On Friday morning the Heidenheim Heidekoepfe announced that head coach Mike Hartley is not returning for the 2011 season. General Manager Klaus Eckle is taking over until a new head coach has been signed. Mister-Baseball further has learned that shortstop Chris Beck also is not coming back.
The 49-year-old Hartley, who pitched in over 200 games for the Dodgers, Phillies, Twins and Red Sox in the MLB, was at the top of the coaching staff in Heidenheim since the 2008 season. He led the Baseball-Bundesliga club to their first national championship ever in 2009. This year they were the first German team in history to reach the European Champions Cup Final Four, where they lost in ten innings to UGF Bologna in the finals. The Heidekoepfe also reached the Bundesliga finals against the Buchbinder Legionaere Regensburg.
Beck is 25 years old and came to Germany in 2008, when he signed with the Solingen Alligators where played for two seasons. Last winter he left the northern division to join the Heidekoepfe in the south. In three seasons Bundesliga he has a batting average of .457 (OBP .552/SLG .686) with 45 of his 128 hits being for extra bases. He was named MVP in the northern division in 2008 and best batter in 2008 and 2009.
Mister-Baseball is going to have interviews with both in the next couple of days.
Photos: (c) Heidenheim Heidekoepfe