HIGH POINT, N.C. – The High Point Rockers today announced that manager Jamie Keefe and his coaching staff that led the Rockers to the Atlantic League’s 2022 South Division Championship will return for the 2023 season.
Keefe will begin his fourth season as the Rockers’ manager and will be joined by pitching coach Frank Viola and bench coach Albert Gonzalez.
“The thing that is amazing to me is that with all the knowledge that Frank and Albert have, it’s remarkable that they are here in High Point and not in Major League Baseball,” said Keefe. “Frank had a fantastic playing career and has been great as a coach and instructor. Albert is very well-connected within all baseball circles.”
Keefe will be leading his 20th club onto the field in 2023. The veteran manager has compiled a career record of 981-864 and is nearing his 1,000th career win. He has led the Rockers to the ALPB playoffs in two of his three seasons including a berth in the ALPB League Championship Series last fall, eventually dropping the final series to Lancaster. Keefe’s three seasons in High Point have resulted in a 209-182 record and a .535 winning percentage.
Viola has worked with the Rockers pitchers since the team’s inception in 2019. During the last three years, his mentorship has led the team’s pitching staff to have the Atlantic League’s fewest walks allowed and the second-best earned run average at 4.45. During Viola’s three seasons in High Point, the Rockers have the second-most wins in the Atlantic League with 209.
A native of Long Island, Viola spent 15 years in the Major Leagues, leading the Minnesota Twins to the 1987 World Championship while winning the American League Cy Young Award in 1988. Viola was the MVP of the ’87 World Series and was named to three All-Star teams before retiring in 1996. He coached at every level of the Mets organization following his retirement prior to joining the Rockers in 2019.
“Frank is the best,” said Keefe. “He has learned the independent (baseball) game over the last four years. He is great in his communication with the players and we get a lot of players who come here because of Frank. He is incredibly humble and comes to the ballpark with a big smile every day.”
Gonzalez has served as an assistant coach to Keefe at several stops including stints with the New York Boulders of the Can-Am League in 2017 and 2018. He has been the Rockers’ bullpen coach in 2019 and 2021. During the 2021 season, Gonzalez was signed to the active roster and appeared in two games. He has also played professionally in Puerto Rico and Spain.
In addition to his on-field responsibilities, Gonzalez will also become the Rockers’ Director of Player Personnel.
“I couldn’t be more excited to see Albert in his new role,” said Keefe. “Over the last six years I’ve watched him grow into a great baseball coach. I met him when he would come over the ballpark (in Rockland, N.Y.) and catch bullpen sessions and now he is helping to put this club together. It is very comforting to me to have a great baseball mind like Albert next to me in the dugout every game. He remains eager to learn and we will work side by side every day for the next nine months.”
In 2020, Gonzalez served as the manager of the New York Boulders of the Frontier League, leading the club to a playoff berth before finishing his first managerial season leading the BR Bandits to a Liberation Professional Baseball League Championship. During this most recent off-season, Gonzalez spent the fall as a catching coach for his alma mater, High Point University, and served as an assistant coach at Greensboro College.
“Our coaching staff is the best in the Atlantic League,” said Rockers Team President Pete Fisch. “They provide a wonderful representation of High Point and put us in a position to continue winning.”
The Rockers will open the Atlantic League’s 25th Anniversary season on Friday, April 28 when they host the Long Island Ducks at Truist Point.
About High Point Baseball, Inc.
High Point Baseball, AKA The High Point Rockers, completed the 2022 season by reaching the Atlantic League Championship Series. The Rockers play in a state-of-the-art, $36M downtown ballpark, Truist Point, which was named the Atlantic League’s Ballpark of the Year in 2022 and 2019. High Point Baseball is part of the fastest growing family sport in America and is committed to providing superior customer service and quality, and affordable family entertainment for the Triad of North Carolina.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
Celebrating its 25th Anniversary season in 2023, the Atlantic League is Major League Baseball’s first Professional Partner League, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 1,200 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 45 million fans to its family-friendly ballparks throughout its 25-year history. Please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.