- Rick Renteria was born in California, though his parents and brother were born in Mexico. He played in the Major Leagues from 1986-94 and spent four seasons playing in the Mexican League.
- In 1980, the Pirates drafted Renteria in the first round, out of South Gate High School in South Gate, California.
February 1993: Rick signed a minor league contract with the Marlins. When he reported to spring training, he had to do without a car for six weeks. Then, he got a real break. Florida needed an extra player for a split-squad exhibition and Rick delivered a single and made an exceptional play on defense. That warranted another call, answered with another hit. Then, a 10th-inning grand slam won a game vs. the Expos. Renteria finished the spring hitting .440 (11-for-25) and won a job! "I can't even begin to explain the emotions, my gratitude to God, to my agent (Ken Solomon, who kept harassing the Marlins for a minor league job), and my family," Rick said. During the spring camp, Rick's wife had to work as a grocery store clerk so they could make ends meet during that period.
"I think one thing I learned over these long periods of time is to take everything day by day, and that anything is possible," Renteria says. "I'm no big name. I'm just some guy who is inspired to be here. As time goes on, you're just part of the game. You're not the game."
- Renteria has been known as "Rick," not "Rich," for a long time. But fans and media somehow called him "Rich." So the Marlins decided to refer to Renteria only as Rick in their promotional and media guides, starting in 1994.
- April 1996: Rick retired from the Mexican League.
- Rick was home in 2002 when his oldest son, Joseph, got married. He was also there for his middle son Michael's high school gradaution and his youngest son Anthony's first communion.
- Renteria is sentimental. When he was named manager of the Cubs after the 2013 season, he chose uniform #16, which was his number at South Gate High School in Los Angeles. That's where he met his wife, Ilene, who he made sure was in the room at their home when the Cubs offered him the managing job. They have four adult children.
In His Own Words:
My first Opening Day was with Seattle in 1987. When you break with the club out of Spring Training for the first time, you're going to be very excited. It's monumental, because not everybody can do it. It's something everyone dreams about. When you finally do it, it's a little surreal and, at times, it feels like a blur because it just goes by so fast.
I had to wait until 1993 for my second Opening Day in the big leagues. I had been bouncing around for a few years when I finally got back with the Florida Marlins. I was more elated because you're older and you realize that being up here for Opening Day doesn't happen every day. You appreciate it more. It's always surreal. Major League Baseball is a surreal life.
It isn't just the players. In 2017, two of our coaches, Nick Capra and Curt Hasler, got to experience Opening Day for the first time. I wanted our team to know how special it was for them. The Major League arena starts in the Minor Leagues. It takes a lot of good coaching to develop these players. It's somewhat of a thankless job for the coaches. I wanted to acknowledge all the hard work Nick and Curt put in. They've been through all the battles for a long time. Being part of Opening Day for the first time was just as exciting for them as it was for the players.
As a manager, it always is a thrill to line up with my team for the introductions. I look at my players just like I look at my kids. We're living through our players. The game is about them. We have pride in them, we have joy with them, we suffer with them, and everything in between.
It's one of those things where from day one of Spring Training, everyone tries to get themselves ready for the season, to be able to put your best foot forward every day. You're hoping you can do everything necessary to become a true family as a baseball team.
I would expect some of our young guys to have some butterflies on Opening Day. Everyone does. That's not necessarily a bad thing. But after the first pitch, the first swing, all of a sudden, you come into a kind of calm. I don't think these guys are going to get too excited. They're very focused, and they prepared well. They understand exactly where they are and the job they have to do.
For the manager, there is a lot of hoopla on Opening Day. I understand it's all part of the day. Once the game starts, that's when it is the easiest. I'm back in the arena. That's the most comfortable place for me to be.
Opening Day is the beginning of a long journey. Every spring they say, "Hope springs eternal." You have the optimism, and you're looking forward to all the positives.
But during the season, when you hit that little valley, that wall, I always try to tell the players to revert back to the day we broke camp. What did it feel like? What were you thinking about? What were your expectations? Those expectations haven't been removed from you. You have to go back and remember what they're all about and continue to move forward. (Renteria - mlb.com - 3/28/18)
|Home:||South Gate, CA||Team:||WHITE SOX|
|Birth City:||Harbor City, CA|
|Draft:||Pirates #1 - 1980 - Out of high school (CA)|
|1996||MEX||Mex. City Reds||86||13||22||4||2||2||16||0||.256|
PLAYING CAREER NOTES
- You couldn't blow an inside fastball past Rick. He had a Major League bat and a flat, compact swing—much like Bill Madlock's was—that was conducive to frequent contact. He drove the ball into the alleys.
- The Florida Marlins considered Renteria there "hidden weapon." He would come off the bench to hit and always seemed to provide a key single or double at the most opportune time during their inaugural season of 1993, hitting .255-2-30 in 263 at-bats.
- Renteria had average speed at best, and was not base-stealing threat.
- He was a sure-handed third baseman and adequate at second base, but not spectacular at either. He had trouble turning the double play and did not a real strong arm at the hot corner.
