United League Baseball News

HARLINGEN — It is probably the worst kept secret in town — but now it is official — Eduardo “Eddie” Dennis is returning to Harlingen to be field manager of the United League Baseball’s franchise here.

Dennis, who managed the ball club in its only league championship and also won a first-half league title, reported he is on the job and already lining up players from his Florida base, in an effort to again have a team that will be a frontrunner.

He is expected to arrive in Harlingen in early May.

As one of the more colorful and competent managers in minor league baseball, Dennis was very popular during his five years as manager and one year as coach of the WhiteWings.

Word had recently leaked out about the area and elsewhere in the six-team league that Dennis would be back in Harlingen.

ULB executive Byron Pierce said that once he and former U.S. Rep. John Bryant regained control of the league, one of his first moves was to select Dennis to be field manager here.

“I knew that Eddie would be interested in managing a Harlingen team again and I know we are bringing to the area the best of field managers around,” Pierce said.

As it now stands, the league, which will begin play on June 11 — a late start due to federal and state court litigation — has nearly completed its hiring of general and field managers, Pierce said. In addition to Harlingen, the league franchises are Edinburg, Laredo, San Angelo, Amarillo and Coastal Bend (Corpus Christi-Robstown).

“I love Harlingen, I love the fans and I love managing in the city,” Dennis said. “I will bring the city and area a solid, winning baseball team, you can bet on that.”

Dennis’ first Texas coaching job was with the Texas-Louisiana League in 1994 as coach for the San Antonio Tejanos, with Jose Cruz as manager. He came to Harlingen in 1995 and was coach for then-WhiteWings field manager Alan Ashby.

Dennis returned as manager in 1998 and was in that position for three years, including the 2000 Texas-Louisiana League championship year.

He resigned after the 2000 season, due to the fact that Pierce and Bryant were forced out by the-then new owners of the T-LL. (The league changed its name to the Central League in 2001 and the Wings disbanded in 2003.)

However, when Pierce and Bryant co-founded the ULB, he returned to manage in 2006 and 2007. His 2007 team won the first half ULB championship, but was defeated in the league playoffs by second-half winner Alexandria, La.

Dennis, a native of the Dominican Republic, signed his first professional contract as an 18-year-old second baseman with the Blue Jays in 1977. He spent the next eight years with the Blue Jays, including minor league stints at Medicine Hat, Alberto; Dunedin, Fla., and Kinston, N.C.

He began his coaching career in 1985. He first was player-coach for the Class AA Knoxville Smokies. The following year he became a full-time coach and later manager.

He was released by the Blue Jays in 1988, which he said ‘really hurt,” but he proudly wears his World Series championship ring received while with the Blue Jays.

He later coached in the Dominican Republic, where one of his players in the Dominican Winter League was Sammy Sosa. More recently, Dennis has been coaching and holding baseball clinics in Florida.

The WhiteWings open the 2009 season at home with a four-game stand with Coastal Bend.