Robert Daniel Didier (born February 16, 1949) is a former catcher in Major League Baseball who played for three different teams from 1969 through 1974. Listed at 6 feet (1.8 m), 190 pounds (86 kg), he was a switch-hitter who threw right-handed.
Didier was a talented catcher whose promising career was cut short by a litany of injuries. He entered the majors in 1969 with the Atlanta Braves, playing for them four years before joining the Detroit Tigers (1973) and Boston Red Sox (1974). In his rookie season, Didier appeared in a career-high 114 games, helping his team win the National League West Division title. At the end of the season, he finished fourth in the Rookie of the Year vote (behind Ted Sizemore, Coco Laboy and Al Oliver and over Larry Hisle) and also was named to the 1969 Topps All-Star Rookie Roster. After that, he suffered arm and back problems and played only in 133 games over the next five seasons. While in Atlanta, he became the preferred catcher of knuckleballer Phil Niekro.
Didier was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States. In a six-season career, he was a .229 hitter (172-for-751) with 32 RBI and 32 runs without home runs. As a catcher, he collected 1276 outs, 119 assists, and committed only nine errors in 1404 chances, for a solid .994 fielding percentage.
Following his playing retirement, Didier managed in the minor leagues for the Tigers, White Sox, Dodgers and Cubs organizations. In the majors, he has coached for the Athletics and Mariners, and also has worked as a catching coordinator in the Arizona Diamondbacks system.
In 2007 Didier was part of the coaching staff at Major League Baseball's Academy in Tirrenia, Italy. The academy, for 55 elite players from 17 countries in Europe and Africa, was held from August 9 through August 30. The players were chosen by major league scouts at tryouts in Europe during the month of April. Didier joined Chinese Olympic team manager Jim Lefebvre as well former major leaguers Barry Larkin, Bruce Hurst, Lee Smith and John Cangelosi. He is currently the manager of the Yakima Bears.
By Dean Hanley
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