Coach Ed Nottle
Aug 22, 2011Courtesy of Society for American Baseball Research
By Paul Edwards
On July 10, 2011, Ed Nottle came out of retirement to serve as an assistant coach with the Brockton Rox. Nottle’s return to coaching marked his 51st year in professional baseball as a player, manager or coach. While his wife, Patty, and his family were all happy to have him home for the first summer in 50 years, Nottle eagerly welcomed the opportunity to get back on to the field and to be back working in the game that he loves.
Nottle explains that once he broke into professional baseball, back in 1960, he “vowed” to make the game his life’s work. At 71 years of age, even with a collection of surgical scars from a long minor league pitching career, Nottle shows no sign of slowing down. To Nottle, the baseball field is the fountain of youth. On any given day, he can be found pitching batting practice, conducting infield practice or offering advice to players and fellow coaches.
In 1993, this former International League Manager of the Year and Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year found himself out of work, at the age of 52. Then Nottle learned of Miles Wolff’s up-start independent baseball venture, the Northern League. Nottle was immediately impressed with the Northern League.
“The level of play was sensational,” he said, “and the amount of talent was sensational.” Although the pay left a little to be desired, he was happy to be working in pro ball and to be involved with independent baseball.
Nineteen years later, Nottle still enjoys the independent baseball culture. While Nottle’s counterparts are concerned with player development or what is best for the parent club, Nottle proudly states that “we are here just to win for Brockton,” and that is the way Nottle wants it to be.
As a coach, Nottle knows “managers and coaches don’t win ball games. (However), you can create an atmosphere where good players are playing up to their potential and then what’s the result? You start winning.”
Since Nottle has returned to Brockton, that is just what the Rox have done. Prior to his return, the Rox were struggling with a win-loss mark of 21-19. With Nottle back, the Rox have stormed back into playoff contention with a .700 winning percentage since July 10.
“The minor leagues is 90 percent disappointment; you have to learn to treasure those 10 percents,” he said. “You gotta do everything you can to make it so you look forward to coming to the ball park every day.”
Since Ed Nottle has returned to Brockton, that is how the fans feel, as well.
Whether it is his ever-present smile or his pleasant conversations with fans, Nottle’s personality is a hit with both players and fans alike. Next season Nottle hopes to return to Brockton — or to any other team that needs his services.
At 72, he realizes some might say, “What the hell is he doing here?” As Nottle puts it, “I’ll tell you what I’m doing here, I’m outworking everyone you got.”
Paul Edwards is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research. Learn more by visiting http://sabr.org.