By Tony Adams, Sports Editor
A former second-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1991. Spent 14 years in the minor leagues and caught for names like Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Brett Tomko, Bruce Chen and Steve Avery. Played with guys like Javy Lopez, Pokey Reese, Aaron Boone, Chad Fox, Chad Mottola, Joe Crede, Mark DeRosa, Deion Sanders and Pete Rose Jr. 139 home runs. 726 runs batted in. .272 career average. Managed three minor league independent in five years. A former professional scout.
Temple knew what they were getting when they hired former Belton Tiger Toby Rumfield, a three-sport from his Tiger days, a year ago this past Spring.
Last Friday, it was announced that the assistant coach of the Wildcats’ baseball team has succeeded long-time head coach Craig Martin as the new head coach in Temple.
Temple, who won a District 17-5A Championship and advanced to the Area Round of the Class 5A Playoffs in 2015, had great run with a young team.
“I have played and coached in professional baseball,” Rumfield said. “But the one thing I had not done was coach high school baseball. I watched how Craig ran his program and how conducted things. I learned a lot in two years. What I need to do right now is to take over as things are right now and add to it. Craig had a vision of Temple becoming one of the best programs in Texas. I think we can get there, although we have a ways to go. The foundation is there and we have the kids there.”
Rumfield feels that his playing and managing experience in the minor leagues will help backup his message about the work ethic it takes to play in the higher rungs of baseball.
“I think that my experience will help when conveying what I have learned,” Rumfield said. “I use the word grind a bunch,” Rumfield said. “I want these kids to understand when we come to the yard, we are there to get work done and grind success out of it. If you have someone that has ‘been there, done that’ and give them a person’s name who has gone through the slumps that they’re going through and what they did to correct the problem, you can get them to listen to how they can correct the problem, whether it is hitting or fielding. Players will grasp onto that.”
The coaching rungs are starting to fill up around the state with former Tigers and Lady Tigers. In the past month, Jessica Oliver became the TemCats softball coach after a stellar career for the Lady Tigers and UMHB Crusaders. Former football/basketball standout Hosea Smith is the basketball coach at Rosebud Lott and former baseball standout Thomas Melvin is the coach at Humble Atascocita.
“Belton was big in my upbringing,” Rumfield said. “I learned how to play the game the right way. I played youth ball and high school sports here in Belton. Coach Mike Spradlin believes in what I can do and I feel I can be a big asset for the Wildcats baseball team.”
With moving back into the area in 2012, the time away from coaching to get his degree and teaching certification helped recharge his battery.
In business with his wife Kari and parents Shelby and LaVerne at Yummy Rummy’s, the Rumfields know about the business aspect of baseball. Kari worked for the Ripken Baseball Academy in Baltimore and a baseball executive for several organizations, including the three that Toby managed. So it is another surefire way of how he can get the message across to his players.
“In all of those years of playing, I never really understood that baseball is a business,” Rumfield said. “Once I became full-time scout, it all clicked in. This is a business. Seeing the game through the draft room on the scout’s side of things, just listening to where kids were getting drafted and what round they were getting drafted in made me really discover how much baseball is a business. The rest really recharged my battery and made me want to get back out there and manage and take all of that knowledge I have accrued and give it back.”
Rumfield’s success on the field is in great part to his grinding work ethic.
“The game is all about approach,” Rumfield said. “I stress that about hitting to the Temple kids. We talk a great deal about situational hitting, what do you see, what are you going to do. It’s amazing where you can take your game to with a great approach.”