Sveum's playing career derailed by leg injury
New Cubs manager was first-round pick by Brewers in '82
MILWAUKEE -- Dale Sveum will be named the Cubs' 52nd manager on Friday at a news conference at Wrigley Field. The former infielder, who turns 48 on Nov. 23, received a three-year deal with an option for a fourth year.
Sveum was a first-round Draft pick in 1982 by the Brewers (25th overall), and reached the big leagues in '86. He played 12 seasons with the Brewers ('86-91), Phillies ('92), White Sox ('92), Athletics ('93), Mariners ('94), Pirates ('96-97), Yankees ('98), and again with the Pirates ('99). His last game was Oct. 3, 1999.
He played second, third and short, and has a career .236 batting average, 69 homers, 125 doubles, 13 triples and 340 RBIs.
Sveum is best remembered for his 1987 season, when he hit 25 home runs and drove in 95 while batting primarily ninth for the Brewers. On April 19 that year, Easter Sunday, he hit a walk-off homer at County Stadium to give Milwaukee a 6-4 victory over the Rangers for their 12th straight win. On July 17 that year, he hit three home runs and drove in six in a 12-2 win over the Angels.
The next season, Sveum and teammate Darryl Hamilton had a horrific collision, in which Sveum broke the tibia in his left leg. It happened in Detroit, Sept. 3, when the Tigers' Scott Lusader hit a pop up over third, and both Sveum and Hamilton, the left fielder, raced in to get it. Hamilton collided with Sveum.
"I knew the leg was broken," Sveum told the New York Times. "It sounded like a shotgun went off."
Sveum missed the rest of the '88 season and all of '89.
"That changed the course of my life and the course of my career, obviously," Sveum said. "I don't dwell on it; I really never have dwelled on it. It's a fact, it's there, I can't change it. It was a crucial time, and it basically ruined my career."
He was never the same player, and admitted that he "lost confidence." Walt Hrniak, then the White Sox hitting coach, did help him regain his stroke, and Sveum batted .300 with 23 homers for Triple-A Calgary in 1996.
Coaching and managerial career:
He managed the Pirates' Double-A team from 2001-03, and was named top managerial prospect in the Eastern League in '03 by Baseball America.
He was the Red Sox third base coach from '04-05, and part of the World Series championship team in '04. He became the Brewers' bench coach in '06, and switched to third-base coach in '07. Sveum took over as the Brewers interim manager in September 2008 after Ned Yost was dismissed. The Brewers went 7-5, and rallied to clinch the NL Wild Card spot, but lost in four games to the eventual World Series champion Phillies in the NL Division Series.
Ken Macha was named Milwaukee's manager and Sveum stayed as the hitting coach, a job he held until now.
Odds and ends:
Sveum is a cousin of former big league first baseman John Olerud. ... He led the American League in errors in 1986 (30). ... Was an All-State and All-American quarterback at Pinole Valley (Calif.) High School ... Sveum played for five managers who won Manager of the Year awards -- Tony La Russa, Joe Torre, Lou Piniella, Jim Leyland and Gene Lamont.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter@CarrieMuskat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.