Royals announce 2005 World Series champion as River Bandits manager

Local Sports

Chris Widger of the Chicago White Sox catches against Cleveland at Jacobs Field on May 2, 2006. (Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

The Kansas City Royals announced Friday that former major league catcher Chris Widger will manage the Quad Cities River Bandits in 2021.

Widger won a World Series with the Chicago White Sox in 2005 and played 10 MLB seasons, including stints with the Cardinals, Mariners, Expos, Yankees and Orioles.

Widger last managed in 2019 for the Appalachian League Burlington (N.C.) Royals to a 39-29 record.

Prior to that, Widger spent three years (2016-18) as the Wilmington Blue Rocks’ bench coach. He was slated to be the Blue Rocks’ manager in 2020.

The River Bandits coaching staff will also include Steve Luebber as pitching coach, Andy LaRoche as hitting coach and Mike Jirschele as bench coach.

Luebber, who played for the Blue Jays, Orioles and Twins, is now in his 16th season with the Royals organization.

LaRoche worked with Widger as the hitting coach in Burlington in 2019 and played for the Dodgers, Pirates, A’s and Blue Jays.

Jirschele has been with the Royals’ organization since 1995 and has been in various roles on the minor league and major league sides, including Royals’ third base coach during their World Series run in 2014 and World Series title in 2015.

Daniel Accola will serve as the Bandits’ athletic trainer, Tony Carney takes over as strength coach
and Matt Resar will be coordinator of clubhouse operations.

Widger played in college at George Mason, which is where Kansas City General Manager Dayton Moore and Assistant General Manager J.J. Picollo played.

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