HEISER: MLB odyssey leads York Catholic grad to Phils

Steve Heiser
  • Bryan Minniti is a 1998 graduate of York Catholic High School.
  • Minniti was recently hired as a special assistant to Phils' general manager Matt Klentak.
  • Minniti has been with four different Major League Baseball organizations.

Bryan Minniti's baseball odyssey is leading him closer to home.

And the 1998 York Catholic High School graduate couldn't be happier about it.

Bryan Minniti

Minniti was recently hired by the Philadelphia Phillies as a special assistant to general manager Matt Klentak.

It's the fourth Major League Baseball organization for which Minniti has worked.

While getting a degree in math and statistics at Pitt, Minniti was given an opportunity to work as an intern with the Pirates' organization.

That started him on an unexpected major league journey that also included stops with the Washington Nationals and Arizona Diamondbacks.

Now, Minniti is hoping he can play a pivotal role in resurrecting a franchise that dominated the Naitonal League East Division just a few years ago, but has fallen on hard times of late. The Phils haven't enjoyed a winning season since winning five straight NL East titles from from 2007 through 2011.

“I had a good gig in Arizona,” Minniti said. “I was given a nice opportunity to stay, but with the Phillies, I had the chance to be a little closer to home. My wife and my house are still in D.C. Plus, I get to work with guys in Philadelphia that I know, like and trust.”

Minniti's wife, Amy, is vice president and deputy general counsel for the Nats, so you can say they're a baseball family.

Working his way up: After the internship with the Pirates, Minniti eventually worked his way up to director of baseball operations in Pittsburgh. He then moved on to the Nationals from 2009 until 2014 as an assistant general manager before taking the same role in Arizona, working for general manager Dave Stewart and chief of baseball operations Tony La Russa.

Stewart, however, was fired Oct. 3 and La Russa was reportedly stripped of many of his duties.

That left Minniti in a bit of limbo.

He was given an opportunity to interview for the GM role in Arizona, but the team eventually hired Mike Hazen away from the Boston Red Sox.

Still, the 36-year-old Minniti was happy for the experience.

“That was my first interview (for a GM job),” Minniti said. “I thought it went great, but I had a sense they wanted someone from the outside, but from everything I heard it went great and that I made it a tougher choice. … I'd love to have the opportunity to do it (become a general manager) someday.”

Happy to be in Philly: Until that day arrives, however, Minniti says he'll be happy in his utility role with the Phillies, where he'll help Klentak and assistant general managers Scott Proefrock and Ned Rice in whatever tasks they ask him to do.

“He's a tremendous worker and a great baseball guy,” Klentak told the Philadelphia Inquirer about Minniti.

For his part, Minniti is thrilled to be in Philly.

“There's a bunch of good people here,” Minniti said. “It's a nice, natural fit. I feel pretty fortunate. I'm coming in at a good time. They've made a lot of tough decisions here over the last few years (getting rid of some veteran players) and we have a lot of prospects and talented young players. It's a pretty exciting time. We're aiming to get pretty good and stay pretty good for a long time.”

Not surprisingly, Minniti grew up playing baseball for York Catholic, as well as Shiloh's American Legion and Central League teams, mostly at first base. In his own words, however, Minniti “wasn't very good.”

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“I was a good enough player to become a good administrator,” he said.

World Series goal: His baseball administrative abilities have now led him back close to home and family. His parents still live in York County, as do a number of his friends from school.

And he's hoping to stay in the area for a while.

“I will be here (in Philadelphia) as long as they'll have me,” he said. “I want to be around to help win a World Series.”

Steve Heiser is sports editor of The York Dispatch. He can be reached at sheiser@yorkdispatch.com.