John McLaren (baseball)

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John McLaren (baseball) : biography

September 29, 1951 –

John Lowell McLaren (born September 29, 1951) is a former Major League Baseball coach and manager, best known for his brief tenure as manager of the Seattle Mariners, from July 1, to June 19, . A native of the Houston, Texas area, McLaren was a catcher in the Houston Astros minor league system from 1970–1976, and later managed in the Toronto Blue Jays minor league system. He became a major league coach with the Blue Jays in 1986 and has since held major league coaching positions with the Mariners, Boston Red Sox, Cincinnati Reds, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Washington Nationals. He also served as a coach for the United States national baseball team during the 2006 World Baseball Classic, spent two nonconsecutive seasons as a scout in the Devil Rays/Rays organization, and was interim manager of the Nationals for three games in 2011. He is now employed as a scout for the Nationals organization.

Personal life

McLaren graduated from Westbury High School in Houston, Texas in 1970, and attended Blinn College, the University of St. Thomas and Houston Baptist University. He currently resides in Phoenix, Arizona.


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Playing career

McLaren, a catcher, was selected by the Houston Astros in the seventh round of the 1970 June draft and was assigned to the rookie-level Covington Astros of the Appalachian League. He hit a home run in his first professional game on June 30. He led Western Carolinas League catchers in putouts and assists in 1971, and in 1973 at Columbus led Southern League catchers in fielding. His best offensive season came in 1975, when he batted .270 with 13 home runs and 57 runs batted in for the Iowa Oaks and Dubuque Packers. His playing career lasted through the 1976 season, having peaked at the triple-A level.

Coaching and managing career

In the 1979 season McLaren became manager of the Utica Blue Jays, a Toronto Blue Jays single-A affiliate. He managed two other Blue Jays affiliates: the double-A Kinston Blue Jays from 1981–1982, and the triple-A Knoxville Blue Jays from 1983–1985.

McLaren entered MLB as the Blue Jays’ third-base coach in . He coached for the Blue Jays through , then spent as bullpen coach for the Boston Red Sox before joining Lou Piniella’s coaching staff with the Cincinnati Reds in . He held various positions on Piniella’s coaching staffs with the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Devil Rays from 1993 through 2005.

McLaren served as the third-base coach for the United States during the 2006 World Baseball Classic, but worked as a scout for the Devil Rays during the 2006 season. After the season, McLaren was named bench coach of the Mariners for the third time, this time under manager Mike Hargrove.

Hargrove abruptly resigned on July 1, 2007, and McLaren was named as his replacement. The Mariners finished the season in second place in the American League West standings, the first time they finished above last place since .

McLaren was fired as manager on June 19, 2008, largely because the Mariners had a payroll in excess of $100 million dollars, yet possessed the worst record in baseball (25–47) at the time. His firing followed the firing of general manager Bill Bavasi by three days. Jim Riggleman, the bench coach, replaced McLaren on an interim basis.

McLaren spent the season as a scout in the Rays organization and in November 2009 was hired as the Washington Nationals’ bench coach under manager Riggleman. He became interim manager of the Nationals on June 24, 2011, a day following Riggleman’s resignation; he was replaced with Davey Johnson for the remainder of the 2011 season after McLaren managed three games. McLaren subsequently resigned his coaching position and took a position as a scout for the Nationals organization.


In 1991, McLaren was inducted into the Kinston Professional Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the manager for the Carolina League Kinston Eagles in 1981 and Kinston Blue Jays in 1982.

Managerial record

Team Year Regular Season Postseason
Won Lost Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
SEA 2007 43 41 .512 2nd in AL West
SEA 2008 25 47 .350 4th in AL West (fired)
WAS 2011 2 1 .667 3rd in NL East (Davey Johnson named manager)
Total 70 89 .440