ARLINGTON—Trent Jewett never reached the big leagues as a player, but the Dallas native has realized his Major League dream in a different way, as a coach in the show.
A product of Carrollton RL Turner High School and North Texas, Jewett is in his second year as bench coach for the Seattle Mariners after previously coaching with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Washington Nationals. As a player, Jewett spent four seasons in the Pirates organization before transitioning into coaching after the 1990 season.
“Well, when the reality hits you that you’re not good enough as a player to play in the big leagues, it’s a difficult thing to reckon with. However, I was fortunate and got into the coaching aspect of it, had opportunities come about,” Jewett said. “It didn’t happen quickly but it’s rewarding and at the same time, it’s challenging, so it’s the best of both worlds.”
Between 1992 and 2010, he won 1,178 games as a minor-league manager. As he looks back, he realizes his time at RL Turner helped lay the foundation for the success he would experience as a skipper and coach.
“When I was there, we had a good baseball program. The head coach went on to be the head coach at Rice and there were a lot of good players who came from that program,” Jewett recalled. “It was a prideful situation there with the ballclub. It was a team that was year in and year out pretty good. I think it was a huge stepping stone in my career to learn the finer points of the game at an early age. It was a good thing.”
Jewett describes his job as a bench coach in rather succinct terms, saying that his primary responsibility is to reinforce the manager’s message and ensure all the minute details of that approach are carried out exactly the way the manager wants.
In Seattle, he is working with good friend Lloyd McClendon, currently in his second season managing the Mariners. Jewett previously worked under McClendon in Pittsburgh in 2001 and 2002 when McClendon was managing the Pirates.
And it’s safe to say he’s ecstatic to be working with him once again.
“Well, it’s a tremendous relationship. It’s like two brothers. We can hang out and have fun and we can hang out and argue. I think it’s a very healthy relationship,” Jewett said. “I hope we’re both able to learn from one another. I think he’s done a tremendous job and has a great feel for the game. I’m fortunate to have the relationship with him that I do.”
He even served as Seattle’s interim manager for several games in 2014, filling in while McClendon was away to attend a wedding, an experience he calls unique.
“It’s nice to come home, see the family in an area that you’re familiar with, sleep in your own bed and those type of things,” Jewett said about returning to the Metroplex. “It’s just comforting. It was the other ballpark that I came to as a kid and saw a lot of baseball. But it’s neat to come back into your familiar territory.”