Over a 12-year, five-team Major League Baseball career, Richie Sexson was one of the game’s most prominent sluggers. The 6-foot-7 standout hit 30 homers six times, reaching 40 twice, on his way to 306 career long shots and two All-Star appearances before leaving the big stage in 2008.
Now, he has settled into a different role on the diamond – a head coaching job in his native state of Oregon. As The Oregonian tells it, Sexson has taken over at Summit (Bend, Oreg.) after three seasons as an assistant on former big league pitcher Alan Embree’s coaching staff.
The team Sexson has taken over from his friend and fellow Prairie (Brush Prairie, Wash.) alum Embree is the defending Class 5A champion.
While the team is 2-5 to start the year, Sexson pointed out to The Oregonian that they have played mostly teams from a class up and are getting used to life without the 13 graduated seniors from last year.
“I think when you’re a young player, you tend to take everything to heart,” Sexson said. “We’ve been stressing to the guys to have short memories, and we’re teaching them the little things about baseball. We’re trying to get them to think their way through games.”
Sexson’s MLB career began in Cleveland, followed by stints with Milwaukee, Arizona, Seattle, and a 22-game run with the Yankees in 1998.
After his short time in New York, Sexson returned to the Pacific Northwest. The kids have gotten used to having a former big leaguer around.
“We’ve been around for a while that the novelty has worn off,” Sexson told The Oregonian. “They treat us just like any other coaches now.”
Sexson and Embree weren’t the only former prominent pro athletes to have roles at Summit, as retired NFL players Drew Bledsoe and Kevin Boss have been involved with the football program that won a Class 5A state title in 2015.
When one career ends, especially when it ends as early as one’s 30s, another begins.