Chattanooga Lookouts manager Razor Shines still brings "energy" every day in his 50th decade in professional baseball, his players say, and he will direct the North squad in the Southern League All-Star Game next Tuesday night at Chattanooga's AT&T Field.Photo by Doug Strickland /Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Anthony Razor Shines is the oldest manager to guide the Chattanooga Lookouts through a Southern League season.
Ask any Lookouts player, however, and Shines is far more 27 than 57.
"Razor still has the 20-year-old mindset in him," Lookouts first baseman O'Koyea Dickson said. "We build off his energy every day, and it's something all of us look forward to. He understands what the grind is, because he's been through it. He's played in the minor leagues and the big leagues, too, so he knows what it takes to get there.
"The best thing about Razor is just the energy he brings to the park every day. He wants you to get better and cares for everybody."
Shines has been in professional baseball for five decades, beginning with the Montreal Expos selecting him in the 18th round of the 1978 draft out of St. Augustine's College in Raleigh, N.C. If it were up to him, there would be five more decades on the fields and in the clubhouses.
"Baseball is basically all I know," Shines said. "I've been to college, but I've never had another job outside of the game of baseball. It's been good to me and my family, and I enjoy doing it.
"I don't know what I would be doing if it wasn't for baseball. I love it that much."
There have been plenty of teachable moments so far this season for the Lookouts, who have the league's worst record entering their final series of the first half tonight in Huntsville. Touted shortstop Erisbel Arruebarrena and promising relief pitcher Pedro Baez have been promoted from Chattanooga in recent weeks, but this is an especially young club that is expected largely to remain intact.
Infielder Darnell Sweeney and outfielder Scott Schebler are two youthful standouts Shines will be overseeing again next Tuesday when he manages the North Division in the league's all-star game at AT&T Field.
"I enjoy seeing kids be successful," Shines said. "That is the most wonderful feeling you can get as a professional coach or manager. To see a kid work on something and work on something, and then to see a kid become successful at it at a high level is something that I can't explain. It is so rewarding to see them do it the way they should do it."
Shines played in the Southern League with Memphis during the 1981 to '83 seasons, hitting .286 in '83 before being called up to Montreal. He played parts of four seasons with the Expos but never made a significant impact, hitting .185 with five RBIs in 68 games.
His playing career did not result in big-time statistical success, but he hardly looks back with regret.
"I know I loved to play and couldn't wait to get to the ballpark every day," he said. "It's the same way managing, because I can't wait to get here to start working with the kids or to match wits with the other manager."
In his lengthy career teaching baseball, Shines returned to the Southern League a decade ago as Birmingham's manager, leading the Barons to the playoffs. He became a base coach with the Chicago White Sox in 2007 and with the New York Mets in 2009 and '10.
Shines joined the Los Angeles Dodgers organization in 2011 as a hitting coach with the Great Lakes Loons in the Single-A Midwest League.
"He's a great teacher of the game, and he's a tremendous motivator," Dodgers farm director DeJon Watson said. "He brings tremendous energy to the team every day. If there is a weakness with a kid, he will work to close that weakness and help him be able to succeed and produce. He's all about developing championship players, so it was a really good fit for us."
Said Lookouts pitching coach Scott Radinsky: "I know that he really cares about the players. I've seen him behind the scenes really fighting for them. Once guys get to know him and sense his personality, you want to pull for a guy who is pulling for you."
Razor is a family name and also was the middle name of his father and grandfather. Shines has a son, Devin Razor Shines, who was drafted by the Dodgers in 2011 and made it to high Single-A within the organization.
In 2009, Maxim magazine labeled Razor Shines as "the most bad-ass name of all-time."
"I don't know how it started or why, but it works for me," Shines said.
Contact David Paschall at email@example.com or 423-757-6524.
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...