On a team that has been criticized for their base running blunders it’s easy to blame the third base coach for the Orioles many issues on the base paths, but Juan Samuel wasn’t the reason Melvin Mora was caught running to third on a fielder’s choice hit to the second baseman.

It happened over and over again last season.

Samuel made his debut in the majors with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1983. The right hander hit .259 with 161 home runs and 703 RBI in 1,720 games played with seven different ball clubs.

His name pops up in the Oriole history books when Baltimore defeated the Phillies in the 1983 World Series. Samuel went 0-1 in three games in the series against the O’s.

In 1987 he became the first player in MLB history to reach double figures in doubles, triples, home runs and stolen bases in his first four major league seasons.

Samuel was a terror on the bases, totaling 396 stolen bases and reaching double figures in home runs nine times in his career. In 1984, he was the NL Rookie of the Year and he finished his career a three time All Star.

His numbers and play remind me of Brian Roberts, quick speed mixed with a bat that produces a lot of doubles.

My point with Samuel’s short bio is that the guy knows the game. His primary job with the Orioles is the signal runners when to stop or when to run, which has come under heavy fire when Baltimore makes mistakes rounding the bases. But often, these mistakes are made by the players themselves and not the coach standing behind third base.

When asked about the importance of base running this spring, Manager Dave Trembley responded saying, “You can put it at the front of your priorities and not at the back. You have to make those things that you have seen on a repetitive basis that haven’t been done up to your standards a point of emphasis. And we have to do that here in camp on a regular basis and emphasize the importance of it to the players. A lot of it will be up to them. You make it a priority, and you also instruct and correct on a regular basis.”

Instinct and anticipation are the key to a good base running coach and Samuel has experienced both in his 16 years at the major league level.

As a side note, Juan Samuel named his son Samuel Samuel…which I just think is cool.

What do you think of Juan Samuel’s calls as a third base coach?