The Brooklyn Cyclones announced their new manager this week — Tom Gamboa, a baseball lifer that has coached on two different major league teams and managed nine minor league ones. Unfortunately, he’s most well known for being attacked by a highly intoxicated father and son duo while he was first base coach of the Kansas City Royals in 2002.
What he isn’t known for — why he stepped away from baseball two years ago — is not as well known. Gamboa was manager of the Angels’ Single-A affiliate two years ago when he retired to be with his dying mother.
The Brooklyn Eagle’s own John Torenli has that story and details on what got Gamboa back into baseball. Here is an excerpt:
The decision turned out to be a no-brainer for the Los Angeles native, who had already managed nine Minor League clubs at virtually every level of professional ball, not to mention a pair of stints as a Major League coach.
“For years, I didn’t put family first,” Gamboa revealed during an exclusive interview with the Eagle Tuesday evening, shortly after he’d finished up his duties at the Mets’ Spring Training facilities in Port St. Lucie, Fla.
“I couldn’t risk missing the good time that my mom had left.”
And so on June 1, 2011, Gamboa made family a priority over baseball for the first time since his initial managerial stint in Butte, Mont., back in 1979.
Over the next 15 months before his mother’s eventual passing, Gamboa took her to movies, plays, concerts and out to dinner whenever possible, relishing the opportunity to make her remaining time as pleasurable as he could while thinking he’d left baseball behind for good.
“During that time I was already taking my MLB pension,” intimated Gamboa, who served as third-base coach for the Chicago Cubs in the 1990s and, more famously, as first-base coach for the Kansas City Royals in the early 2000s.
Be sure to read Torenli’s story in its entirety right here.
Joining Gamboa on the Cyclones’ coaching staff is Tom Signore, as the pitching coach, and Benny Distefano, as the hitting coach. Signore was previously with the Blue Jays organization where he was their Double-A pitching coach. Distefano was the Cyclones hitting coach in 2010 when the team led the league in hitting and home runs.