James Sarkis Essian, Jr. (born January 2, 1951 in Detroit, Michigan) is an American former baseball catcher and occasional infielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and Cleveland Indians.
He was signed by the Phillies at age 18, but he only amassed 24 at-bats over three seasons. In 1975, he was traded to the Braves for Dick Allen and Johnny Oates, but in May, he was sent to the White Sox to complete a trade the Braves made for Allen. In 1978, he was traded to the Athletics, where his playing time diminished. After brief stints in Cleveland and Seattle, he retired in 1985 after being cut in spring training by the A's.
Essian later became a coach for the Chicago Cubs, and in 1991 he became manager for the Cubs after Don Zimmer was fired. He finished that year 59-63. Essian was the first ever manager in baseball of Armenian heritage.
A Cubs blog, "Hire Jim Essian," was named in honor of the former Cubs' manager and has an author patterned after him named "Skip" due to Essian's insistence that his former players refer to him as "Skip Johnson."
He is the current head coach of Greek National Baseball Team.
By Dean Hanley
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