The Buffalo Bisons have a new manager and he is not an unfamiliar figure. The club also made history with the hiring.
Bobby Meacham, who was formally introduced by the team Tuesday, is the Bisons' first African American manager. With 27 years of experience coaching baseball, Meacham joins the club from within the Toronto Blue Jays' minor league system.
He spent the past three seasons managing the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the Blue Jays' Class Double-A affiliate. While addressing the media, Blue Jays Minor League Operations Director Charlie Wilson praised Meacham's track record in baseball.
"Bobby brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to his appointment here," Wilson said. "Following his playing career, he began coaching professionally in 1991 and over the past 26 years, he's held several positions. He's served as a minor league coach, a minor league manager, a minor league instructor. He's also coached at the major league level."
Meacham also previously spent a season with the Bisons as a player. It was during the 1989 season, the team's second season in what is now Coca Cola Field. New York Yankees fans remember the former infielder from his six seasons in Major League Baseball.
Meacham said he is ready for his new challenge.
"Last couple of days I've been walking around, get my juices flowing again about managing, especially at this level," he said, "I'm looking forward to helping guys get through this level on the way up and also helping them regroup when they get back down to this level to get their way back up to help the big club, Toronto Blue Jays, and hopefully bring a championship to that team up there."
He told the news conference some of his Fisher Cats players are likely to be on the field for the Bisons starting April 6, 2017, but the overall roster is not yet set. Meacham wants to get young players ready for the computer data used more and more in baseball, what are called analytics.
"If I can get these guys to learn how to exploit it offensively and send them up there, we're a better big league club," Meacham said. "If I can take situations defensively and work with our guys here at this level in the minor leagues, in Triple A, and send them up with a wealth of experience of using the shift and things of that nature that they're using up there with the experiences that some teams don't bring to that table up there, then they're already ready and equipped to run with what we do with analytics up there at the big league level."