- Renteria is a good baseball man. He is fair in his dealings with players. Rick is also bilingual.
Rick was one of the best minor league managers in baseball. He combines developing players with winning.
Renteria is known as a hands-on teacher and a strong communicator. His ability to speak both English and Spanish is believed to be a plus for the Cubs. Sources familiar with the process say the Cubs were intent on hiring a Latin-American manager and/or coaches, something they lacked in their previous coaching staff.
"What I talk to them about is being themselves and we're going to be here to help them," the manager said. "We're here to serve them and they need to trust and understand that's the case. We're going to try to do everything we can to help them move forward. If they have a question or any concerns, all they need to do is have a dialogue. Sometimes I think we have to start the dialogue, but I tell them we're open to them and see what it is to help them improve their game."
Renteria picked up the positive coaching style from his Class A manager, Johnny Lipon, a former Tigers shortstop who was his third manager in pro ball, at Alexanderia, a Single-A team. He's also learned from Jim Leyland, Rene Lachemann and Dick Williams. John Boles, now an executive with the Royals, and Gary Hughes, a scout with the Red Sox, were together with the Marlins when Renteria was still playing, and both encouraged him to pursue managing.
"Lipon was the most positive individual I've ever seen," Rick said. "Here's a guy who was a shortstop with the Detroit Tigers in a different era. He was an infielder. His demeanor was ont hat kept moving you forward, and that stayed and resonated with me."
Rick, late in his first Spring Training as a Manager, of the Cubs, said, "I'm no different than anybody else. I'm not going to let a title or position put me in a better place than anybody else. I think we're all the same. And it's just baseball. I come out and look at it that way and try to do the best I can."
POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS
- In 1998, Rick was named Manager for the Brevard County Manatees (FSL-Marlins).
- In 1999, he was Manager for Kane Co. (MWL-Marlins).
- In 2000, Renteria was named Manager for Portland (EL-Marlins).
- In 2003, Renteria joined the Padres organization as a Coach at Lake Elsinore (CAL).
- In 2004, Rick became the Lake Elsinore Manager.
- In 2007, Renteria was Manager for the Portland Beavers (PCL-Padres).
December 12, 2007: Renteria joined the Padres as 1st Base Coach.
Rick later was named Bench Coach for the Padres.
- In March 2013, Renteria took a couple of weeks off from being Padres Bench Coach to be Manager of Team Mexico in the World Baseball Classic.
November 6, 2013: The Cubs chose Renteria to be their new manager, replacing the fired Dale Sveum.
Rickbeat out A.J. Hinch, Manny Acta, Dave Martinez and Eric Wedge for the job. The Cubs were not allowed to interview another candidate, Boston Red Sox coach Torey Lovullo, because of an agreement when the team hired president Theo Epstein in 2011.
- October 31, 2014: The Cubs President Theo Epstein released a statement praising Renteria while indicating Maddon's availability was too enticing to pass up.
"Last Thursday, we learned that Joe Maddon—who may be as well suited as anyone in the industry to manage the challenges that lie ahead of us—had become a free agent," Epstein said. "We saw it as a unique opportunity and faced a clear dilemma: be loyal to Rick or to the organization. In this business of trying to win a world championship for the first time in 107 years, the organization has priority over any one individual. We decided to pursue Joe." (Editor's note: Good decision, Theo.)
- October 3, 2016: The White Sox hired Renteria as their new manager, replacing Robin Ventura.
July 1988: Renteria suffered a severely pulled groin muscle. He never got over it until having surgery in March, '89 for a hernia. He started that season on the D.L
May 1990: Rick spent several weeks on the D.L. after he fractured his cheekbone while working on ground balls during batting practice when he was struck by a line drive. He missed the whole season and almost retired. Facial reconstruction did not take a a second major operation to rectify the mistakes of the first was required. Doctors left 3 screws in his left cheek and a wire in his right cheek. It also left him afraid of the baseball and with a wife (Ilene) and 3 kids, afraid for his future. But Rick fought his fear and fought his way back.
When he returned to action in Mexico in 1991, he flinched every time he heard a bat hit a ball.
Then he got injured again, taking an opponent's spike over his left eye. "I called my wife and said, 'It doesn't seem like I'm supposed to be playing anymore," Rick recalls. "And I told her I was going to hang it up." Prayers and his wife changed his mind. "Talking to our creator has helped me a lot," Renteria says. "I felt like if I gave up it would be a sin, because He gave me certain abilities, and I should try to continue to pursue my dream."
Renteria also has been disabled because of groin pulls and a hernia.
- March 17, 1994: Rick sustained a deep bruise when he was struck on the left elbow when hit by a pitch from Cleveland's Russ Swan. It was the fifth time Rick had been hit during '94 spring training. "That plate he'd got in his head must be some kind of magnet," teammate Orestes Destrade said.
- May 22, 1994: Renteria went on the D.L. with a pulled left hamstring.
- October 2013: Renteria underwent hip surgery after the regular season ended.