Story by John Leykam
Von Hayes, former National League All-Star and holder of two Saint Mary’s baseball career offensive records, is rapidly earning an impressive reputation as an effective developer of young talent.
The summer of 2005 marked Hayes’ third as a minor league pilot, and the second time he captured Manager of the Year honors. After the Class AA Midland Rockhounds captured the Texas League championship in 2005, Hayes was judged the top manager in the Texas League.
In the summer of 2004, Hayes guided the then-Modesto A’s to championships in both halves of the California League season. Modesto capped an excellent year by defeating San Jose and Lancaster in the league playoffs. For his efforts, the Cal League tapped Hayes as Manager of the Year. Both Midland and Modesto were in the Oakland Athletics’ system at the time (Modesto has since become a Colorado Rockies’ franchise).
In 2003, his first season as a manager, Hayes took the South Bend Silver Hawks to the playoffs of the Class A Midwest League after the Arizona Diamondbacks affiliate surged to the second half title.
Such success has helped the former Philadelphia Phillie, Cleveland Indian and California Angel advance towards his goal of becoming a major league coach or manager. “That’s a goal certainly. It would be terrific. I feel blessed that I’m in a situation [at Midland] with a group of athletes willing to work, and work hard for not only myself, but for my coaches. I’m no good if my team doesn’t respond to what we’re trying to tell them. That’s where you really need help from the rest of your staff.”
Hayes, who makes his off-season home in Tierra Verde, Florida, played for the Gaels from 1977-79 under head coach Miles McAfee. He holds Gael career offensive records for triples (17) and slugging percentage (.609). The combination outfielder-first baseman wouldn’t mind a bit being a Moraga neighbor some day. “The (Oakland) A’s organization has been good to me. I am grateful to them for the chance to grow in my career.”