Blaise Ilsley will begin his second season as the team's bullpen coach, after being promoted to that position on Nov. 5, 2012. His current role follows five seasons as the pitching coach for the Cardinals Triple-A Memphis affiliate. He was promoted to the Triple-A club in 2008 after working six seasons as the pitching coach at the Cardinals Double-A affiliate.
His combined 11 seasons with the Cardinals' minor league organization includes overseeing a Memphis pitching staff that led the Pacific Coast League in team ERA in three of his five seasons. One of those years was the 2009 Memphis team that finished 77-67 en route to the PCL playoffs and eventually the league championship. The 2011 staff combined to lead the PCL with a league-best 4.10 ERA and tied for the league lead with a walks+hits/innings pitched ratio of 1.39 on the season.
Ilsley was honored by the Cardinals following the 2004 season with the George Kissell Award, presented annually by the Cardinals for excellence in player development. He came to the Cardinals from the Orioles' organization after serving as the pitching coach for Bluefield in the Appalachian League during the 2001 campaign. Ilsley began his coaching career in 1999 with Winnipeg of the Independent Northern League and moved on to coach at Sioux Falls in 2000. He spent 14 seasons playing in the minor leagues with the Astros, Cardinals, Cubs, Phillies, Indians and Expos, concluding his playing career in 1998.
He appeared in 10 games in the Major Leagues with the Cubs in 1994, making his Major League debut on April 4 of that year. A fourth-round pick of the Houston Astros in 1985, Ilsley was named to the Topps Rookie League All-Star team after leading the New York-Penn League with 116 strikeouts in 90 innings for Class A Auburn. He combined to win 20 games at two minor league stops in 1986. The 1982 graduate of Alpena High School (Mich.) attended Indiana State University.
Ilsley, 50, resides in Sarasota, Fla., with his wife, Jo Anne.