Two former York Revolution players have signed contracts with the Pittsburgh Pirates to coach in their organization next season. Atlantic League playoffs MVP Vince Harrison and Keoni DeRenne (Revs 2007-09) inked deals with the Pirates.
For administrative purposes, organizations will sign individuals as player/coaches in order to get them into their systems in the fall. So while Baseball America reported the two men had been signed as players, both confirmed they expect to coach full-time next season.
Harrison, 31, batted .529 (18-for-34) in nine playoff games for the Revs this postseason, leading York to its second consecutive league championship. The older brother of Pirates infielder Josh Harrision, Vince last played in affiliated baseball for the Marlins and Mets organizations in 2007.
Harrison was moved to tears as he walked off the field to hug his family following the Revs’ title-clinching Game 4 of the 2011 league championship series. That happened on a Monday. Two days later, the Pirates contacted him. By Thursday, he had agreed to terms.
“For me, it was tough to accept (my playing career was over),” Harrison said before laughing. “I didn’t think (a coaching opening) would happen two days later.”
It was a crazy week for Harrison. He played his final game and attempted to drive home. His cell phone no longer worked, however. Unable to call his wife or use the GPS on his phone, Harrison joked that he had to “Mapquest my way back.” Fortunately, he had directed his agent to negotiate with teams. So he didn’t miss out on an opportunity to land a coaching job because of a broken phone.
Harrison spent several weeks in Florida for the Pirates instructional league, a place where his younger brother also attended in order to prepare for a possible move to shortstop.
“I got to meet the right people,” said Harrison, who went to dinner with Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. “That was cool.”
DeRenne, 32, last played in affiliated baseball in 2010, moved all through the Philadelphia Phillies system from Low-A through Triple-A. His great grandfather, Wilbur Cooper, pitched for the Pirates from 1912 through 1924 — posting four 20-win seasons.
A Hawaiian native, DeRenne was unable to talk Wednesday but confirmed through text messaging that he would coach with the Pirates organization next season.