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Tommy Sandt, former Bisons manager and MLB coach, dies at 69

Tommy Sandt, former Bisons manager and MLB coach, dies at 69

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Tommy Sandt

Tommy Sandt's card from the Buffalo Bisons' 1982 set. 

Tommy Sandt, who managed the Buffalo Bisons in 1982 and went on to have a long career as a major-league coach, died Tuesday at age 69.

Sandt's death was announced on Twitter by longtime Pittsburgh Pirates radio announcer Greg Brown, who called Bisons and Bills games from 1989-1993. No cause of death was given. Sandt was living in Lake Oswego, Ore.

Known throughout his playing and coaching days for his bushy moustache, Sandt appeared in 42 games as an infielder for the Oakland Athletics in 1975-76 and retired as a player in 1981 after appearing for Pittsburgh's Triple-A team in Portland, Ore.

Sandt took the over the Bisons for the '82 season as a 31-year-old making his managerial debut. In its fourth and final season as a Double-A affiliate of the Pirates, Buffalo languished to a 55-84 record in a season in which only 77,077 tickets sold for games in War Memorial Stadium. The average was just 1,109 per contest. 

The '82 season was the final one before Rich Products purchased the debt-ridden club from the group of investors that had brought baseball back to the city in 1979 after a nine-year hiatus.

Sandt moved on to manage at Triple-A Hawaii, posting an 87-53 record in 1984 and earning Pacific Coast League manager of the year honors. 

He was a coach for 10 years in Pittsburgh under manager Jim Leyland, including three straight division championship teams from 1990-92, and was on Leyland's staff in 1997 when the Florida Marlins won the World Series. He also coached with Leyland in Colorado in 1999 before returning to Pittsburgh as a special instructor and first-base coach from 2000-2002 under Lloyd McClendon.

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