Former Pelicans baseball player Tommy Sandt dies at 69
Former New Orleans Pelicans shortstop Tommy Sandt died on December 1, after a long career in professional baseball as a player, coach and manager. In the only season the Pelicans played as a St. Louis Cardinals Triple-A affiliate in 1977, Sandt hit .259 with 10 home runs and 29 RBIs in 80 games.
Sandt began his professional career in 1969 with the Oakland A’s organization, after being drafted in the second round out of Pacifica High School in Garden Grove, California. He made his major-league debut with the A’s on June 29, 1975, as a ninth-inning defensive replacement in a game with California. It was his only appearance of the season. He returned to the A’s in 1976, playing in 41 games as a utility infielder and batting .209.
The Cardinals purchased Sandt during spring training in 1977, but the sale was voided and he was released to free agency in early May. However, the Cardinals re-signed him at the end of May, assigning him to New Orleans. He tied for fourth in most home runs for the team. The Pelicans’ season was the only one played in the Louisiana Superdome.
He wound up in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization where he initially served as a player/coach and then managed at the Double-A level in 1982 and 1983. He was promoted to manager of the Pirates’ Triple-A Hawaii affiliate in 1984, when he was named Manager of the Year of the Pacific Coast League.
In 1987 Pittsburgh manager Jim Leyland brought in Sandt to coach at the big-league level. He stayed on Leyland’s staff for the rest of his tenure with Pittsburgh, after which he followed Leyland to the Florida Marlins in 1997, when they won the World Series. Again, he went with Leyland to Colorado for the 1999 season.
After retiring from pro baseball, Sandt ran camps and coached high school baseball in Oregon.
New Orleans baseball historian
Richard Cuicchi, Founder of the Metro New Orleans Area Baseball Player Database and a New Orleans area baseball historian, maintains TheTenthInning.com website. He also authored the book, Family Ties: A Comprehensive Collection of Facts and Trivia About Baseball’s Relatives. He has contributed to numerous SABR-sponsored Bio Project and Games Project books.