WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes are proud to announce the retirement of uniform number “22” in honour of former field manager Hal Lanier.
The official retirement ceremony will take place on Thursday, July 12th before the Goldeyes take on the Sioux Falls Canaries at Shaw Park. Earlier that afternoon, Lanier will be a featured guest at the Goldeyes’ 25th anniversary luncheon.
The number “22” has not been worn by any Goldeyes’ uniformed personnel since Lanier’s final year managing the club, and will be the fifth jersey number retired in franchise history (complete list of Goldeyes’ retired numbers below).
Lanier managed the Goldeyes for 10 seasons from 1996-2005, compiling an overall record of 523-361 (.592 winning percentage). The Denton, North Carolina native led the Goldeyes to nine winning seasons, eight playoff berths, and five trips to the Northern League Championship Series.
“Hal Lanier brought class and integrity to the Northern League,” said Goldeyes’ Owner/President Sam Katz. “The league originally told us we would never be able to land someone with Hal’s resume. Luckily, we didn’t listen to them, because Hal is one of the best things to have ever happened to the Goldeyes, and we are fortunate to have had someone of his stature leading our club.”
In addition to the wins and postseason appearances, Lanier helped recruit and mentor some of the greatest success stories in club history. Both Jeff Zimmerman and Brian Myrow began their professional careers under Lanier-led Goldeyes teams before climbing all the way to the Major Leagues. Lanier also provided career-lengthening opportunities for Jeff Sparks and Bobby Madritsch, which led to second chances in affiliated ball for both, and ultimately a path to baseball’s highest level. From the Goldeyes’ perspective, Lanier’s most impactful addition may have come in 1997 when he signed right-handed pitcher and current Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney.
“As we celebrate the Goldeyes’ 25th anniversary, it’s important that we remember the people who helped make the Goldeyes what they are today,” said Goldeyes’ general manager Andrew Collier. “Hal brought his knowledge and experience as a Major League player and manager to the Goldeyes, and helped cement the team as a mainstay in the Winnipeg sports scene. I am very pleased that we will be honouring someone that was an integral part of our success both on and off the field.”
The son of former Major League All-Star Max Lanier, Hal’s professional career started in 1961 after signing with the San Francisco Giants. The younger Lanier reached the Majors himself in just three seasons, and was named to the Topps All-Star Rookie Team in 1964 after hitting .274 for the Giants. Lanier enjoyed a 10-year playing career in the Majors with the Giants and New York Yankees, primarily as a shortstop and second baseman. Lanier collected 843 base hits at the Major League level, and compiled a lifetime .971 fielding percentage in 655 games at shortstop.
After retiring as a player in the late 1970’s, Lanier transitioned into a managerial role with the St. Louis Cardinals’ organization in 1977. Lanier skippered three winning seasons for St. Louis minor league affiliates before returning to the Majors in 1981 as the Cardinals’ third base coach. Lanier spent five years in this role under legendary manager Whitey Herzog, helping St. Louis to a World Series championship in 1982 and a return trip to the Fall Classic in 1985.
Lanier was then hired to manage the Houston Astros for the 1986 season. Houston finished 96-66, winning the National League West Division, and coming within two wins of reaching the World Series. The club featured National League Cy Young Award winner Mike Scott, as well as Hall of Famer and Major League Baseball’s all-time strikeout leader, Nolan Ryan. Lanier was voted National League Manager of the Year in 1986, and piloted the Astros for two more seasons.
Following his time in Winnipeg, Lanier has managed four other clubs at the independent level, including the Joliet Jackhammers (Northern League, 2006-07), Sussex Skyhawks (Can-Am League, 2008-09), Normal Cornbelters (Frontier League, 2010-11), and Ottawa Champions (Can-Am League, 2015-present). Lanier has led two clubs to Can-Am League championships, winning with Sussex in 2008 and again with Ottawa in 2016. The 75-year-old Lanier has also managed multiple all-star games, including last July when he and Forney served as managers for the Can-Am League and American Association respectively. Lanier, who now resides in Florida during the off-season, recently signed an extension with Ottawa and is heading into his fourth season with the Champions.
Details regarding the Goldeyes’ 25th anniversary luncheon on July 12th will be released in the near future.
Winnipeg Goldeyes Retired Numbers
5 – 2B Brian Duva (retired 2001)
6 – SS Max Poulin (retired 2011)
21 – RHP Donnie Smith (retired 2009)
22 – MGR Hal Lanier (retired 2018)
31 – RHP Andrew “Ace” Walker (retired 2015)