Following a decade with Joe Girardi at the helm, the New York Yankees will move into 2018 with a new manager. One name being bandied about among the many is Hensley “Bam Bam” Meulens. In this space, BronxPinstripes.com takes a look at “Bam Bam” back in pinstripes.
Although “Bam Bam” doesn’t have any major-league managing experience, he has managed and coached in different capacities at various levels. If he were to remain with the San Francisco Giants, Meulens would move to Bruce Bochy’s bench coach, after serving as hitting coach since 2010. While coaching for the Giants, Meulens also managed the Netherlands team during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Prior to this, he was a coach on the Netherlands staff during the 2009 World Baseball Classic. Plus, Meulens was a coach at the 2003 European Baseball Championship, Baseball World Cup, and the 2004 Olympics. At the minor-league level, Meulens was hitting coach with the Fresno Grizzlies in 2009, Indianapolis Indians from 2005 to 2008 and Bluefield Orioles from 2003 to 2004.
Bam Bam knows the “Yankee way” and what it means to be a heralded hitting prospect coming up through the farm system. Meulens signed as an amateur free agent in 1985. A member of the International League Hall of Fame, the former third baseman earned an MVP award with the Columbus Clippers in 1990 and won the Triple-A home run title in 1992, helping the Clippers to a Governors’ Cup title. Playing under manager Buck Showalter, Bam Bam helped the Double-A Albany-Colonie Yankees to an Eastern League championship in 1989. Meulens was also the Carolina League Player of the Year for the Prince William Yankees in 1987.
Meulens played parts of five seasons with New York, splitting time between third base and left field from 1989 to 1993.
Meulens is lauded as a great communicator. Bam Bam can speak five languages, including English, Spanish, Japanese, Dutch, and Papiamento. He managed Didi Gregorius on the Netherlands team during the World Baseball Classic. Connecting with young players with superstar profiles, especially on a language and cultural level is key, be it Gary Sanchez, Luis Severino, Starlin Castro, Gleyber Torres, Aroldis Chapman, Masahiro Tanaka or possibly Shohei Ohtani. Playing/coaching under guys like Dallas Green, Showalter, Felipe Alou and Bruce Bochy, can’t hurt as influences either.
Meulens is a guy who can connect with his players on a human level. He has a winning pedigree, coming up through the Yankees system with the likes of Bernie Williams, Roberto Kelly, Gerald Williams, Andy Stankiewicz, Jim Leyritz, Pat Kelly, etc. Even coaching 3,000 miles away with the Giants, there’s a winning culture with former Yankees organizational guys like Brian Sabean, Dave Righetti and Roberto Kelly in the fold. Meulens knows the pressure of being a top prospect in the pressure cooker of New York, especially during the George Steinbrenner era when there was no patience for failure. He definitely seems like a guy who likes to be involved and hands-on with his players.