We are reader supported. When you purchase through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Also, as an Amazon affiliate, we earn from qualifying purchases.
A professional baseball organization will have several coaches who help the manager run the team. This includes the pitching coach, the hitting coach, and the bench coach.
While it is quite apparent what the hitting and pitching coaches’ responsibilities are, it is less clear what the bench coach does. So, what exactly does a bench coach do in baseball?
The bench coach is the manager’s second-in-command. This coach serves as the right-hand man to the manager, and helps the manager make decisions throughout the game. If the manager is unable to fulfill their duties for whatever reason, it is typically the bench coach who will temporarily fill in.
The bench coach does not have one specific job, but instead provides the manager with help and advice in all aspects of the game. In this way, the bench coach is almost like the assistant manager.
It is often the bench coach’s responsibility to organize practice routines for the team, both during Spring Training and ahead of games in the regular season. Sometimes, bench coaches are also tasked with facilitating communication between players and the front office.
What Are a Bench Coach’s Responsibilities?
The duties and responsibilities of a bench coach can differ greatly depending on the team and the manager they are working for.
While the only official responsibility of a bench coach is to fill in for the manager when necessary, that does not mean the bench coach does not have other jobs to do. In fact, bench coaches can be some of the busiest people on a baseball team.
Some bench coaches are primarily tasked with advising and supporting the manager, especially when the manager is less experienced. Other bench coaches, however, are given many of their own responsibilities in addition to being the manager’s second-in-command.
These responsibilities can include researching other teams ahead of games; preparing game plans for the team; creating schedules for practice and training; facilitating communication between players, managers, other coaches, and the front office; and much more.
The bench coach must also always be prepared to take over from the manager at a moment’s notice. In essence, this means a good bench coach must have a very thorough understanding of the manager’s game plan and strategies so they can run the team just like how the manager would even if the manager is not there.
When Does a Bench Coach Take Over the Manager’s Responsibilities?
The bench coach will typically take over the manager’s responsibilities if — for any reason — the manager is unable to perform their managerial duties.
The most common reason a bench coach will take over is if the manager is ejected. Managers can be ejected for arguing with umpires, and sometimes even for arguing with players or coaches from the opposing team. When a manager is ejected, they must leave the field area and the dugout immediately and they cannot communicate with players or the coaching staff for the rest of the game.
The bench coach will also fill in for the manager if the manager is suspended. A manager might be suspended for a few games after a particularly inflammatory argument or an act of on-field violence.
A manager might also miss time for illness, parental leave, bereavement or other personal matters. It is rare for a manager to miss games, but it does happen. Therefore, it is important to have a bench coach the manager trusts to run the team.
How Much Does a Bench Coach Make?
Bench coach salaries aren’t as widely reported as manager salaries, and they certainly aren’t as widely reported as player salaries. However, according to the trusted baseball website FanGraphs, the average major league bench coach made between $150,000 and $250,000 as of 2015. It is likely that figure has gone up a little bit in recent years, but a bench coach’s salary is probably still close to that range.
A highly sought-after bench coach might earn more than $250,00, but not much more. After all, if a bench coach is so highly sought-after, that bench coach would probably be better off becoming a manager. If they do not want to become a manager, there’s a good chance they are not so interested in the money anyway.
Where Does the Name “Bench Coach” Come From?
The term “bench coach” originated in college baseball in the very early twentieth century. It referred, quite literally, to a coach who joined the players on the bench.
Before George Huff became the first bench coach in 1905, the only college baseball coaches who joined the team on the field throughout the entire season were player-coaches (coaches who were also players on the team). Otherwise, a coach’s job was simply to train the players ahead of the season.
These days however, there are many coaches who join the players on the bench, and the bench coach isn’t even the most important one. Nevertheless, the name stuck, and there are still bench coaches in baseball today.
How Many Coaches Does a Baseball Team Have?
There is no maximum number of coaches an MLB team has, but every team has at least a manager, a bench coach, a pitching coach, a hitting coach, and a bullpen coach. Some teams also have an infield coach, a catching coach, and/or a quality control coach.
Most teams also have at least one assistant hitting coach and assistant pitching coach, and perhaps other assistant coaches as well.
Who Is The Most Important Coach on a Baseball Team?
The most important coach on a baseball team is the manager. The manager is in charge of the entire coaching staff, and makes all the final on-field decisions. Often, the manager plays a major role in hiring the rest of the coaches.
After the manager, the pitching coach is usually considered the most important coach on a baseball team. The pitching coach has a huge influence over the team’s pitchers and usually comes onto the field a few times per game to talk strategy with the pitcher and catcher. Pitching coaches are some of the highest paid coaches in baseball.
Hitting coaches are also well paid, and they can also have a great deal of influence on the team. Bench coaches are quite important too, as they might be asked to step in to replace the manager at any time.
What Does a Bench Player Do in Baseball?
The term “bench player” refers to those players on a baseball team who are not regularly in the starting lineup. Bench players are eligible to come into the game as substitutions, but they usually start most games sitting on the bench — thus, the name “bench player.”
Sometimes, players who are typically in the starting lineup will get a day off and a bench player will start in their place.
The term “bench player” usually only refers to hitters, not pitchers. Pitchers who do not start games are instead referred to as “relievers” or “bullpen pitchers”.
While the pitching coach specifically works with pitchers and the hitting coach specifically works with hitters, the bench coach does not specifically work with bench players. The bench coach, like the manager, works with all players equally.
Why Are Baseball Coaches Called Managers?
What is The 3rd Batter in A Baseball Lineup Called?
Do Little League Coaches Get Paid?
Can MLB Teams Trade Draft Picks?