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Sunday, May 29, 2011
Tom LeVasseur, Came to Play – 520
Both prompted praise from his manager Rob Picciolo, according to The Spokane Chronicle.
“He’s been so consistent physically and as far as emotional leadership on the team goes,” Picciolo told The Chronicle. “Every day he comes to play. He performs well every day. I’ll take him as far as any shortstop in the league.”
LeVasseur came to play for six professional seasons, but he never was able to come to play in the majors. He got as high as AAA with San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners Organizations, and he also got to play in Italy, but he never got to play in the bigs.
LeVasseur did go on to teach those qualities to younger players, as both a coach and manager in the minors.
LeVasseur’s professional career began that year in 1986, selected by the Padres in the 8th round of the draft out of San Diego State University.
With San Diego State that May, LeVasseur helped the Aztecs to a 2-1 win over Hawaii with a sacrifice fly.
“I didn’t want to pull the trigger until I got something I could hit in the air,” LeVasseur told The Los Angeles Times after that Aztec win. “As soon as I hit it, I knew it was deep enough.”
LeVasseur spent his first professional year at short-season Spokane. There, he hit .372 in 53 games, including that 15-game hitting streak. That was despite being out three weeks with a finger injury.
He moved to single-A Reno for 1987, hitting 3.275 with 48 RBI. He stayed at single-A Riverside for 1988, then moved to AA Wichita for 1989. At Wichita, LeVasseur hit .270.
But, with a move to AAA Las Vegas in 1990, that average plummeted to .218. It was his last year in affiliated ball until 1994. In the meantime, he played in Italy.
He returned with the Mariners in 1994, playing at AAA Calgary and coaching, The Times wrote. For 1995, he was managing in the Arizona Rookie League. It was starting at the bottom for LeVasseur.
“This is the heart of the game,” LeVasseur told The Times of his first managerial gig. “There are no fundamentals here. Anyone who had a command of the fundamentals wouldn’t be here.”
LeVasseur managed two years in the rookie league, two more at single-A Clinton, then two at high-A Rancho Cucamonga (Padres). He’s also spent time as a scout.
- Los Angeles Times, May 10, 1986: SDSU Beats Hawaii, 2-1, in the Ninth
- Spokane Chronicle, Aug. 27, 1986: Tribe stages home finale, Part 2
- Los Angeles Times, July 28, 1995: Management Decision
Rob has 20 years coaching experience at the High School and JUCO Levels. Rob is currently assistant coach at Ventura College. He has coached over 20 professional players. Rob has instructed at dozens of baseball camps and clinics for over 13 years. Rob has coached at the college level for 13 years. He has been a high school head coach and coached against international teams.
Current Ventura College Coach – 12 years of instructing pitchers and infielders.
Bierly has worked as the infield instructor, pitching coach and outfield coach at various times during his career at Ventura College.
During his 11 years at Ventura College he has been part of three SoCal Regional Playoff teams and helped lead the Pirates to the 2006 Western State Conference North Division championship.
Prior to his coaching career at Ventura College, Bierly served as the head junior varsity coach at Ventura High School from 1999-2002 and the head assistant varsity coach with the Cougars in 2003.
Additionally, Bierly has served as the assistant coach on several scout teams in Southern California and the Ventura Legion Post 339 teams in 1999-2000-01. He was an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds under former area scout and Pirate legend Tom LeVasseur from 2001-2003.
Coach Bierly is a former Allstate Insurance Agent who built his own highly successful business prior to his decision to sell and retire in 2012.
Bierly’s two sons are former college baseball players. His older son J.R. Bierly played at Ventura College and Hill College before to finishing his career at San Francisco State University. His youngest son Jon Bierly was a pitcher at California State University Northridge and finished his career at San Francisco State University.