RIP to Jim Hoff, a former minor-league infielder and manager who had worked as the minor-league field coordinator for the Tampa Bay Rays since 2002. He died unexpectedly on December 11 at the age of 73.
Hoff was born on April 16, 1945 and graduated from Xavier University in 1967. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds as a second baseman that year and made his debut playing for the Sioux Falls Packers of the Northern League. He stayed in the Reds organization for 6 seasons, with a career .241 batting average in 641 games. In his best season, he batted .288 in 98 games for the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in 1971.
According to the Rays, Hoff would go on to spend 51 years in professional baseball. He managed in the Reds’ organization from 1973-1983 and then was their field coordinator from 1984-90. He moved on to the Toronto Blue Jays and was the field coordinator and director of minor-league development from 1998-2001. He then joined the Rays in 2002.
The Rays released the following statement: “With heavy hearts, we mourn the untimely death of Jim Hoff,” said senior vice president of baseball operations and general manager Erik Neander. “Hoffy spent more than 50 years in professional baseball, and served as our field coordinator for the last 17. During his long career, he made a profound impact on countless players, coaches and staff. He cared deeply for all of them, for the organizations in which he worked, and for the game of baseball. Hoffy was a great teacher and an even better person, beloved by all who knew him, and we will miss him terribly. The entire Rays organization sends our thoughts and sympathies to his family.”
On Twitter, former Rangers infielder Michael Young (@MikeyY626) wrote, “Jim Hoff was equal parts gentleman and competitor. He made so many infielders in the Jays system better.”