Carlos Tosca has already made it difficult to imagine a Portland Sea Dogs game at Hadlock Field without him sitting in the first-base dugout or standing in the third base coach’s box.
New players come and go each season, Tosca continues to provide fans a friendly and familiar face as the team’s respected and popular manager.
The Sea Dogs’ only skipper so far, Tosca entered his third season in Portland with a .520 winning percentage (619-572) through 15 years in professional baseball.
Tosca led Portland to an Eastern League divisional title last season, and the team's 86 wins stand as the Florida Marlins’ organizational record.
Tosca, 42, was honored with Florida’s Carl Barger Player Development Person of the Year Award after an impressive wave of the team’s prospects thrived under him in 1995.
More than his record or awards, however, Tosca has won the affection and respect of local fans with his sincerity, work ethic and warm smile.
Whether he is chatting with fans near his coach’s box during a game or answering a reporter’s questions afterward, Tosca’s perspective and humanity shows through.
he fled his homeland of Cuba with family when he was 8. Through considerable adversity, including a 9-year separation from his father, baseball remained a passion for Tosca.
Tosca became a good player for Brandon High in Florida and later played for the University of South Florida as a reserve outfielder.
At USF, Tosca played for Jack Butterfield, who had also coached the University of Maine for 18 years and went on to become a top minor-league official for the New York Yankees.
Tosca still calls Butterfield, who gave him his break into professional coaching in 1978 but died in a car crash the next year, “the greatest man i ever met.”
As Butterfield did for him, Tosca preaches discipline, hard work and attention to detail. Butterfield taught him that baseball should be played with pride, determination and respect, but also that... .
“If the only thing we learned from him was baseball, then he had failed at his job,” Tosca recalls.
Tosca has succeeded in being an asset to this community through his work with team charities such as the Maine Children’s Cancer Program and by making numerous speeches to groups throughout the greater Portland area.
As a professional manager and coach, Tosca has worked with the likes of Don Mattingly, Fred McGriff, Jose Rijo, Roberto Kelly and Charles Johnson.
Whether or not he moves up to the major leagues himself some day, Tosca’s sense of humility and community should rank him high within the memories of Mainers.
Carlos Tosca (born September 29, 1953 in Pinar del Río, Cuba) is the current Field coach for the GCL Orioles. He is a former Major League and minor league baseball manager. He was the manager of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2002 to 2004. He succeeded Buck Martinez on June 3, 2002, served the entire 2003 season, and was replaced by John Gibbons on August 8, 2004, after compiling a 191–191 win-loss record (.500).
Tosca is a graduate of the University of South Florida. He did not play professional baseball, but became a coach at the high school level after his graduation. In 1978, he entered pro baseball as a coach in the Short Season-A New York–Penn League.
Tosca managed in the farm systems of the New York Yankees, Kansas City Royals, Florida Marlins and Atlanta Braves for 17 seasons between 1980 and 2001. He was the first manager in the history of the Portland Sea Dogs of the Double-A Eastern League, serving as their pilot from 1994 to 1996. He has managed at the highest level of minor league baseball with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights (1997) and Richmond Braves (2001), and was the bench coach on Buck Showalter's staff during the first three MLB seasons (1998–2000) in Arizona Diamondbacks history.
Tosca was hired as third base coach of the Blue Jays for the 2002 season by the club's recently appointed general manager, J. P. Ricciardi. When Toronto started poorly (20–33, .377) under Martinez—who had been hired by former GM Gord Ash—Ricciardi replaced the incumbent manager with Tosca. Over the final two-thirds of the campaign, Tosca led the Jays to a 58–51 (.523) mark and a third-place finish in the American League East Division. Tosca then produced another winning record (86–76, .531) and third-place finish in 2003. But in 2004, the Jays won only 47 of their first 111 games (.423) and were in fifth place in their division when Tosca was relieved of command by Ricciardi. The Jays finished the campaign at 67–94 (.416).
After returning to the D-Backs in 2005–2006 to coach third base under manager Bob Melvin, Tosca was the bench coach of the Marlins under Fredi González from 2007 to June 22, 2010.
When González was hired to replace Bobby Cox as the manager of the Braves following the 2010 season, Tosca was hired to serve as the Braves' new bench coach. He managed the Braves on May 10 and 11, 2013 due to González' daughter's college graduation.
On May 17, 2016 both Tosca and González were dismissed from the Atlanta Braves.
In February 2019, Tosca was named as the Field Coach for the GCL Orioles.
Memories of Carlos Tosca
by Jeff Seidel | Mar 20, 2017 | Blogs
The Orioles recently announced they’ve hired Carlos Tosca to manage their Gulf Coast League Orioles minor league team. That won’t mean much to many people, but it did make me smile.
Tosca is a typical baseball coach/manager who’s worked here, there and everywhere. However, I had an interesting interaction with him 21 years ago.
In late May of 1996, I was doing a freelance story about the Portland Sea Dogs.They were playing in Bowie (then, as now, the Orioles’ Class AA minor league team), and a newspaper in Portland, Maine, wanted me to cover the series.
The first night was a doubleheader. In the minor leagues, doubleheaders are seven innings, not nine, and the first game moved quickly but the second game dragged on into the 14th inning.
That made my pregnant wife rather nervous. She was due to have our daughter about a week later and felt when I talked to her at the start of the 14th that she might be going into labor shortly. I had to get out of there as fast as I could. Well, the game thankfully ended that inning, but reporters are supposed to wait 10 minutes afterwards before talking to a manager.
I was a bit jumpy and told the Portland media guy that I really needed to move quickly on this, due to my wife. Tosca was then the team’s manager and saw me standing in the hallway, smiled and waved me in after something like four minutes.
It turned out my wife wasn’t going into labor — that came about a week later, truth be told — and the Portland paper asked me to do the series when the team returned in late August. I went in to talk with Tosca after the first game.
He saw me and smiled. “How’s the baby doing,” he asked.
I was floored. “How did you remember,” I asked.
“Well, you were kind of nervous that night,” Tosca said, and his whole coaching staff burst out laughing. Then, he wished my daughter the best of luck.
I didn’t see Tosca again until a few years ago when covering a game in Washington. He was a coach with the visiting team. When we crossed paths in a locker room hallway, I told him how much I couldn’t believe that when they came back to town in 1996, he remembered what happened.
Tosca laughed and said he still remembered it and gave me a few details to prove it. He really did remember. .
Then, he smiled. “You look much calmer now,” he said.
Jeff Seidel is a Baltimore-based freelance writer.