First-year Ducks skipper becomes second manager in team history to earn honor
(Central Islip, N.Y., Nov. 7, 2019) – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball today announced that Long Island Ducks manager Wally Backman has been named the league’s 2019 Manager of the Year. He becomes the second field manager in team history to receive the honor, joining Bud Harrelson (2000).
“There is no one more deserving of the honor,” said Ducks President/GM Michael Pfaff. “His passion for winning and guidance of an ever-changing roster was vital to our success this season.”
In his first year as Ducks manager, Backman led Long Island to an 86-54 regular season mark. That record was the league’s best, a full 11 games better than any other club. The 86 victories also set a new franchise single-season record, surpassing the previous mark of 82 that was set by former Ducks manager Bud Harrelson during the team’s inaugural season of 2000.
Additionally, Backman saw 15 players have their contracts purchased during the season by Major League Baseball or foreign professional organizations. Of the 15, nine players joined MLB affiliated clubs, four went to the Mexican League and two appeared in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. Included in the group were 13 pitchers, eight of whom were starters and four of which were closers. Right-hander Tim Melville returned to the Major League level after beginning the season with the Ducks, making seven starts with the Colorado Rockies. He was one of three Ducks alumni who reached MLB in 2019.
Behind Backman’s guidance, the Ducks won both the first and second half Liberty Division Championships, accruing identical 43-27 records in each half. It marked just the second time in franchise history that the Ducks won both halves in a single season (2011). The 60-year-old then led the Long Island to a 3-0 series sweep of the High Point Rockers to clinch the Ducks fourth consecutive Liberty Division Championship, becoming the first team in Atlantic League history to accomplish the feat. The 14-year Major League veteran infielder then rallied the Ducks to a 3-2 series win over the Sugar Land Skeeters to earn Long Island its fourth Atlantic League Championship in franchise history and first since 2013.
CLICK HERE to see who was chosen as the Atlantic League’s Player of the Year, Pitcher of the Year, and Rawlings Gold Glove Defensive Player of the Year.
The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball and play their home games at Bethpage Ballpark. For further information, call (631) 940-DUCK or visit www.liducks.com.
About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
With eight teams in the Mid-Atlantic and Texas, the ALPB is a leader in baseball innovation and a player gateway to Major League Baseball. Through its exclusive partnership with MLB, the Atlantic League tests Major League Baseball rules and equipment initiatives. The Atlantic League has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing more than 42 million fans to its affordable, family-friendly ballparks throughout its 22-year history.
For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.