|Infielder / Manager|
|Born: January 19, 1957|
Exeter, California, U.S.
|June 8, 1980, for the Montreal Expos|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 2, 1983, for the Montreal Expos|
|Runs batted in||12|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Bradley Mills (born January 19, 1957) is an American professional baseball player, coach, and manager. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) as an infielder for the Montreal Expos from 1980 to 1983. He managed the Houston Astros from 2010 to 2012, and served as a coach in MLB for the Expos, Philadelphia Phillies, Boston Red Sox, and Cleveland Indians.
Mills was educated at Exeter Union High School in Exeter, California, College of the Sequoias, and the University of Arizona, where he played college baseball for the Arizona Wildcats. He was drafted in the 17th round by the Montreal Expos.
Mills reached the major leagues in 1980 and had a .256 batting average with one home run and 12 runs batted in in 106 games played for the Expos (1980–83). He divided his time between Triple-A and the majors in each of those seasons, and sustained a right knee injury that ended his playing career at the age of 29. A full-time left-handed hitter and primarily a third baseman, he also saw time at first base and second base. In 1983, Mills was Nolan Ryan's 3,509th career strikeout victim, lifting Ryan past Walter Johnson as the all-time strikeout leader.
Mills managed eleven seasons in the minors in the Cubs, Rockies and Dodgers organizations (1987–2002), and also served as an advance scout for the Cubs. Mills was Terry Francona's first-base coach with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1997–2000. In 2003, Mills served as the Montreal Expos bench coach. From 2004 to 2009, Mills was teamed again with Francona when he served as the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox.
On October 27, 2009, Mills was named manager of the Houston Astros, replacing interim manager Dave Clark; he was hired after Manny Acta declined (he elected to manage the Cleveland Indians).
Mills holds the dubious distinction of guiding the Astros to the franchise's first ever 100-loss season, which he did in 2011, the trend continued the following season. Mills was at the forefront of a team that saw former stars traded away from the team such as Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee that slashed payroll under $30 million. By the summer of 2012, rumors spread of a potential firing of Mills, whose team never rose above .500 after April. The team had new ownership during the year as Jim Crane purchased the team from previous owner Drayton McLane the previous fall. Mills was fired on August 18, 2012 along with hitting coach Mike Barnett and first base coach Bobby Meacham. He was succeeded on an interim basis by Oklahoma City RedHawks manager Tony DeFrancesco, as named by first-year general manager Jeff Luhnow. For his part, Mills stated that some of the responsibility was on his part for how the team did, not wanting to point the finger at anybody. The team would go on to finish the season with 100+ losses for the second consecutive year.
On October 31, 2012, Mills was hired as the third base coach of the Cleveland Indians, to work with Francona again. Mills was reassigned as the Indians bench coach in 2014. While coaching for the Boston Red Sox under Francona from 2004 to 2009 he was in the same position. On July 11, 2017, Mills managed the American League All-Star team while Francona dealt with a health issue.
On July 5, 2020, Mills announced he would be opting out of the 2020 season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Indians subsequently announced on October 30, 2020 that Mills will not return as bench coach for the 2021 season, but would remain with the club in an undetermined role.
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Note: Interim while Terry Francona is out with issue