MWLguide.com‘s manager profiles are assembly projects. I typically begin the project by backtracking through the Minor League Encyclopedia, the BA Almanacs, and/or the TSN Guides. I check those against Jerry Jackson’s manager list, and drop him a line when our research disagrees. Then I fill in the gaps–usually these guys had coaching jobs–from Blue Books, BA’s Directories, the Web, and old MWL programs. The playing career data typically comes from Pat Doyle’s Professional Baseball Player Database, which might be supplemented from other sources. Sporting News back issues, which are available at Paper of Record, are sometimes helpful, I’ve been known to ask the SABR community of baseball experts for information. Since some of these managers are quite familiar to me, I may know things which aren’t easily found elsewhere. And occasionally the profile subjects, themselves, send me notes. All in all, there’s no single source for this information; that’s part of what makes the project interesting.
Rick Patterson was South Bend’s manager in the first Midwest League game I ever saw, in April of 1990. My main memory of the game is the novelty of the ballpark; I really don’t recall anything about the managers.
I first built Rick Patterson’s profile page in February of 2000, and while I’ve updated it several times since, today’s look at his career was my first since the initial project.
Today’s first research question was When did Patterson play pro ball, and was he drafted by someone? Doyle’s database has a Richard Patterson who played in the extremely low minors in the early 80s (might be our guy), and a Dick Patterson from the late ’40s (who probably isn’t). A web check finds an interview with Patterson (2006 Mets roving instructor, which agrees with information already in the profile) where we learn that neither is the right guy; Rick played in the Mets organization in the 1970s. Back to Doyle, where I find W.O. Ricky Patterson who played for Wausau and Lynchburg in 1975 and 1976 (folks with names like that vastly complicate this stuff). Our guy, even though the article claims a three-year playing career. The BA Draft Almanac doesn’t list him as a Mets draftee in 1974 or 75, so he was most likely a free agent signing. We’ll go with that.
The same interview fills in a long gap in Patterson’s career: He managed at Bishop State CC (wherever that is–turns out to be Mobile) for (it says) eight years. If I assume Patterson managed both at Bishop and in the Heartland League in 1997, this fits well, though it suggests he had a rather busy June that summer.
Another online interview discusses Patterson’s relationship with Eddie Stanky, for whom he played at South Alabama. (Aha! A biographical factoid!) Apparently he also coached under the Brat, presumably during that gap after his playing career. Not enough details, here; file away for further research.
That’s all that’s useful on the web. There’s nothing in the BR Bullpen, nor in Wikipedia. Since Jeff (in the Bullpen), several Wikipedians, and I are investigating the same careers, we borrow pretty heavily from each other. This time, though, I’m the guy who got there first, so no joy.
So, where are we? We still need to fill in the gap between his playing career and his managerial career (that one will be hard unless I find the information in a South Bend program), and there are a couple one-year gaps where he was likely on some team’s coaching staff (I can usually solve those). The pitching coach stint looks like I miscopied something, which has happened before. Loose ends: Was he working in baseball this summer? Did Patterson really play in the minors for three years; if so, where and when? And I need a couple biographical details: What do those initials stand for? When and where was he born? (I’m betting on Mobile, probably in 1955 or thereabouts.) Finally, we still need won/lost records for the partial season at Greensboro, his collegiate teams, and the winter league stints; that will be some other year’s project, methinks.
So it goes….