So maybe you happen to be one of about 15 people who were paying attention back in 1985 and 1986, or maybe you have an exceptional memory for faces and names.

And maybe one of the faces and names that quickly came to mind last week was that of Mike Sarbaugh, a former player in the Central York County Baseball League for Marietta and Hellam.

That was certainly the case with David Snyder, who sent an email to remind me that Sarbaugh had just been named the first base coach and infielders' coach for the Cleveland Indians.

New Indians manager Terry Francona made the announcement in the middle of last week.


Snyder, as it turns out, happened to be affiliated with the Hellam team in 1986, and recalled clearly that Sarbaugh "was one of the smoothest-fielding shortstops in the league. He had really soft hands, probably the best I've seen."

At the time, Sarbaugh was a fresh-faced kid from Mount Joy, a graduate of Donegal High School in Lancaster County, where he was also a basketball standout. He was 18 years old and trying to play his way into a professional baseball contract.

But if you blinked your eyes, you might have missed him. Sarbaugh only played in the Central League for those two seasons.

In 1985, he played 10 games for Marietta, hitting .314, with four home runs and 14 RBIs in just 35 at-bats.

The next season, he moved over to Hellam, coached by Jim Haldy. There, in 31 games, he hit .430, good enough for fifth in the league by season's end. He managed 49 hits, 25 runs, 34 RBIs, eight doubles, three triples and five home runs in only 114 at-bats.

Sarbaugh's dream, of course, was to play in the Major Leagues.

He attended Lamar University, where he was an all-conference shortstop. Then he was signed to his first professional contract by the Milwaukee Brewers and was assigned to its rookie league team, the Helena Brewers.

The next season, he was acquired by the Indians, with which he played five seasons -- 1990 to 1994 -- winning a Carolina League championship as a member of the Kinston Indians.

Then in 1995, at the age of 28, Sarbaugh was named the hitting coach for the Kinston Indians. The next season, he moved on to the Columbus RedStixx of the South Atlantic League, then back to Kinston for two more seasons, before serving as a hitting coach for the Double-A Akron Aeros for several seasons.

In 2004, he was hired as manager of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. He directed them to the New York-Penn League championship. From there, Sarbaugh advanced to the Lake County Captains and then back to the Kinston team, this time as the manager.

As it turns out, Sarbaugh won championships in the Carolina League with three different teams, as a player, a coach and a manager.

Sarbaugh was named manager of the Columbus Clippers, the Class AAA affiliate for the Indians, for the 2010 season. He won both the 2010 and 2011 AAA championships as a manager at Columbus.

In a nine-year managerial career, Sarbaugh won league championships four times. He was named the Carolina League Manager of the Year in 2007, the Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year in 2010, and the International League Manager of the Year in 2011.

So it only made sense that Sarbaugh's name would have been on the short list of managerial candidates when the Cleveland Indians gave former manager, Manny Acta, his walking papers at the end of the 2012 season.

Sarbaugh finished out the season as the Indians' bench coach after the Columbus Clippers completed their season in early September.

But Sarbaugh wasn't hired as the Indians manager; Terry Francona, the former manager for the Philadelphia Phillies and Boston Red Sox, got the job.

Nevertheless, Sarbaugh will start his 25th year in professional baseball wearing a Major League uniform.

Still climbing the ladder? Yes. But he's headed in the right direction.

Sports columns by Larry A. Hicks, Dispatch columnist, run Thurs days. E-mail: lhick