Life Changing: Tony Perezchica has learned to appreciate the little things

Tony Perezchica’s daughter, Jasmine, plays softball for the UA. The Diamondbacks’ third-base coach takes every opportunity to talk baseball with her. (Jill Weisleder/ Arizona Diamondbacks)

By James Lotts

When Tony Perezchica’s father died in January, he learned to take a step back and enjoy life.

The Arizona Diamondbacks third base coach says it was an eye-opener.

“Sometimes we say, ‘Hey, we’re going to be here forever,’” Perezchica says.

“We’re not. My dad passed in January. So, I started thinking about how I had to enjoy life. I have to enjoy what I do. I have to enjoy the people who are around me. I have to enjoy the people who put me in this position and give thanks to all of them.”

Perezchica began his professional baseball career in 1984, when he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the third round. With the Everett Giants of the Northwest League, he batted .193. He then played for the Class-A Clinton Giants of the Midwest League in 1985, the Class-A Fresno Giants of the California League in 1986, and the Double-A Shreveport Captains of the Texas League the following year.

In 1988, 1990 and 1991, Perezchica split time with the Triple-A Phoenix Firebirds and the Major League Giants. Placed on waivers, he was claimed by the Cleveland Indians in August 1991.

He played between the Indians and Triple-A Colorado Springs Sky Sox and the Double-A Albany-Colonie Yankees before ending his career in 1995 with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers.

Two years later, he began his coaching career, aiding hitters for the Double-A Norwich Navigators. His resume also includes stints with the Triple-A Columbus Clippers and Class-A Greensboro Bats.

He moved on to managing with the Rookie-Level Missoula Osprey and the Class-A South Bend Silver Hawks and Tennessee Smokies.

Perezchica was hired as the D-backs’ third-base coach after the 2016 season, promoted from minor league fielding coordinator.

Perezchica has been in the Valley since 1984, when he signed with the Giants. Then living in Downtown Scottsdale, he acknowledges the growth of the area.

“Things have changed so much here. Things have grown so much,” Perezchica says. “It’s beautiful. I love the Valley. Love the Valley.”

Perezchica says that when he is not at Chase Field, he shops at the mall or travels throughout Arizona. He says he loves his daily morning routine.

“I love to drink coffee in the morning just to wake myself up,” Perezchica says. “But that, and then the routine is to drink a coffee, do my daily walk. My daily 30-minute walk is like meditation. When I’m walking, I’m thinking about the day, thinking about what happened yesterday and then just moving on.”

Perezchica’s daughter, Jasmine, just wrapped up her junior year at the UA, for which she plays softball. Perezchica says he cherishes the time he spends with Jasmine when he visits Tucson.

“I’ll drive down to Tucson, go have dinner,” he says.

“She wants to hit, we go hit, we go talk. I’m there for maybe three hours and then I drive back. On days that we have night games, the following day I can maybe spend the night at a hotel over there, but I really enjoy that time with her because she’s off living her own life now. It’s amazing how that works and how quickly it goes, and you just try to enjoy every minute that you can while you’re around them.”

Perezchica says he loves coaching because each day is different. Many think professional baseball is monotonous, but he disagrees.

“Everybody says, ‘Oh, it’s the same thing every day.’ Well, baseball is not. I mean, we play 162 games in a season,” he says.

“We have to make sure we maintain a good diet. You have to keep a good schedule, whether it’s on the road or the East Coast or whether it’s home.”

Perezchica says he enjoys working with the younger guys and seeing them develop as they get older, like infielder Geraldo Perdomo.

“He’s one of the best infield coaches I have ever had so far,” Perdomo says. “I treat him like my dad or my grandpa. We’re pretty close. I need to take advantage of all the stuff he gives to me like I listen all the time. I just have really enjoyed my moments with him.”

While many people might think someone in their mid-50s might be slowing down, Perezchica says he is as energetic as ever, especially when it comes to helping out as a coach on the field.

“Even though I’m 56 years old, I still feel like I have an active enough body,” Perezchica says.

“I can go out and do the things that they need from me on the field and make sure that they’re getting consistent work from me.”