Ken Huckaby is moving on up the minor league coaching ranks.
The 1989 Manteca High graduate and former big league catcher of six years has recently been named manager of the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons, an affiliate for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Huckaby, who celebrated his 49th birthday Monday, played for seven Major League Baseball clubs including the Blue Jays. He has held several coaching jobs at various levels with the Toronto organization and most recently served as catching coordinator for all of the Blue Jays’ minor league teams.
"I missed the field,” Huckaby said during his introductory press conference on Jan. 17. “I missed the individual relationships with the players. I'm fortunate that because I got to rove that I know a lot of the guys that could potentially be in Buffalo this year, but I don't know them. That will be the challenge for me.”
His first two managerial jobs were with the Class-A Lansing Lugnuts in 2014-15 and the Class-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays in 2016. Huckaby compiled a 149-125 record and led the 2015 Lugnuts to the Midwest League Eastern Division Championship Series.
“In addition to being a great developmental guy, Huck is a winner,” Blue Jays Director of Minor League Operations Charlie Wilson said. “We are really excited to get started next month in Spring Training."
Huckaby replaces former manager Bobby Meacham, who has moved on to become a coaching assistant for the Philadelphia Phillies.
His goal is to not only prepare his players for the next level, but to bring the Governors’ Cup — the International League title — to Buffalo, which has six titles but has not competed in the championship series since winning it in 2004. The Bisons failed to make the playoffs the past 14 years.
“The best managers I've played for wanted to know how they could help me get back to the Major Leagues and stay,” Huckaby said. “I want to provide the kind of environment of 'hey, this is what we are going to do for you to get you back to the Majors where you belong, but in the meantime, while you are here doing this work, do me the favor and let's win some games.”