Bruce Walker Crabbe (born February 14, 1962) is an American professional baseball coach and manager. Since 2014, Crabbe is a coaching staff member of the Pawtucket Red Sox, Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball.
Prior to his Pawtucket appointment, Crabbe had managed the Short Season-A Lowell Spinners of the New York–Penn League and the High Class-A Salem Red Sox of the Carolina League, both Boston affiliates, and served as a roving infield instruction coordinator in the Red Sox farm system.
Crabbe has maintained a career for most of three decades of service in baseball; first as a player, and later as a coach, manager and instructor.
He is considered a great teacher of the game, with a proven track record of developing his young players on to the next level.
Born in Louisville, Kentucky, Crabbe largely grew up in Orlando, Florida. His baseball profession started after a college career that took him for a year to Gulf Coast Community College and three years at the University of Florida, where he earned a bachelor's degree in liberal arts, was a member of the two-time SEC champions Florida Gators (1982 and 1984), received SEC All-Tournament Team honors (1984), and was elected team captain.
Between 1981 and 1983, Crabbe was drafted by the Montreal Expos, Pittsburgh Pirates and Cleveland indians, but he decided to finish college instead. Following his graduation, he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 19th round (3rd overall) of the 1984 draft.
Basically a third baseman, Crabbe was able to play all positions well except pitcher and catcher. He then landed at short-season Geneva, where he posted a .307 batting average in 62 games. The next year he was promoted to Class-A Peoria, where he led the team with a .313 average, fifth-best in the Midwest League.
Crabbe opened 1986 with AA Pittsfield, batting for them a .292 average. Then he joined Triple-A Iowa, though, he stopped moving up and he started staying put. He stayed there for three seasons, being used sparingly as a backup infielder in 236 games. He moved to the Atlanta Braves system in 1990, playing two seasons at AAA Richmond. He played his final season in 1992 with the Toronto Blue Jays at AAA Syracuse. Throughout six seasons, he compiled a career batting average of .278 in 2,558 at bats.
Managing and coaching career
At age 30, Crabbe decided to quit playing the game in 1992, shortly after his nearly decade-long playing career ended without him making Major League Baseball. Then came his second career, as a manager and a coach in the minors. He began managing in 1994, when he was employed by MLB's Office to the Commissioner as the skipper of the Butte Copper Kings in the Rookie-class Pioneer League.
In 1995 he guided the Peoria Chiefs, by then a Class-A minor league team affiliated with his former employers, the Chicago Cubs. After that, he worked in women's baseball as the director of player development and scouting and infield coach of the Colorado Silver Bullets from 1995 through 1997.
Crabbe returned to minor league baseball as a manager, infield instructor and batting coach in the Texas Rangers system from 1998 to 2004. As manager of the Rookie-level Pulaski Rangers between 1998 and 2001, he was named Appalachian League Manager of the Year in the 1999 season, after leading his team to the best record in the circuit (48-21).
Crabbe joined the Boston Red Sox in 2005, serving as a batting coach for Advanced-A Wilmington Blue Rocks. He was promoted to manage Class-A Lowell Spinners in 2006, working as minors fielding instructor from 2007 to 2009. He returned to manage Lowell in 2010 before joining Advanced-A Salem in 2011. He then rejoined the Spinners in 2012 and will return with them in 2013.
Crabbe describes himself as a player's manager, a player's coach. He also credits his former managers Bobby Jones and Pete Mackanin for honing and nurturing his baseball skills. His guidance and knowledge of the game have nurtured the early careers of top prospects as Aaron Harang (1999), Colby Lewis (1999), Ryan Kalish (2006), Jed Lowrie (2006), Justin Masterson (2006), José Iglesias (2010) and Deven Marrero (2012).
The Boston organization promoted Crabbe as a new coach for Triple A Pawtucket Red Sox in the 2014 season. He was ratified in his position from 2015 to 2016. It marks his 12th season in the Red Sox minor league system.