I wouldn't know, but I imagine that December 25th is the worst day of the year to have a birthday. No matter how loved or popular you are, your birthday is never the most important one going on that day. With that in mind, I think it's only fair that we wish Tigers bench coach Gene Lamont a happy birthday.
Gene William Lamont was born on December 25th, 1946 in Rockford, Illinois. He was selected by the Tigers with the 13th overall pick in the 1965 draft. He spent five years in the minors before making his MLB debut with the club in 1970. He got off to a promising start that season, hitting a home run in his first career at-bat. He hit .295/.340/.477 in 48 plate appearances during the 1970 season.
Unfortunately, this would be the highlight of Gene's playing career. He only appeared in 87 games across five seasons -- all with the Tigers -- and hit .233/.278/.371 with four home runs and 14 RBI. He debuted too late to be a part of the 1968 championship team and never got a chance to catch Mark Fidrych during his amazing 1976 season. His last MLB game was in 1975, but he stayed in the Tigers organization through the 1977 season.
Lamont started managing in the minor leagues after his playing career, and got his first big league gig as Jim Leyland's bench coach when the skipper was hired by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1986. Lamont served on Leyland's staff until 1992, when he became the manager of the Chicago White Sox. While he compiled a 258-210 record in three-plus years with the team -- including two first place finishes, one during the strike-shortened 1994 season -- he was fired in 1995 after the team started 11-20.
Lamont returned to Leyland's staff for a season, then replaced Leyland as the Pirates' manager in 1997. He spent four years at the helm in Pittsburgh, guiding the Bucs to a 295-352 record. He was nearly voted the NL Manager of the Year in 1997 after his club surprised many and finished in second place. However, he was fired three years later and replaced by Lloyd McClendon. As we all know, Lamont has served on the Tigers' coaching staff since 2006.
Lamont is one of seven players born on December 25th who have appeared in a Detroit Tigers uniform.
Merry Christmas, everyone.