Catching Up with Orv Franchuk

In 2011 the Edmonton Capitals won the North American Baseball League Championship in the league’s inaugural season. In 2012, due to the small number of teams who had signed on to return to the league(only 4 teams had registered for the 2012 season), the Capitals decided to withdraw from the North American League, leaving players and managers to search for a new team. Manager Orv Franchuk was one of those individuals.
Franchuk is a bit of a baseball nomad. From humble beginnings in Wandering River, Alberta, Orv made his way to Florida to attend the Dick Howser baseball school. He played minor pro ball in the Western Canadian League before getting a job as the Head Coach of the Pepperdine University baseball team while also receiving a full scholarship to attend. His first foray into the managerial world of professional baseball came in the late 80’s when he got a job within the California Angels system as their hitting coach for their Single-A affiliate in Idaho while still also teaching in Alberta during the off-season. In 1995 he made his way to Edmonton as hitting and catching coordinator for the Oakland Athletics Triple-A club, the Edmonton Trappers, a position he held for 8 years.
“It had to be a full time position so they kind of put the pressure on me to say “Hey, you got to do this full time or we’re going to have to get somebody else.” So I packed the education thing in and decided to do the baseball thing full time.”
In 2003 he became the minor league hitting coordinator for the Boston Red Sox and received a championship ring for his efforts from their 2004 World Series win. From there he moved on to be a hitting coordinator for Houston, Oakland again and then San Diego before getting a call in 2010 to come back to Edmonton and manage the Capitals.
“It just seemed like the right thing to do, making that full circle, going back to my roots, where everything kind of started for me, and kind of going back home again, so it really was a no brainer.”
Last year with the team on hiatus, but still under contract, Franchuk ran baseball camps and clinics but just couldn’t shake that desire to get back on the field.
“All that stuff was fun but it was tough not to be in the heat of the action, but now I’m involved in this, in the Southern League where it’s going to be hot and humid all summer, but at least it’s better than the cold, right?”
With numerous options available to him, Franchuk ultimately decided on a job within the Los Angeles Dodgers organization as their hitting coach for their Double-A affiliate, the Chattanooga Lookouts in Tennessee.
“The Dodgers seemed like the best fit, new regime, new ownership, there were people in player development that I knew, that I trusted and I’m happy that I’m here, I mean, big league camp was unbelievable.”
The opportunity to work with some of the top prospects within the Dodgers organization also helped sway Franchuk’s decision, with a few players in particular that have intrigued him.
“We’ve got a kid here named Yasiel Puig from Cuba, a big league prospect who is probably going to be in the big leagues very soon, and another kid by the name of Joc Pederson, so that’s why they were interested in me, they wanted a guy with some experience.”
With contracts only being handed out on a year to year basis in the minor leagues now, Franchuk’s future is not set in stone but knows a return to Edmonton is always a possibility.
“Always interested in coming back to Edmonton, I mean you always have to weigh the pros and cons, it has always kind of been like going back home, so I would always be interested.”
No matter what the future holds however, Orv knows what really counts, and he is making sure he is enjoying every minute of it.
“I have a passion for what I do, I love the game and I’ve been blessed to be able to do what I love for all these years.”
– Nick Berry