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California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

California State University East Bay

The Pioneer

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Former Giant to Become Assistant Coach

Gold Glove award winner ready to take the reigns as assistant coach.

In the words of Darren Lewis, growth involves taking two steps forward and one step back.

The CSU East Bay baseball team is prepared to take their two steps forward with a new coaching staff, in which former major league baseball player and gold glove award winner Darren Lewis will take the reigns as assistant coach for the Pioneers.

Born in Berkeley and a local product of Union City and Hayward, Lewis played 13 years in the majors after being drafted in the 18th round of the Major League Baseball draft by his favorite childhood team, the Oakland Athletics in 1988.

He went on to make his major league debut on Aug. 21, 1990 against the Chicago White Sox, going 2-for-2.

That very year, Lewis and the Oakland A’s would make it to the World Series, however, they were defeated by the Cincinnati Reds.

After the conclusion of the 1990 season, Lewis was traded to the San Francisco Giants where he played for five seasons and began to establish himself as an everyday centerfielder.

It was with the Giants where Lewis began to be recognized as a defensive threat with speed.

In 1993, Lewis ranked fourth in the National League with his career-high 46 stolen bases and continued his career-long errorless streak, finishing the season at 333 consecutive games without an error, dating back to his major league debut.

Lewis still holds the major league record for consecutive games without an error in the outfield at 392 games.

Though the 1994 season was short-lived due to a strike, Lewis was awarded the Rawlings Gold Glove award while leading the National League in triples, finishing fifth in the league in stolen bases with 30 and ranking 16th in the National League in runs with 70.

“I enjoyed my time with the Giants the most because this is where I made a name for myself as an everyday player in an area I grew up in,” said Lewis. “I had some good years here and it’s where I won my Gold Glove. I was able to do it in front of my family and friends. It was a special time that I still have fond memories of today. It was a privilege to wear the orange and black.”

After giving the Giants five solid years, Lewis was traded to the Cincinnati Reds in the summer of 1995.

Lewis would go on to play for the Chicago White Sox, Los Angeles Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and finished up his playing career with the Chicago Cubs in 2002.

In his first season with Boston in 1998, Lewis was given the team’s Unsung Hero award as voted by the Red Sox fans.

Lewis finished his playing career in 2002 with a .250 lifetime batting average, with 1,000 hits, a .994 fielding percentage and 247 stolen bases.

“My time in the big leagues was unbelievable. I was able do something I dreamed about as a kid,” said Lewis.

“I played in some great cities for the majority of my career. I can go to any one of them today and find my way around town. I had the privilege to play with some of the games greats like Ricky Henderson, Dave Stewart, Willie McGee, Barry Bonds, Darrell Strawberry, Royce Clayton, Barry Larkin, Pedro Martinez, Nomar Garciaparra, and many more. It was incredible fun,” continued Lewis.

Over the course of his playing career, Lewis also had the advantage of working with and learning from notable and accomplished MLB managers Tony LaRussa, Roger Craig, Dusty Baker, Davey Johnson, Don Baylor and Jimy Williams.

Lewis created such an impact in the life of Dusty Baker, current manager of the Cincinnati Reds and long-time manager of the San Francisco Giants, that Baker named his first son Darren after him.

“Baseball is a great teacher of life lessons. It really is a microcosm of society,” said Lewis. “Once you think you have the game mastered or that you are above the game, it will bite you.

“As a player, it’s vital that you remain confident but humble and keep working on becoming a better player. The one challenge I had was dealing with the lifestyle that comes with being a MLB player,” explained Lewis. “A lot of people want your time and attention. It forced me to prioritize my time and figure out who was important in my life. At the same time, the spotlight gave me the opportunity to give back and help different charities.”

Before his major league fame came into fruition, Lewis attended Moreau Catholic High School in Hayward where he graduated in 1985.

After high school, he played two seasons at Chabot College before transferring to Cal Berkeley, where he was a member of the 1988 Golden Bears team that advanced to the College World Series prior to being drafted and signing with the A’s.

Lewis was a member of the inaugural induction class into the Moreau High School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2001 and is also a member of Chabot College’s Hall of Fame.

Lewis joins the Pioneer staff with the also newly acquired head coach, Bob Ralston, after spending the last four years as a baseball coach at Dougherty Valley High School in San Ramon.

“I am extremely excited to have the opportunity to work under Coach Ralston, said Lewis. “He has a lot of experience in coaching. He’s coached at the high school, college and pro levels, so I look forward to learning new things from him, especially on infield play and baseball strategy.”

Lewis understands that with a new team to take under his wing, it’s pivotal to pass down his past experiences to the athletes he will be coaching in the spring season.

“I was a very hard worker as a player so I will bring a work ethic, energy and a passion for the game, “said Lewis.

“Coach Ralston and I understand all the little things it takes to win. I played on winning teams most of my career. The great opportunity about this job is having the chance to build a winner and to create a legacy of Pioneer baseball pride and it’s awesome to contribute to the community that I grew up in.”

Lewis currently resides in the Bay Area where he spends his free time with his family in their yard, playing golf, fishing, traveling, or even just reading a book.

Although it has been nine years since he’s played in the big leagues, Lewis still relives the experiences he’s had and lessons he’s learned.

Excited to join the CSUEB team, Lewis has a simple message to the Pioneers: “Let’s go to work.”

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Former Giant to Become Assistant Coach