Dana LeVangie was a catcher on the baseball team for two seasons
at American Int’l (1990-91), and left a lasting mark on the
program. As a senior, he batted .462 with 13 home runs and 75 runs
batted in en route to garnering Division II All-American and
Northeast-10 Player of the Year honors. He helped lead the Yellow
Jackets to a 32-12 mark and a trip to the College Baseball World
Series for the first time in school history.
LeVangie still holds the school record for career batting average among players with at least 100 hits (.410). Following his collegiate career, he was drafted by the Boston Red Sox, where he served as the bullpen catcher for eight seasons, including the 2004 championship season.
Feature piece on Levangie courtesy of Jenni Carson (June, 2014) -
Former NE-10 Great Dana Levangie Looking to Help Red Sox Repeat
The 2014 Major League Baseball season is underway, with the defending World Champions the Boston Red Sox looking to defend the title they won in remarkable fashion last year. The team, coming off a disastrous 2012 campaign which led to the surprise shedding of star players Carl Crawford, Adrien Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett to the Los Angeles Dodgers, was predicted by many to finish last in the difficult American League East division.
Yet a stronger than expected pitching staff and an offense led by David Ortiz, still one of the most productive players in baseball at age 37, helped carry the team to the championship under first-year Boston coach John Farrell. Among Farrell’s coaching staff was bullpen coach Dana Levangie, who replaced the retired Gary Tuck before the 2013 season. It was Levangie’s first coaching job at the professional level after 22 years in the Red Sox organization, and a role he reprises this season.
Division II Star Rises to the Majors
The former American International College star was drafted by the Red Sox in the 14th round of the 1991 draft after a record breaking senior season with the Yellow Jackets in which he hit .462 with 13 homeruns and 75 runs batted in. His .410 career batting average still stands as a school record amongst players with at least 100 career hits.
Dana’s exploits helped lead the Yellow Jackets to their first ever berth in the Division II College Baseball World Series after a 32-12 season. They also resulted in him being awarded Division II All-American and Northeast-10 Player of the Year honors. He was inducted into the Yellow Jackets Hall of Fame in 2006, and the Northeast-10 baseball Hall of Fame in 2011.
In 1991, Dana took his first steps into professional baseball, beginning his career with the Elmira Pioneers, Boston’s A affiliate in the New York-Pennsylvania League. While Dana never put up impressive offensive statistics, he advanced as high as the AAA Pawtucket Red Sox in 1995. However, he retired from playing in 1996 at just 26 years of age, and took up a position with the major league club as their bullpen catcher in 1997.
Dana would hold that position until after the 2004 season, during which Boston won its first World Series since 1918, breaking the “Curse of the Bambino”. He would be promoted to scout following that season, and just three years later Boston would win another World Championship. During that 2007 World Series, the Boston scouting staff was praised for helping lead to a decisive pick-off of Matt Holliday by Jonathan Papelbon in the 8th inning of Game 2.
Dana continued in that scouting role until last year, when he made the move to the coaching staff, though he also maintained a role as an advance scout. Last year’s championship proved especially joyous for the organization, not only because of the lowered expectations for the team, but also for the fact that they stepped out of the shadow of the some of the PED controversies that surrounded the 2004 and 2007 championship teams, which included former superstar Manny Ramirez, who has twice been suspended by MLB for PED use. Some purists went so far as to suggest that those championships should have an asterisk beside them because of those teams having known PED users on their roster, while others have asserted that there was likely no clean team during that era and asterisks aren’t needed.
Furthermore, former Red Sox pitcher Curt Schilling, most recently of failed game company 38 Studios, came out with the startling revelation prior to last season that the Red Sox organization actually encouraged PED use, and that he himself was approached by members of the organization with the idea of taking PED’s in 2008 after sustaining the injury that would ultimately end his career.
While presented to him as an innocent way to potentially extend his career since he would be out of baseball anyway if he didn’t, the discussion seemed to ignore the dangers and addictiveness of steroids, which can create dependency and result in withdrawal symptoms when trying to halt usage. Schilling did however clarify that those people who approached him were no longer a part of the organization, clearing long-term members of the team like Dana from having any involvement.
The Red Sox are 1-for-1 in championships with Dana on the coaching staff, and have a strong team expected to contend for another one this season, which would make the former Northeast-10 player a 4-time World Champion and counting.