hard". The Sentinel. (Pennsylvania). Associated Press. February 22, 1986. p. B2.
  9. ^ "Tanner Tee Company History". Tanner Tee. Retrieved 2021-02-08.
  10. ^ "Transactions-Baseball". National Post. (Toronto). December 1, 1998. p. B18.
  11. ^ Kubatko, Roch (January 28, 2003). "O's minor system in for major change". The Baltimore Sun. (Maryland). p. D2.
  12. ^ Becnel, Thomas (2017-03-13). "Baseball is Sarasota Family's Business". Herald-Tribune. Retrieved 8 February 2021.

External links

This page was last edited on 1 June 2021, at 17:39
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