The New York-Penn League’s Staten Island Yankees will have a new leader in 2016. With the announcement two weeks ago that Manager Pat Osborn and pitching coach Butch Henry have accepted similar positions with the Tampa Yankees and the Pulaski Yankees, respectively, Dave Bialas, who was Tampa’s manager a year ago, will become the club’s fourth skipper in the last four seasons. Bialis brings a wealth of baseball knowledge earned over a span of four decades, as he steps in to lead a ‘new look’ Staten Island coaching staff.
A noted baseball lifer, Bialas, 61, spent ten seasons as a first baseman and outfielder in the St. Louis Cardinals organization from 1973-1982 after being drafted in the 4th round as a 19-year-old. Bialas began his managerial career immediately after his playing days ended, going 1030-1040 in eleven minor league seasons, including a stint with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs during the 2012 season. In addition to his extensive coaching resume at the minor league level, Bialas was also a member of the major league coaching staffs of the San Diego Padres from 1993-1994, and of the Chicago Cubs from 1995-1999, and in 2002, primarily as a bullpen coach. With the Padres, Bialas helped mold reliever Trevor Hoffman into a future All-Star closer and eventual Hall of Fame candidate.
“I’m proud to be a Yankee, no doubt about it,” Bialas said in the club’s press release following the announcement. “It’s a world class organization. I’m looking forward to being in Staten Island and working with the younger guys, including the college draftees. The biggest pleasure I have is working with the young players and having the chance to teach them how to play Yankees baseball.”
Joining Bialas on the coaching staff is a familiar name to most Yankees fans, 2003 first round draft pick Eric Duncan, who returns for his second season as the club’s batting coach. Duncan, 31, played 14 games for the 2003 Staten Island Yankees, batting .373/.413/.695 with two home runs in his first taste of professional baseball. In 2005, Duncan earned MVP honors in the Arizona Fall League competing against future big league standouts Joey Votto, Michael Bourn, Kendrys Morales, and Dan Uggla. Duncan reached as high as Triple-A as a top prospect in the Yankees organization, spending parts of four seasons with the Columbus Clippers and Scranton Wilkes-Barre Yankees between 2006 and 2009 before leaving the organization. Duncan retired as an active player following the 2012 season and is in the midst of completing his undergraduate degree at Seton Hall in Political Science while also serving as a volunteer coach for the school’s baseball program.
Also returning to the Staten Island Yankees coaching staff is former minor league infielder Teuris Olivares, who will once again serve as the team’s defensive coach. Olivares, 37, a native of San Pedro de Macoris in the Dominican Republic, was a middle infielder in the Yankees organization from 1996 through 2004 after signing with the club as a 16-year-old. After completing the 2004 season with the Double-A Trenton Thunder, Oliveras played six more seasons in independent baseball, most notably with the Somerset Patriots in the Atlantic League. Oliveras rejoined the Yankees organization after his playing days ended in 2010 to coach in the Dominican Summer League. Last season, Oliveras joined the Staten Island Yankees coaching staff and was instrumental in helping shortstop Thairo Estrada adjust to second base to make way for first round draft pick Kyle Holder and provide stability up the middle for the McNamara Division Champions.
With the departure of Henry to the Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League, the Staten Island Yankees currently have a vacancy at pitching coach and should fill it in the months to come. The Staten Island Yankees will officially begin play on June 17 in Brooklyn against the crosstown rival Brooklyn Cyclones and play their home opener the following day.