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Pittsburgh Roots: Greensburg Central Catholic Grad Warren Schaeffer a Prominent Member of Rockies’ Staff

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Warren Schaeffer

Just over two decades ago, Warren Schaeffer helped lead Greensburg Central Catholic to the WPIAL championship game at PNC Park.

Schaeffer, who was born in Vandergrift, Pa., got to live out a dream of playing on the same field as his childhood favorite Pittsburgh Pirates.

Though they lost the championship at the Pirates’ home stadium, Schaeffer and the Centurions won the 2002 Class A state title.

Fast forward to the present day and Schaeffer returned to PNC Park when the Colorado Rockies played a three-game series against the Pirates over the weekend.

Schaeffer is now in his second season as the Rockies’ third base coach. While the life of a member on a major-league staff takes you all over the country — and sometimes outside of it — Schaeffer was happy to be back in his hometown.

“It’s the best,” Schaeffer said on being back home. “You go to every city in the United States but there’s nothing like Pittsburgh. You come home and it just feels different. It’s good to sleep in my own bed. It’s just home. People from Pittsburgh understand what it’s like to be home in Pittsburgh. I love it.”

After his high school career ended, Schaeffer played college baseball at Virginia Tech where he was named a team captain for the 2007 season and was named to the ACC All-Academic team.

The Rockies selected Schaeffer in the 38th round of the 2007 draft. He spent six seasons in the organization and reached Triple-A before hanging up his spikes in 2012.

Immediately after his playing days were over, the Rockies hired Schaeffer to be a coach. He served as a minor-league hitting coach for two seasons and managed in the minors for eight years before he was added to Bud Black’s staff in 2023.

The transition from playing to coaching was quick and easy. Schaeffer knew it was what he wanted to do.

“Towards the latter half of my career in pro ball, it started to not be fun for me anymore. It started to be a job and not a game,” Schaeffer told Pittsburgh Baseball Now. “If you’re not making any money, it’s time to get out. My dad always said you should do something where you get to help people. Coaching seemed like the perfect avenue for that.”

Schaeffer has had to adapt to the unique lifestyle that comes with being a coach. There are many nights spent away from home, long hours and other adjustments that take time getting used to.

The 39-year-old Schaeffer is adapting well and credits his family for making it a smooth transition.

“It’s been a great journey,” he said. “I’ve gotten to meet a lot of good people and my family has gotten to see the whole country pretty much. It’s been a different lifestyle. We homeschool the kids so it works for us. I got a really, really good wife who is able to adjust and go with the flow.”

Still new to the big leagues, Schaeffer couldn’t ask for a better manager to learn from than the veteran Black.

Black has been the Rockies’ manager since 2017 and led them to the postseason twice. Prior to that, he managed the San Diego Padres for nine seasons from 2007-15.

Before his coaching days, Black was an accomplished left-handed pitcher and played 15 seasons. He won the World Series while with the Kansas City Royals in 1985.

The experience learning under a baseball lifer like Black and a seasoned staff has been powerful.

“I get to learn a lot from Buddy,” said Schaeffer. “It’s a great opportunity for me to get my foot in the big leagues and learn from somebody who has been doing it a long time. And (bench coach Mike Redmond), I’ve learned a lot from him. It’s a very good opportunity for a young coach like myself.”

In turn, adding Schaeffer to the staff has been beneficial for Black.

The two seem like a good pair. I asked Black about his third base coach prior to Saturday’s game.

“He’s a really good teacher. You had him as a teacher,” Black said. “That hasn’t stopped. With Schaeff, I felt it was time to get him to the big leagues knowing that was gonna be in his future, to be on a major-league staff. Great work ethic. Good feel for players. He brings an element to our staff of a younger coach who is creative and we share some ideas … He’s been a great addition.”

To note, I did briefly have Schaeffer as a teacher as Black said. Back when I played baseball in my younger years, I took some hitting lessons from Schaeffer at Bianco School of Baseball in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. While my words don’t carry as much weight as Black’s I can tell you what he said is true, even from all those years ago.

Schaeffer sure has come a long way from those days and he’s done so quickly.

Who knows? Maybe one day Schaeffer will be the man in a charge of a big league team. It’s something he’s not ruling out.

“If the game takes me that direction, if that were to happen, hopefully I’ll be prepared for it,” he said. 

For the time being, Schaeffer will continue to serve in his current role alongside his coaching mentor. He’ll do so with his Pittsburgh roots still at heart.

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