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  • Writer's pictureMaine Baseball HOF

Joyce, Ken (2001)

A multi-faceted, externally devoted baseball work in progress, if ever, as this was written Portland native Ken Joyce was awaiting word of his next assignment in the Florida Marlins organization he’s served for several years (minor league staffer in the upstart Marlins’ 1997 World Championship year).

Last season, the health and physical education teacher at Portland’s Lincoln Middle School was the pitching coach of the Catskill Cougars of the Northern League.

In three summers with the Utica, N.Y., Blue Sox of the New York-Penn League, Ken was pitching coach in 1997. And in his second campaign as manager he guided those Sox to the McNamara Division championship.

This followed stints as bullpen coach of the Portland Sea Dogs, regular season Eastern League champions, 1995, and Portland's hitting guru as the Dogs won the league’s Northern Division title in 1996.

Yes, championships have blazed the Joycean trail the better part of two decades -- starting from Ken’s telling hand in the Caldwell Post state American Legion Title in 1982 and as All-Telegram League utility choice as the classy second baseman of Deering High’s state Class A schoolboy rulers.

Joyce also bolstered the university of Southern Maine as captain in the 1985 NAIA college World Series.

Joyce returned to USM in the 1989 NCAA College Division World Series as assistant coach, one more credential leading to 1999 induction in the Husky Hall of Fame.

Titles aside or evidence of Joyce’s roles therein, however, 18 Ken's knack of teaching young players -- stressing proper conduct as much as techniques -- that he first displayed while playing 10 seasons in the Portland Twilight League.

These Instructional groups included Ed Flaherty’s Play Ball Camps ( the strikingly successful USM coach Flaherty, fellow Maine Baseball hall of famer, was Joyce’s coach at Deering) and the Southern Maine Camp.

Similar functions came later, as a natural communicator at all levels, Ken Joyce usually applies the right touch -- keyed by the ever-buoyant redhead’s sheer, infectious love of the game.

From Baseball Reference

In 1996, Ken Joyce was named hitting coach for the Portland Sea Dogs, an affiliate of the Florida Marlins in the AA Eastern League. In 1997, he was the hitting coach of the Utica Blue Sox of the New York-Penn League, also in the Marlins' organization. He became a manager with the Utica Blue Sox in the same league in 1998 and 1999.

Joyce was named pitching coach for the Catskill Cougars of the independent Northern League East) in 2000 and took over as the manager of the Adirondack Lumberjacks in 2001.He joined the Toronto Blue Jays as hitting coach for the Medicine Hat Blue Jays of the Pioneer League in 2002, then became hitting coach for the AA New Haven Ravens who led the Eastern League in hitting for the 2003 season.

In 2004, he managed the Charleston Alley Cats and was named the South Atlantic League North Division Manager for the league's All-Star game. The next two seasons, became manager of the Lansing Lugnuts of the Midwest League. He spent 2007 and 2008 as the hitting coach for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats of the Eastern League, then was named as hitting coach for the AAA Las Vegas 51s. That team led the Pacific Coast League in hitting for the 2009 season. He joined the San Francisco Giants organization as the AAA hitting coach with the Fresno Grizzlies in 2010 and the Richmond Flying Squirrels in the Eastern League from 2011-2016. He then moved to the New York Yankees' chain as hitting coach of the Charleston RiverDogs in 2017 and Staten Island Yankees in 2018-2019.

Ken Joyce set an NCAA record at the University of Southern Maine with 7 hits in 8 AB's vs. Concordia College in a Regional Tournament in 1985. He played in the 1985 NAIA World Series and was an assistant coach in the NCAA Division III World Series for the University of Southern Maine.

Joyce was head coach at New England College in 2000.

From University of Southern Maine HOF induction 1998

Ken Joyce, 1987- Ken Joyce has parlayed his four-year baseball career at USM under coaches “Dusty” Drew and Ed Flaherty into a professional baseball coaching position with the Utica Blue Sox of the Florida Marlins Organization. A slick fielding infielder, Joyce still holds the school’s single-game record for most hits with seven against Concordia (May 16, 1985) and shares the single game assist mark of nine against North Carolina Wesleyan (April 3, 1986) with fellow inductee Todd Bickford and four others. A two-time captain of the baseball team, Joyce hit .356 during his 136-game career and still ranks among the program’s top 12 all-time in seven statistical categories. He enjoyed his finest season as a junior (1986) batting .380 with eight doubles, two homers and 25 RBI. He was a key member of Drew’s 1985 team that advanced to the NAIA World Series Tournament and Flaherty’s 1987 team that began a string of 12 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances. He also served is alma mater as an assistant coach in baseball and women’s basketball.

From SFGate

Giants' Ken Joyce is a Harper-Trout expert

Giants Minor-league coach got to work with Harper, Trout in Arizona Fall League

Joyce, Ken (01)

Joyce, Ken (01)

From Portland Press Herald August 21, 2014

Portland’s Ken Joyce is living the dream

The baseball life still burns brightly for Maine native Ken Joyce after a two-decade career in professional baseball.

“First time I got to sleep in my own bed since February,” said Joyce, who parlayed a volunteer gig with the Portland Sea Dogs into a two-decade career in professional baseball. “The visits are never long enough. But the fortunate thing is that it’s near the end of the season so it won’t be long before I’m back here.”

Twenty years ago, Joyce strode through this same parking lot carrying a catcher’s mitt and a dose of apprehension. He was 29, teaching middle school health and physical education and coaching JV and American Legion baseball, and he had just met the manager of Portland’s new Eastern League franchise, the Sea Dogs.

We could use a bullpen catcher, Tosca had replied. Have you ever caught?

Not since Little League, but Joyce had played middle infield at Deering High and the University of Southern Maine and been a three-year assistant to USM Coach Ed Flaherty. True, Joyce had never played professionally, but neither had Tosca.

Soon enough, Joyce had earned a Sea Dogs uniform and a succession of thumb sprains (thank you, Jarod Juelsgaard). Throughout the 1994 and 1995 seasons, Joyce soaked up as much baseball knowledge as he could from Tosca (now the Atlanta Braves’ bench coach after spending 17 years in the minors), from Florida Marlins farm director John Boles and from a succession of coaches and roving instructors. All while working as a volunteer coach and still as a teacher.

During the 1996 All-Star break, the foundering Marlins abruptly replaced field manager Rene Lachemann with Boles, and Boles chose Double-A hitting coach Jeff Pentland to join him in Florida. Suddenly, the Dogs had a vacancy for a paid coach on their staff. They also had an apprentice ready to fill the role.

“Baseball is always looking for good people,” said current Sea Dogs manager Billy McMillon, an outfielder on the ’95 club managed by Tosca. “(Joyce) was around. He paid attention. He went out of his way to help out when needed. Then, because he was such a good person and he worked well with everyone, when an opportunity opened up in the organization he was offered a position.”

Joyce finished out that season as Portland’s hitting coach and spent the next three with Florida’s short-season affiliate in the New York-Penn League. After two years in the independent Northern League, Joyce returned to organized baseball and spent eight years in the Toronto Blue Jays’ system. He managed for three seasons in Class A and, as a hitting coach, rose as high as the Triple-A Pacific Coast League in 2009.

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