SECRET WEAPON
Baseball America|December 2020
Bobby Dickerson was integral in transforming the Padres’ infield from error-prone to October-caliber
SCOTT MILLER

A coach’s work is never done, so don’t be thinking that Bobby Dickerson has his feet up somewhere this winter celebrating the Padres’ first foray into the postseason since 2006 like all the hard work is finished.

And definitely don’t think that he’s off toasting the team’s success with a big, juicy steak.

“I haven’t had a steak since Thursday, May 28,” Dickerson said. “The day before the heart attack.”

Both the work and the scare are an enormous part of the 2020 story for Dickerson and the Padres. San Diego lured him away from the Phillies’ coaching staff after the 2019 season as Jayce Tingler’s bench coach for several reasons, not the least of which was the fact that they thought their star-studded infield had underperformed and they knew of his reputation as one of the best coaches working today.

Then during the coronavirus shutdown, Dickerson was at the park conducting informal workouts when he was stricken.

“He’s such a strong-willed person with a huge motor, seeing someone literally hitting fungoes to an infielder and 15 minutes later he has to go to the hospital and have surgery, it’s obviously a scary moment,” Padres general manager A.J. Preller said. “Especially when you see someone with Bobby’s personality, pretty much at all times nothing is ever wrong, no fear, I’m fine, and then to see him have to go through that . . .

“Certainly, some things in his lifestyle had to change, some of his nutrition and sleep patterns, but one thing that didn’t change was four days later he’s on the phone telling me he has to get back on the field with his players.”

That Dickerson, 55, is the 2020 Major League Coach of the Year is a glowing testament to so many of the things the Padres found to be true this summer, both before and after his health scare: Big motor, no-nonsense, motivating personality, no fear, creative, dedicated and unselfish enough that he will move mountains just to help a player improve even a few degrees.

Regarding the Padres’ infield this year, the improvement went many, many degrees.

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