Tom Butler, First Base Coach - 7th year
Bill Goodman, Pitching Coach - 2nd year
Al Newman, Hitting & Infield Coach - 3rd year
Bruce Young, Manager - 17th year
From Sun Newspaper July 18, 2009 by Mike Shaughnessy:
Apple Valley already is one of the state's most successful American Legion baseball programs. But the 76ers still are looking for ways to improve - on the field and in the dugout.
So, when a couple of former professional players expressed interest in helping the team, 76ers head coach Bruce Young quickly said yes.
The addition of Al Newman and Bill Goodman to the coaching staff came about almost accidentally.
Newman said he drove by a field one day, saw some players practicing, got out of his car and asked the coach if he'd like some help.
That's how the 76ers got a two-time World Series champion as their third base coach. Newman, who played five of his eight major league seasons with the Minnesota Twins, is in his second year with the Legion team.
Goodman, who played minor league ball in the Cincinnati and Minnesota organizations, joined the 76ers as pitching coach this season. His son Kris is the team's shortstop.
Before the season started, "we had a parent meeting, and Bill said, 'Hey, if you need any help, I'm going to be at the games anyway,'" Young said.
"Bill and Al have both done a marvelous job. And I can use the help, because I'm slowing down."
They joined a staff that already included assistants Jeff Buck and Tom Butler, both of whom have been with the team six years.
Newman and Goodman said the 76ers players are aware of their professional background, but it seldom comes up.
"I've had my time in the sun, so to speak, as a player and coach," said Newman, one of seven Twins players with two World Series rings. "Now, I'm honored to be a coach and try to help these kids.
"I managed Justin Morneau and Jason Kubel in rookie ball. They weren't much older than the kids we have now. I'm not saying our kids are going to play professional baseball, but at their age they're eager to get information. They really soak it up."
Goodman was an outfielder in the minors in the 1960s and 1970s before starting a business career. He is director of human resources at Bethel University, where he also serves as pitching coach for the Royals' baseball team. He is a longtime youth coach in Apple Valley.
"I absolutely love coaching," Goodman said. "My dream, when I retire - and I'm getting close to it - is to coach high school baseball. I have my teaching certificate, and I think in baseball your age isn't as important as your ability to relate to kids."
The 76ers, 28-6 after defeating Lakeville South 16-5 on July 15, were tied for first with Eden Prairie in last week's state American Legion poll. They began play in the Third District tournament Wednesday, July 22, at Legion Field in Apple Valley.
Newman also does 1-on-1 instruction and runs camps and clinics. He has a business, Newmie Rewards, that helps youth sports teams with fundraising.
He coached in pro ball from 1996-2005 (including four years as the Twins' third base coach), but Newman said he now sees working with younger players as his niche.
He said he wants infielders to work hard on fundamentals but won't be harsh on them if they make mistakes. "As long as they keep getting after it," he said. "Nobody wants to make errors, obviously."
Newman also works with the 76ers' hitters. "The main thing is, I want them to be comfortable at the plate," he said. "Everybody has a different starting position, but when they hit the baseball, everybody looks the same. As long as they get to where they're supposed to be at contact, I couldn't care less where they start."
One of Goodman's challenges has been holding together a staff that lost two of its top pitchers to injuries.
"We work on controlling their emotions and controlling their pitches, because those are the only two things they can control," Goodman said. "If they can take care of those two things, they'll be fine, and they go hand in hand."
The 76ers' schedule, which averages almost one game a day, bears some resemblance to pro ball. When a team is playing that often, managing emotions is critical, Goodman said.
"You just have to keep an even keel," Goodman said. "As Al likes to say, 'Keep that canoe in the water.'"