Talk baseball with a Fairfield County native that's lived it, both on the field and calling the shots from the bench.
Willie Upshaw, former Major-Leaguer and manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish, will discuss the game and answer questions on Saturday, June 11, at 2 p.m., in Greenwich Library's Meeting Room.
Upshaw was named Atlantic League Manager of the Year and led the team to the Liberty Division Title and its fifth Championship Series appearance in franchise history. Upshaw returned home in 2009 as skipper of the 'Fish after spending the 2006 and 2007 seasons as first base coach for the San Francisco Giants. Upshaw, the first manager in Bluefish history, spent three years in Bridgeport from 1998-2000. He was named Atlantic League manager of the year in 1998 and led the Bluefish to their lone championship the following season.
Upshaw's Major League career spanned 10 seasons, nine of them with the Toronto Blue Jays. Originally selected in the fifth round of the 1975 free agent draft by the New York Yankees, he spent the first two years of his career in the minors before being chosen by the Blue Jays as part of the 1977 expansion draft.
Upshaw would eventually make his Major League debut the following year on April 9 against the Detroit Tigers. In 1982, he became the Blue Jays regular first-baseman and led the team in home runs (21) and RBI (75). The following year he became the first Toronto player to top 100 RBI in a season with 104. Upshaw surpassed the 1,000 career hit mark in 1988, his final season in the Major Leagues, and finished his career with 1,103 hits, 123 home runs, 528 RBI and a .262 batting average. Following a brief stint in Japan, Upshaw began his coaching career in 1991 as a hitting instructor in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. After two successful years in the minor leagues, he was on the fast track up the coaching chain after being named hitting coach for the Texas Rangers. Upshaw returned to Toronto in 1995 where he would serve as hitting coach for the next three seasons.
In 1998, the former Major-Leaguer would make his way back home to Fairfield County, where he would become the first field manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish. He impressed many in his first season at the helm by leading the team to a 64-36 record and taking home the first manager of the year award in Atlantic League history. The following year he marched the Bluefish to a league-best 78-42 record and the 1999 Atlantic League Championship. After another successful year with the 'Fish in 2000 he made his way back to the affiliated ranks with the Cleveland Indians and most recently the San Francisco Giants.
Free and open to the public, the program is open to adults and young adults. For more information, please contact Carl White at 203-622-7948.