John Lowell McLaren
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 200 lb.
- High School Westbury High School
John McLaren was a coach for two decades in the major leagues after having previously played and managed in the minors. On July 1, 2007, he succeeded Mike Hargrove as manager of the Seattle Mariners but was fired less than a year later.
The 8th-round draft pick of the Houston Astros in the 1970 amateur draft, John debuted with the 1970 Covington Astros, hitting a homer on June 30th, in his first pro game. He batted .240/~.357/.331 and led Appalachian League catchers with 28 assists. In 1971, he advanced to the Sumter Astros, hitting .269/~.352/.429 with a career-high 13 home runs and a South Atlantic League-leading 56 assists. He made his AA debut with the Columbus Astros, going 5 for 27 with two walks and three times hit by pitch.
In 1972, the 20-year-old backstop hit .171/~.256/.257 in 11 games for Columbus, spending most of the year with the Cocoa Astros, for whom he batted .264/~.377/.322. McLaren spent all of 1973 and 1974 in Columbus. His .982 fielding percentage led all Southern League catchers the first year, while he hit .247/~.333/.303. He batted .272/~.335/.311 in 1974.
In 1975, John took a break from his two years at AA by splitting the year between A and AAA ball. He hit .263/~.376/.441 with the Dubuque Packers for his best year in terms of rate stats, while he was 4 for 7 with two doubles, a home run and five walks for the Iowa Oaks - a .571/~.750/1.286 line in his AAA debut.
McLaren finished his playing career with the 1976 Memphis Blues, producing at a .220/~.347/.305 rate in 36 contests.
After retiring as a player, McLaren scouted for the Toronto Blue Jays and managed for 8 years in the Blue Jays organization. He was then the Jays third base coach from 1986 to 1990. He then spent 1991 as the Boston Red Sox bullpen coach and 1992 as the Cincinnati Reds third base coach. McLaren joined the Seattle Mariners coaching staff in 1993 and was with the team for a decade. From 2003 to 2005, he was the Tampa Bay Devil Rays bench coach before spending a year as a Devil Rays scout.
In 2007, he rejoined the Mariners as bench coach and on July 1, he replaced Mike Hargrove who stepped down as the team's manager. On June 19, 2008, however, he was fired after the Mariners got off to a terrible 25-47 start when many expected them to compete for the AL West title. He was replaced by bench coach Jim Riggleman. His firing came only days after General Manager Bill Bavasi had himself been fired. In 2010, Riggleman brought him over to the Washington Nationals to become his bench coach, then on June 23rd, 2011, he replaced Riggleman who stepped down suddenly because of a contract dispute with General Manager Mike Rizzo. The Nats had won 11 of their last 12 games to move to one game above .500 at that point. In his first game as interim manager on June 24th, he was ejected in the 8th inning for protesting a decision by home plate umpire Jeff Nelson to overturn a call made by crewmate Mike Estabrook at first base, so he wasn't around when the Nats eventually won the game, 9-5, in the 14th inning over the Chicago White Sox. That same day, stories appeared that the Nats would soon offer veteran Davey Johnson their full-time managerial job. McLaren was then offered a scouting job within the Nationals' organization, giving Johnson a chance to appoint his own right-hand man.
McLaren has been involved in international baseball as well. He coached for the Italian national team in the 2010 Intercontinental Cup, when they won their first Bronze Medal ever in a global baseball tournament. He managed the Chinese national team in the 2013 World Baseball Classic (1-2, avoiding relegation) and the 2015 Asian Championship (2-3, 4th place).
In 2016, he resurfaced as the catching coach for the Philadelphia Phillies. In 2017, he moved to bullpen coach after having served again as the manager of the Chinese national team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic.
|Seattle Mariners Manager
|Washington Nationals Manager
Year-by-Year Managerial Record
Sources include 1971-1977 Baseball Guides