The Los Angeles Dodgers announced Wednesday that John Shoemaker will return this year for a second consecutive and fourth overall season as manager of the Great Lakes Loons.
This will be his 43rd season in the Dodgers organization, and his 26th as a minor-league manager. Here is some more info about “Shoe” from the Loons’ press release about his return:
The one-time draft pick of the San Francisco Giants (26th round, 1974), Dodgers (35th round, 1977) and Chicago Bulls (6th round, 1978 NBA Draft) has compiled a 199-219 record over three seasons as Loons manager and has managed more than 3,000 games dating back to 1987. Shoemaker played second base in the Dodgers minor-league system from 1977-80 and made it to Triple-A Albuquerque before retiring to become a minor-league hitting coach. This will be the third time in team history that the Loons have had a manager return for consecutive seasons: Juan Bustabad (2008-10) and Shoemaker (2011-12).
Shoemaker’s playing days included 76 games with the Clinton Dodgers, for whom he batted .322 in 1977.
Shoemaker’s coaching staff includes three newcomers to the Midland, Mich., team: hitting coach Justin Viele, pitching coach Luis Meza, and assistant coach Jason Bourgeois.
This is the third season Viele is serving as a hitting coach in the Dodgers organization, after previously serving in that role for the High-A Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in 2018 and the rookie-level Ogden Raptors in 2017. (Both of those teams won their league championships.) He played two years of pro baseball in the Baltimore Orioles farm system (2013-14).
Meza joins the Loons staff after previously serving as a pitching coach in the Arizona League and the Dominican Summer League. He pitched seven seasons in the Dodgers farm system (2009-15) before becoming a coach. He spent the 2013 season in the Midwest League, going 4-1 with a 3.96 ERA, four saves, 41 strikeouts and 32 walks in 51 relief appearances (72.2 innings) for the Loons.
Bourgeois played parts of eight MLB seasons with six different teams, compiling a .253 batting average with six homers, 44 RBI and 54 stolen bases in 317 big-league games. This is his first coaching assignment.