The Horse-and-Buggy manager looking to set new trends

By
Updated: January 31, 2016

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The Cajun Chronicles
Tim Kersey
February 16th 2023
New Orleans, Louisiana

“Do you remember George Whiteman? Outfielder for the Red Sox?”

As I ask my question to reporter Scott Plack, my trivia-loving, stout-drinking, pub-stool-occupying journalist friend, I receive a blank stare.

“…of course you don’t!”, I reply, “you also remember the motorized vehicle! Plus he played long before our league has been around. You’d have to dig up a dusty MLB book to even find him.”

I enjoy toying with the youngeons like Scott at the pub as much as anyone, but this obscure backup outfielder for the 1918 Red Sox (who only played on the days the Bambino pitched) actually has a New Orleans connection: he is the great-great-grandfather of the Trendsetters’ new Manager.

Mike Whiteman has been brought in to lead the team in 2023. Like his ancestor, he is relatively obscure; he will be making his big-league managing debut when the team starts the season.

Scott, slightly concerned about the fact that he has no knowledge about the Setters’ new manager, asks “so, he is obscure, has no major-league track record, where has he been all this time? Surely he did something, somewhere, I assume?”

“Well, he has done something” I repled, taking another gulp of beer, “See, he is apparently a bit of an unusual case, and a nurturer of young talent”.

Mike Whiteman spent a large portion of his baseball career off the traditional radar. He spent several years as a bit of a baseball nomad. For years he travelled the globe, managing in countless leagues, but mostly searching for talent in non-baseball countries, such as Russia, Morocco and Sierra Leone, hopeing to convert talented athletes from other disciplines to baseball.

He was manager of Sierra Leone’s brand new national team for several years, converting several football (soccer) players to the sport. The athletes were generally quick runners, with quick reflexes, and a relatively thin physique. Therefore, his management style adjusted accordingly, and has been one to place a prime importance on speed, baserunning, speed, defense and speed.

This was one of the reasons he attracted the attention of Trendsetters’ GM Reg LeBlanc, who has been progressively moving the team away from it’s image as a team full of sluggers.

Whiteman’s work with the national team kick-started the career of Sierra Leone’s first PEBA player: Rami Makini, who worked his way through the minors (including a stint in New Orleans’ system) and appeared in 6 games for West Virginia at the top level last season. Long before he turned pro, he was a teen-aged pitcher on Sierra Leone’s national team.

Considering New Orleans is a team in need of that same kind of nurturing and careful handling of up-and-coming prospects, he seemed like a logical (if maybe unexpected) fit for the job.

His philosophy on baseball is in line with what the Trendsetters are evolving into, and interestingly enough, it is also a throwback to the horse-and-buggy days of the sport.

A throwback to the days of great-great-grandfather George.