Two days after unveiling their logo and jersey designs, the Charlotte Stone Crabs announced the first members of the new team that will wear them on the field. Jim Morrison will remain in his spot as manager of the Tampa Bay Rays’ Class-A Advanced affiliate as he makes the move from Vero Beach to Port Charlotte. Joining him in the dugout will be pitching coach Bill Moloney, hitting coach Joe Szekely and trainer Chris Tomashoff.
Morrison enters his 25th season in professional baseball and third season in the Rays’ organization after managing the Vero Beach Devil Rays last year and the Class-A Columbus Catfish the season prior when he led the Catfish to the 2007 South Atlantic League title. He also served stints as a roving infield instructor, coach and manager in the Philadelphia Phillies organization for seven years (2000-06).
Before entering the coaching ranks in 2000, Morrison enjoyed a 15-year playing career as an infielder, including 12 major league seasons with the Phillies, White Sox, Pirates, Tigers and Braves before retiring in 1988. In 1,089 career games, he batted .260 with 112 home runs and 371 RBIs. He currently resides in Bradenton, Fla.
Bill Moloney enter his third season as a pitching coach in the Rays’ organization after spending the previous two seasons with the Class-A Columbus Catfish. His 23-year coaching career includes stints with the Cincinnati Reds (2001-06) and Boston Red Sox (1995-2000). In 2002, his Class-A Stockton staff led the California League with a 3.20 ERA and 12 shutouts.
Prior to coaching, Moloney pitched in the Red Sox minor league system from 1979-1984 and reached Triple-A Pawtucket before suffering a significant finger injury that ended his playing career. He spent the next 11 years as the Red Sox batting practice pitcher before making his coaching debut in 1995 with Class-A Michigan. Moloney played baseball at Lowell High School in Massachusetts where he led the nation with a 1.00 ERA his senior year.
Joe Szekely will join the club as hitting coach after managing the Rookie-level Princeton Devil Rays last year. He enters his fifth season in the Rays’ organization with the previous four years spent as a manager with four different teams. He previously managed at the Class A-Advanced level in 2007 when he led Vero Beach to a 59-79 record. He also managed Class A-Visalia in 2006 and Class-A Southwestern Michigan in 2005.
Szekely spent six seasons with the Kansas City Royals organization before joining the Rays in 2005. Before coaching, he played 11 Minor League seasons for four different organizations.
Rounding out the coaching staff is trainer Chris Tomashoff who enters his 14th year in the Rays’ organization. Tomashoff spent the previous three seasons as the assistant athletic training coordinator for the Rays’ minor league system. In 2004, he was named the California League Trainer of the Year by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society. He studied sports medicine at the University of Washington and has sung the National Anthem at both spring training and regular season Rays games the past four seasons.