The Bridgeport Bluefish, Connecticut’s sole independent minor league baseball team, reached into their past to play a major role on their coaching staff. Pat Ahearne, who was a key member of the Bluefish starting rotation for five seasons was named Bridgeport’s 2013 pitching coach on Thursday.
One of the original Bluefish in 1998, Ahearne had his best season the following year, going 6-0 with a 2.53 ERA before being signed by the Seattle Mariners organization and being assigned to New Haven. Over the next three seasons, the San Francisco native pitched in the Seattle, Florida and Detroit systems, rising to the AAA level with all three, before returning to the ’Fish in 2002. After getting off to a 5-2 start with a sterling 2.17 ERA, Detroit signed Ahearne once more and assigned him to AAA Toledo, where the righty went 5-4 with a solid 3.15 ERA.
Ahearne pitched the next two seasons in the Detroit system, primarily at the AAA level, before returning to the Bluefish in 2005, when he went 8-10 with a 4.51 ERA. In 2006 he played for the Long Island Ducks before returning to the Park City in 2007. The 6-3, 195-lb. righty finished his professional career in the Australian Baseball League where he went 0-2 for the Adelaide Bite.
Ahearne joins manager Willie Upshaw’s staff with plenty of coaching experience, having spent the past four seasons as the pitching coach for the Czech National Baseball Team. He was also player/coach for Draci of the Czech Baseball Extraliga from 2009-11.
Last year, Ahearne was named one of the top 15 Bluefish players of all-time during Bridgeport’s 15th Anniversary season. One of the most durable starting pitchers in the history of the franchise, he is also the only player to have two separate Major League organizations purchase his rights from the ‘Fish during two separate years.
Drafted in 1992 by the Marlins, Ahearne made it to the major leagues in 1995 when he appeared in four games for the Detroit Tigers. Over the course of his Bluefish career, Ahearne has 21 wins, a 3.52 ERA, six complete games and three shutouts on his resume.
“We are very pleased to have Pat back in a Bluefish uniform,” says Bluefish general manager Ken Shepard. “He brings an incredible work ethic to the ballclub and the organization is excited about teaming him with manager Willie Upshaw for the 2013 season. Having a full time pitching coach fulfills a key missing ingredient for our club.”
The Bluefish, charter members of the Atlantic League, the nation’s top independent minor league circuit, will play home exhibition games with the Milford Hunters of the Bridgeport Senior City League on April 12 and the Long Island Ducks on April 14. After opening the regular season with a seven-game road trip against the York (Pa.) Revolution and Camden (NJ) Riversharks, the ’Fish return to the Ballpark at Harbor Yard to open their 16th season in the Park City on Friday night, April 26, against the Revs. Season tickets and ticket plans for the 2013 season are now available. For more information, call 203-345-4800 or visit www.bridgeportbluefish.com.