By Mike Harrington
Seattle Mariners third-base coach Jeff Datz, who managed the Bisons to the 1998 International League championship and a berth in the Las Vegas Triple-A World Series, announced today he has been diagnosed with cancer and might be away from the team for periods of time. The kind of cancer was not disclosed, although Datz has a history of skin cancer; the Seattle Times, however, is saying this is not related.
"The good news is that it was caught very early, and I have great support from my wife, my family, Eric (Wedge), the coaches and staff, all the players and the Mariners organization," Datz said in a written statement released to the media.
Datz, 53, worked under Wedge for eight years in Cleveland, including the 2007 Indians team that fell one win shy of the World Series. They first started working closely in 1998, when Datz was managing the Bisons and Wedge was at Double-A Akron.
Datz's '98 Buffalo team wiped out a huge deficit in the IL North to finish 81-62 and win the division by a half game. The Bisons then swept Syracuse and won the IL title with a Game Five win at Durham before losing the World Series to New Orleans in four games. The Herd was 72-72 under Datz in 1999.