WICHITA, Kans. (February 27, 2017) – For the first time in their history the Wichita Wingnuts will be looking for a new pitching coach, as the only pitching coach in club history, Luke Robertson, is retiring after leading the Wingnuts staff for the franchise’s first nine seasons.
“It has been an incredible honor for (Wingnuts co-owner) Nate and I to work with our brother over these last nine years,” Wingnuts President/GM Josh Robertson said. “It’s been so much fun to watch him grow and develop our pitching staffs over the years and the stats speak for themselves in regards to how great of a job he has done. Luke will be sorely missed by everyone in the Wingnuts family and we wish him all the best in his post-baseball career.”
Under Robertson, the Wingnuts staff finished third or better in the American Association in team ERA in five of his nine seasons, including first-place finishes in 2009 (3.52), 2010 (4.05), 2013 (3.38) and 2014 (3.60).
Major League clubs have taken notice of the strong Wichita pitching staffs Robertson and the Wingnuts have put together, as 23 Wichita hurlers had their contract purchased by an MLB team during his tenure. Three of those 23 pitched at baseball’s highest level last season with Junior Guerra (Milwaukee Brewers), James Hoyt (Houston Astros), and Chris Smith (Oakland Athletics) all taking big league mounds in 2016. A fourth, righty Derek Eitel, is in big league camp with the Washington Nationals this spring.
The club has also tossed a pair of no-hitters under his direction. The first was a solo effort by Will Savage on June 23, 2009 against Sioux City. Savage had his contract purchased by the Los Angeles Dodgers following the season. In July of 2011, the second no-hitter was a combined effort between Guerra, Matt Nevarez, and Josh Dew against Shreveport-Bossier.
Before becoming the Wingnuts pitching coach, Robertson enjoyed a professional playing career of his own with the Oakland Athletics. The righty pitched in the A’s organization for three seasons, topping out at Triple-A Sacramento in 2003. Robertson also featured on the mound twice for the Wingnuts, in 2012 and 2014. His 2014 appearance came at Laredo on August 22 of that season. That evening Robertson allowed three runs over five innings to earn the win that clinched the South Division Title for Wichita.
On behalf of the Wingnuts ownership and entire organization, we thank you Luke for everything you’ve done for this organization!
The 10th season of Wichita Wingnuts baseball begins on Thursday, May 18 against the Laredo Lemurs at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium. For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at www.wichitawingnuts.com.