Jack McDowell has spent the past few seasons as a high school baseball coach in San Diego. But now the former White Sox great wants to get more involved.
McDowell, who won the American League Cy Young award with the White Sox in 1993 a season after he finished second, made the rounds at the winter meetings earlier this month. He said he had informal talks to see what kind of future he might have as either a baseball television analyst or as a coach.
“There’s two things we can do if you want to stay in the game -- one is talk about it and one is coach it and I’m kind of in between,” McDowell said. “Just kind of putting feelers out to see what I might like to do. I think I can be successful at both of them, it just depends.”
McDowell -- the fifth overall pick of the 1987 amateur draft who went 91-58 with a 3.50 ERA in 191 career starts for the Sox -- realized he still wanted to be involved with baseball after he helped out his local team. What began as a side project quickly morphed into a job as the head baseball coach at San Dieguito Academy (Encinitas, Calif.) as McDowell found himself more invested than he first believed he might be.
“What I learned about myself was that I’m a baseball geek,” McDowell said. “That’s all we thought about 24-7 was our little high school team.”
McDowell, 47, moved to Charlotte, N.C. earlier this year.
Now that he’s on the East Coast he’s hopeful to get further back into baseball whether it’s television or coaching.
McDowell doesn’t think a transition into TV would be difficult. He did some work with Harold Reynolds on MLB.com before MLB Network began but said he wasn’t yet ready to move out of Southern California.
McDowell had a chance to join the MLB Network crew on air for a segment at the winter meetings in Orlando, Fla.
“It’s nice,” McDowell said. “I wanted to get a little on-air just to see what happens. It’s easy, especially with the way (MLB has) designed it because you’ve got all players and all they’re doing is talking ball and breaking it down and talking about things we’d talk about in the dugout or before and after games. It’s not just people trying to rip people ‘This guy’s having a horrible year.’ We’re going to talk about what maybe led to that or what’s around it and I think what they have done is great.”
McDowell is open to coaching as well though it sounds as if he’d have to find the right situation. The right-hander, who last pitched for the Anaheim Angels in 1999, has his own ideas and might not want to conform to teachings he doesn’t agree with.
“Do I want to spend six years in A-ball waiting for something better to open up? Probably not,” McDowell said. “Would I want to be with an organization that’s gonna force ideas to be taught that I disagree with? Probably not. Those would be the things I would have a tough time signing on for.”
At the same time, McDowell knows coaching is what reignited his passion for baseball. Over seven seasons McDowell helped to turn San Dieguito from a bottom-of-the-rung program into a runner-up in the area championship game earlier this year.
“I figured I would walk in there, maybe I would help a couple of pitchers, talk to them about a couple of things and it turned out I took a huge role with everything,” McDowell said.