Former MLB outfielder and coach Lee Tinsley has passed away. He was 53 years old.
A native of Shelbyville, Kentucky, Tinsley was selected by the A’s with the 11th overall pick in the 1987 draft. He played three-plus seasons in the Oakland farm system before being traded to the Indians for infielder Brook Jacoby. The switch-hitting outfielder landed with the Mariners the next year via waivers, and he broke into the majors with 11 games for Seattle during the 1993 season.
The following spring, the Mariners traded Tinsley to the Red Sox. He played two seasons in Boston, tallying a career-high 391 plate appearances with a .284/.359/.402 line in 1995. Boston dealt him to the Phillies for minor league pitcher Scott Bakkum midway through the ’96 season, and Philadelphia sold his contract back to Seattle for the 1997 campaign. Tinsley closed out his MLB career with 49 games for the Mariners. He’d play in independent ball, Mexico and at the Triple-A level for the next three years before retiring as a player after the 2000 season.
Tinsley appeared in 361 big league games over a five-year career, suiting up for three different clubs. He hit .241/.313/.335 with 13 home runs, 41 stolen bases and 79 runs driven in.
After his playing career concluded, he jumped into the coaching ranks. He spent time working in the Diamondbacks’ and Angels’ systems before getting promoted to the big league staff in Arizona in 2006. Tinsley logged three years as Arizona’s first base coach and three more as Seattle’s first base coach. He spent some time in the Cubs organization before being named assistant hitting coach of the Reds, a role he held from 2014-15.
MLBTR sends our condolences to Tinsley’s family, friends, loved ones, former teammates and players with whom he crossed paths during his coaching career.