Tom Vaeth, born July 13th, 1972 in Baltimore, Maryland, enters his 17th season in a coaching role with the Winnipeg Goldeyes.
In addition to serving as the team’s hitting coach, Vaeth has held various other roles on the staff, including first base coach, third base coach, batting practice pitcher, and bullpen catcher. Additionally, Vaeth plays a significant role each off-season assisting Rick Forney with player procurement.
Since Vaeth joined the staff in 2003, the Goldeyes’ offence has been among the most consistent in both the Northern League and American Association. Over the last 16 seasons, the Goldeyes have finished in the top-five in their league in batting average 13 times, and in the top-five in runs scored on 11 occasions. The Goldeyes have also sold the contracts of 19 position players to Major League organizations during this period.
In 2017, the Goldeyes enjoyed one of their finest offensive seasons on the way to winning a second consecutive American Association championship. Vaeth’s group led the league with a collective .296 batting average and ranked second in runs scored (607). Outfielder Josh Romanski and third baseman Wes Darvill represented the club at the American Association/Can-Am League All-Star Game in July, and were joined by designated hitter David Bergin and shortstop Andrew Sohn on the league’s Postseason All-Star team. First baseman Shawn Pleffner became the Goldeyes’ first batting champion in seven years after pacing the league with a .340 average. For the first time in team history, four players reached 70-plus RBI, including Romanski who was voted the American Association’s Player of the Year.
One year prior, the Goldeyes led the American Association with 594 runs scored while shattering the league’s single-season record with 462 walks (the previous record was 438). Two Goldeyes’ hitters were named to the American Association’s Postseason All-Star Team, including outfielder David Rohm who was MVP of the All-Star Game in August. During the off-season, Romanski’s contract was purchased by the Minnesota Twins.
In 2015, three Goldeyes hitters were voted American Association Postseason All-Stars. Third baseman Josh Mazzola paced the league with 20 home runs, first baseman Casey Haerther ranked third in the circuit with 79 RBI, and outfielder Adam Heisler finished third in the American Association with 44 stolen bases.
During the Goldeyes’ franchise-record, 63-win season in 2014, Vaeth helped Haerther and shortstop Tyler Kuhn each hit .360, tying for second in the American Association. The mark is also tied for the third-best single-season batting average in Goldeyes’ history. Following the season, Haerther’s contract was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles.
When the Goldeyes won the 2012 American Association championship, outfielder Chris Roberson earned All-Star honours, hitting .317 with 21 doubles, 11 home runs, 59 RBI, and 36 stolen bases.
The Goldeyes won 60 games (a franchise record at the time) in 2011, and were led offensively by five players who reached double digit home runs. Second baseman Price Kendall hit .324 and stole 22 bases en route to being voted the American Association’s Rookie of the Year.
Kevin West remains one of the most dangerous hitters in Goldeyes’ history. His three-year run with the team ended with a Northern League batting title in 2010 (.337 batting average). West was the first Goldeye to achieve the honour since Brian Duva in 1998. In fact, the Goldeyes had three players contend for the batting crown in 2010 with Juan Diaz finishing second (.335) and Wes Long placing sixth (.323).
Diaz cracked 29 home runs for the Goldeyes in 2009, which remains tied for the franchise single-season record to this day.
Outfielder Fehlandt Lentini is independent baseball’s all-time stolen base leader (478 stolen bases through the 2017 season), and had three consecutive years of 37 or more steals in a Goldeyes’ uniform from 2006-08. Lentini added 20 more steals when he returned to Winnipeg in 2013.
Brent Metheny had three all-star-calibre seasons for the Goldeyes from 2007-09. During the 2008 season, Metheny hit .356 with 10 home runs, 57 RBI, and tied a franchise record with a 27-game hitting streak.
Catcher Luis Alen first joined the Goldeyes in 2007, and hit .333 before having his contract purchased by the New York Mets. Alen came back to Winnipeg in 2010, and went on to set franchise career records in base hits, doubles, and RBI. Remarkably, Alen managed more walks than strikeouts in all seven of his seasons as a Goldeye.
Vaeth also coached Harry Berrios—one of the team’s greatest all-around hitters—during four of Berrios’ five years with the Goldeyes. Berrios hit .312 or better every year from 2003-06 with Vaeth on the staff.
One of Vaeth’s earliest success stories was third baseman Pat Scalabrini. After hitting .300 in 2003, the current manager of the Can-Am League’s Quebec Capitales batted .325 with 20 home runs for the Goldeyes in 2004, which earned Scalabrini a chance in the Orioles’ farm system.
Prior to arriving in Winnipeg, Vaeth worked five seasons in the Baltimore Orioles’ organization, and spent four years as a scout in the Greater Chesapeake Bay Area (with the Florida Marlins from 1994-96 and with the San Diego Padres from 1996-98). Vaeth also coached at the collegiate level, beginning at Dundalk Community College in 1993, and ending in 1998 with NCAA Division-I Towson University.
Over the past five seasons, Vaeth has worked with former Major League outfielder Reggie Abercrombie who has established American Association records for home runs (2016), RBI (2017), and base hits (2018) all while wearing a Goldeyes’ uniform.
After residing in Lorette, Manitoba for many years with his wife Shelley and their two sons Kaynen and Boedey, the Vaeth family recently moved to Ottawa, Ontario.
Tom Vaeth’s Professional Coaching Experience
2003 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Coach) – 502 R (2nd), .288 AVG (2nd)
2004 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Coach) – 522 R (4th), .283 AVG (4th)
2005 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Coach) – 476 R (8th), .284 AVG (5th)
2006 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Coach) – 481 R (3rd), .274 AVG (2nd)
2007 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Coach) – 568 R (4th), .294 AVG (3rd)
2008 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 506 R (5th), .281 AVG (5th)
2009 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 531 R (3rd), .277 AVG (3rd)
2010 Winnipeg Goldeyes, Northern League, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 526 R (3rd), .290 AVG (2nd)
2011 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 583 R (7th), .294 AVG (6th)
2012 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 519 R (8th), .285 AVG (T-7th)
2013 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 516 R (5th), .287 AVG (4th)
2014 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 547 R (3rd), .302 AVG (2nd)
2015 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 489 R (7th), .283 AVG (4th)
2016 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 594 R (1st), .283 AVG (3rd)
2017 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 607 R (2nd), .296 AVG (1st)
2018 Winnipeg Goldeyes, American Association, Ind. (Hitting Coach) – 468 R (7th), .267 AVG (9th)