By Walter Bird
The Pawtucket Red Sox aren’t set to move to Worcester until 2021. Locally, some may have been rooting for Worcester native Rich Gedman, currently the team’s hitting coach, to take the reins as manager by then. And when former manager Kevin Boles left after the 2018 season, hopes for Gedman taking the job may have been buoyed.
Alas, that will have to wait.
On Friday, the PawSox announced former Boston Red Sox Double-A affiliate Portland Sea Dogs skipper Billy McMillon as the 17th manager in team history — and fifth in six years. He now will helm the Red Sox’ top minor league team, which has two more seasons in Pawtucket before moving north up Route 146 to start playing in Worcester in 2021.
Gedman is expected to remain as hitting coach, according to a PawSox spokesperson.
In McMillon, the team has its second minority manager in history. Gary Jones managed the team from 1999-2001.
McMillon served as the Red Sox’ minor league outfield and baserunning coordinator the past three seasons, after a six-year sting as manager for various teams throughout the organization.
He has spent 11 seasons in the Red Sox organization, starting out as hitting coach for the low-A Greenville Drive in 2008 and 2009. He managed the team in 2010 and 2011, moving on to the high-A Salem Red Sox in 2012 and 2013, before managing Portland in 2014 and 2015.
McMillon played professional baseball for 12 years, spending parts of six seasons in the majors with the Florida Marlins (1996-97), Philadelphie Phillies (1997), Detroit Tigers (2000-01) and Oakland Athletics (2001-04).
In 2003, he had six home runs in 66 games for the A’s, appearing in three games during the American League Division Series against the Red Sox. Boston won the series, 3-2.
As manager of the Drive in 2010, McMillon led them to the South Atlantic League Championship Series, where they lost to Lakewood in four games. Current Red Sox player Christian Vazquez served as McMillon’s regular catcher on the team.
With Salem in 2012, McMillon managed Vazquez and other now recognizable Red Sox players, including shortstop Xander Bogaerts, first baseman Travis Shaw, center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr., and pitchers Matt Barnes and Brandon Workman.
In 2013, McMillon led Salem to the Mills Cup Championship, its first since 2001. That squad featured a certain future MLB MVP in Mookie Betts.
Overall, McMillon, a native of Otero, New Mexico, who now resides in Columbia, South Carolina, sports a 440-400 record as a minor league manager.
Past PawSox managers include Darrell Johnson (1973), Joe Morgan (1974-82), Tony Torchia (1983-84), Rac Slider (1985), Ed Nottle (1986-90), Johnny Pesky (1990), Butch Hobson (1991), Rico Petrocelli (1992), Buddy Bailey (1993-96, 2002-04), Ken Macha (1997-98), Gary Jones (1999-2001), Ron Johnson (2005-2009), Torey Lovullo (2010), Arnie Beyeler (2011-12), Gary DiSarcina (2013) and Kevin Boles (2014-2018).