Greg Riddoch’s list of achievements and awards runs a mile long. And who could blame the former Colorado State College (now University of Northern Colorado) infielder for beating his chest when realizing his accomplishments? Yet, Riddoch prefers to talk about how he can help others achieve success, and not necessarily in baseball. In fact, although Riddoch has been involved with baseball in one way or another for his entire life, he opts to remember his days as a teacher in Greeley as the most rewarding.
“I can teach, I really can,” he once said after spending an off-season as a substitute teacher for the Greeley School District. Mention his long list of accomplishments and volunteer work and Riddoch always comes back to one of the proudest moments of his life when he coached a Special Olympics boys’ basketball team to a state title. Whether it’s been in front of a classroom or behind a batting cage, Riddoch has parlayed his communication skills along with his baseball knowledge to become one of the most respected people in the game of baseball—evidenced by his recent appointment as the Director of Player Development for the Milwaukee Brewers.
His newest task comes on the heels of spending two seasons as a major league coach for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, returning to the game after taking time to establish and operate the Greg Riddoch Sports Academy, a facility designed to help develop the skills of young players. And, as successful as Riddoch has been off the field, he enjoyed much success as a player, especially at the collegiate level.
A three-year starter at Northern Colorado, he earned All-Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference honors three times, was a two-time All-Region selection, and earned Division I All-American status in 1967.
A .330 career hitter, Riddoch led the Bears to three straight RMAC titles and two berths in the NCAA Division I playoffs. He led all NCAA Division I players in home runs in 1967, parking 17 in just 26 games, and was the nation’s leader in slugging percentage at .861. Those numbers led to his being the Number 1 draft choice of the Cincinnati Reds, and he spent five seasons in the Reds’ minor league system before opting to become involved in managing. It didn’t take then Cincinnati Reds’ executive Bob Howsam long to realize how valuable Riddoch was as a minor league manager, but even more so as a scouting supervisor, player development director, farm director and director of scouting—roles he’s held with the Reds and the San Diego Padres.
A Colorado native, Riddoch eventually became a coach for the Padres from 1987-90, leading to his being named manager from 1990-92. Future baseball Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn calls his former manager, “one of the best teachers ever of the game, and a leader among leaders.”
One of the best teachers ever of the game, and a leader among leaders.