Former LA Angel Dallas McPherson is back in baseball as Blue Jays minor league manager
By David Rice
When former LA Angels third baseman Dallas McPherson was coming up though the Angels minor league system he was considered the second-coming of Troy Glaus who the Angels let walk away after 2004.
Dallas McPherson had killed it in the LA Angels minor league system over the prior three seasons including hitting 40 homers and driving in 123 runs in 2004 while hitting .317. The only warning sign of what was to come was three straight seasons of 100 or more strike outs including 169 whiffs in that same 2004 season.
So the Angels let Glaus walk away after 2004 and anointed McPherson as his replacement for 2005. McPherson started off the season slow and the Angels were forced to re-evaluate their confidence in McPherson. The rookie hit only eight homers in with 26 RBIs and a .244 batting average in 205 at-bats and struck out 64 times. The Angels instead switched utility man Chone Figgins to third and the team started to flourish offensively and went on to win the AL West Title and they made it to the ALCS before losing to the Chicago White Sox in the ALCS.
In 2006 it was more of the same as McPherson played in 40 games and hit .261 with seven homers and 13 RBIs with 40 strikeouts in 115 at-bats. To McPherson’s defense he battled back and hip injuries which severely affected his production as he was only able to play 101 games in 2005 and 2006. McPherson sat out 2007 having back surgery to remove a herniated disc and he had to miss the whole season.
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The Angels did not tender McPherson a contract after the 2007 season and he signed with the Florida Marlins playing in just 11 games for the team in 2008. McPherson continued to bounce around the minor leagues and still hit his fair share of home runs, but only got only one more short stint in the majors in 2011 playing 11 games for the Chicago White Sox. McPherson ended his career after an unsuccessful attempt to make the Dodgers roster out of Spring Training in 2012. His career numbers in 139 games (117 with the Angels), was a .241 batting average with 18 homers and 45 RBIs. McPherson said that despite his less-than stellar career in Anaheim, he still holds a special place in his heart for the Angels.
"“I really enjoyed my time in Anaheim. The Angels organization treated me very well during my time there,” McPherson said. “A big part of my heart will always be in Red. I can’t thank everyone there for all the things they did for me. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there.”"
While McPherson didn’t play in the majors during the World Series run in 2002, he said it still had an affect on him and some of the key players who helped him when he came up to the majors in 2004 were part of that magical season.
“It was great to be a part of the Angels organization when they won the 2002 World Series. It was something cool to see and gave me a tremendous sense of pride to be with an organization that won the World Series,” McPherson said. “Being able to play in the playoffs in 2004 and get my first playoff at-bat against Boston’s Pedro Martinez was very special. My favorite big league moment though was the first day I stepped on the field in Anaheim to play my first game for the Angels. The atmosphere at Angel Stadium was amazing.It was always a dream of mine to play in the majors and it was something that I will never forget.”
During McPherson tenure in Anaheim he got to play with Erstad, and Anderson, as well as Tim Salmon, and also hall of famer Vladimir Guerrero. McPherson said it was a great help to have such strong veteran group of leaders that helped him while with the Angels but he his most special relationship was with 10-year Angel veteran Darin Erstad.
“I learned how to be a professional from the veterans. I was really able to pick their brains and learn a lot from them,” McPherson said. “The best though was definitely Ersty (Darin Erstad). He really showed me how what being a professional both on and off the field was all about. He showed me how to go about my business day in and day out. Darin was a consummate pro and was a huge influence on my life which I will never forget.”
Despite a career that was marred by numerous injuries and disappointments, McPherson said he had no regrets in his career.
"“When I look back on my career with the Angels and the majors in general and I have no regrets. I left it all out on the field,” McPherson said. “I gave it everything I had every day. I worked my tail off to try and be the best player I could. I did the best that I could and whether not it was what I was supposed to be or not, at the end of the day I know I gave it my all and I let the chips fall where they may.”"
After retiring from baseball in 2013, McPherson took the next four years to spend time with his family, but the urge to get back into baseball was always there for him. In 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Director of Player Development Gil Kim reached out to McPherson and offered a job managing the Rookie League Vancouver Canadians team in 2018 and then McPherson moved up to managing the Low-Single-A Lansing Lugnuts in 2019. A decision that McPherson has not regretted.
“Gil Kim, the Blue Jays farm director reached out to me. We were very like-minded, we had a lot of things in common,” McPherson said. “What they were looking to do here and the direction they were going in was very intriguing to me. So far it has been a great decision for me.”
As for his approach as a manager in an organization that has a plethora of young talent including sons of multiple major league players that McPherson either payed with or against, including Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Bo Bichette, and Griffin Conine to name a few.
“I just try to remind the guys how hard it is to make it. There are only a select few who will play in the major leagues and you have to work your butt off every day in order to achieve that goal,” McPherson said.
“Vlad and his son are very similar players. Both of them have tremendous talent especially on the hitting side. Vlad (Sr.) was a tremendous athlete especially early in his career and that’s why he is a hall of famer,” McPherson said. “Vlad Guerrero was the best player I ever saw play and played with. He did so many amazing things and made it look easy. The toughest player I ever had to face was definitely Pedro (Martinez). His stuff was amazing and it was always tough to face him.”
As for maybe one day becoming a major league manager, McPherson doesn’t want to look too far ahead.
"“Obviously you want to achieve the highest level you can. If things went well and I got the opportunity it would be great, but for now I want to try and have the biggest impact I can on player development, that is my passion. Wherever that leads is great, but I’m just happy to be at Lansing right now doing what I’m doing,”McPherson said."