Former Cincinnati Reds catcher Corky Miller has never been to Dayton, but he can’t wait to get there and begin his coaching career.
He played in Rockford, Ill., in 1999, the year before the franchise moved to Dayton. But he moved up to Double-A Chattanooga, Tenn., the next year. Still, he’s heard stories about sellouts and Fifth Third Field from others who played in Dayton on their way to the Reds.
“I’ve always wanted to go to Dayton because of the people there and the atmosphere,” Miller said Wednesday after being hired as a coach for the Dayton Dragons. “The Reds were at the top of my list.”
Miller will also serve as a catching instructor for the Reds’ other minor-league teams and travel to those teams at selected times during the season.
“It’s just talking to them about baseball, watching guys progress and just being able to talk with them about one or two things that help them to move forward,” said Miller, who also said he has been an unofficial player-coach the past five seasons with the Reds’ Triple-A team in Louisville, Ky.
Miller, 38, played 17 professional seasons including parts of 11 seasons in the majors, mostly with the Reds. He was put on the inactive list in May and spent the rest of the season as a roving catching instructor in the Reds’ minor-league system.
“I’d always thought that I’d stay in baseball, and other people thought that I’d be coaching a lot sooner than this,” Miller said. “I’ve been asked the past several years when am I going to start coaching.”
But Miller, who lives in Chicago, still loved to play. And he’s happy his wife has been able to bring his two sons, ages 10 and 7, to see him play in recent seasons whether with the Reds or at Triple-A Louisville.
“They kept giving me a job, and obviously you want to take that opportunity to get to the big leagues, especially when you have a chance for your family to see you play,” he said. “It’s going to come to a point where they ask you to stop, and it just never happened until this year.”
Miller is excited to be working with former Reds pitcher Tom Browning who will serve as the Dragons’ pitching coach.
“We both have different thoughts but basically the same philosophy,” Miller said. “He wants to learn a little bit more about the catching side, and I want to learn more about his pitching side. I love the way he coaches.”
With his days behind the plate behind him, Miller is thinking about where his new career will lead him.
“I’d like to move toward managing and hopefully one day be coaching in the big leagues,” he said. “That’s everybody’s dream, and I know that doesn’t happen a lot. You have to work hard and put the time in.”
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