Bobby Jenks’ baseball path has taken him to sports stardom in the south side of Chicago and now to the dugout of the Grand Junction Rockies.
The team announced it had hired Jenks as its new manager in a Thursday news release. Jenks, 41, was the GJ Rockies’ pitching coach last season. He succeeds Jimmy Johnson, who retired last season.
“This is my first time stepping into a managerial role.” Jenks said in a news release. “...unless you count my son’s tee-ball team, which y’know is a little bit different.”
Jenks had his shining moment on the sport’s biggest stage 2005 as a rookie closer for the Chicago White Sox.
In the 2005 World Series, the then-rookie Jenks notched a save in three of his four opportunities to help the White Sox sweep the Houston Astros and clinch the franchise’s first championship in nearly a century.
Jenks played in the Windy City from 2005-2010. He was a four-tool pitcher who compiled 173 saves in 357 ⅓ innings, the third-most saves in White Sox history. Jenks was named an All-Star in the 2006 and 2007 seasons.
He then swapped white for red and spent the 2011 season in the Boston Red Sox’s bullpen before retiring.
Since retiring as a player, Jenks has stayed close to the game as a coach. He spent some time working with the White Sox pitching staff before eventually coming to Grand Junction.
“Those coaching experiences were fantastic, and I’m really appreciative of them,” Jenks said, “but I found out I wanted to be somewhere permanent and working with a specific group hands-on. Once I got to Grand Junction, it was touching something inside my chest, and it was the right fit at the right time.”
With Jenks as the pitching coach, the Rockies’ staff had the second-most strikeouts (808) and the most saves (22) in the Pioneer League. The rotation was led by Israel Fuentes, a right-hander from California. Fuentes was 7-4 in 15 appearances and was one of the top pitchers in the PBL. The Rockies also had Robbie Baker in the bullpen until he signed with Milwaukee, who had a league-leading 12 saves in 29 games and a 0.77 ERA. Michael Townsend had six saves, tied for fourth in the league.
The Rockies finished 52-43 overall and were 26-22 in the second half of the season to finish second in their division.
“We are excited to have Bobby come back again this year to be our field manager,” Rockies President Mick Ritter said. “He is bringing a ton of knowledge and experience to the role that will help the team tremendously.”