WALLY BACKMAN RETURNS AS MANAGER OF THE NEW YORK METS TRIPLE-A AFFILIATE; BEGINS FIRST SEASON AS MANAGER OF THE LAS VEGAS 51s FOR 2013 CAMPAIGN;
GEORGE GREER RETURNS AS HITTING COACH;
RANDY ST. CLAIRE NAMED PITCHING COACH
LAS VEGAS: The Las Vegas 51s professional baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL), Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets, announced today, in conjunction with the Mets Media Relations Department, that Wally Backman will return as manager for the Mets Triple-A affiliate for the 2013 season. Backman will begin his first season as manager of Las Vegas and was named the 22nd manager in the history of the Las Vegas franchise (1983 – 2012, 30 seasons).
The 51s coaching staff was also announced as Randy St. Claire will begin his first season as pitching coach and George Greer will return for his second season as hitting coach. Joe Golia will also return for his third season as Athletic Trainer for the Triple-A Mets (first season with the 51s) and Ronald Kenyatta will return for his 12th season as Strength Coach for the Triple-A Mets (first season with the 51s).
Backman, 53, guided Triple-A Buffalo of the International League to a 67-76 (.469) record in his inaugural Triple-A season in 2012. He will enter his second season as manager on the Triple-A level and his fourth season with the Mets organization since his playing days.
“We’re excited to have such a skilled and experienced staff leading the 51s in our inaugural season, as we expect to have some of the most talented players in our player development system in Las Vegas,” Mets Vice President, Player Development & Amateur Scouting Paul DePodesta said.
He has compiled a 10-year minor league managerial record of 601-564 (.516) in the Chicago White Sox, Arizona and New York Mets organizations from 2001-04 & 2010-12 and three seasons in the Independent League (2007-09). In 2011, he led Double-A Binghamton of the Eastern League to a 65-76 (.461) mark and, in 2010, managed Single-A Brooklyn of the New York-Penn League to a 51-24 record (.680) and the Cyclones captured the McNamara Division title.
Backman managed the Joliet JackHammers of the Independent Northern League for two seasons (2008 & 2009). He returned to baseball in 2007 as skipper of the South Georgia Peanuts of the Independent South Coast League and led the team to the league title and was featured on a TV documentary called “Playing for Peanuts.” He was named the Arizona Diamondbacks manager on November 1, 2004 but was relieved of his duties on November 5, 2004. He led the Lancaster Jethawks (Single-A) of the California League to a 86-54 record during the 2004 campaign and was named Minor League Manager of the Year by The Sporting News. He began his managerial career in 2001 with the Chicago White Sox organization at the helm of Single-A Winston-Salem of the Carolina League. He spent two seasons with Double-A Birmingham (2002-03) of the Southern League and led the team to the 2002 League Championship.
He began his professional career in 1977 when selected by the New York Mets in the first round (16th overall pick) of the Major League Baseball Draft. He played 14 seasons in the Major Leagues as an infielder (2B, SS, 3B) with the New York Mets (1980-88), Minnesota (1989), Pittsburgh (1990), Philadelphia (1991-92) and Seattle (1993). Backman appeared in 1,102 games and batted .275 (893-for-3,245) with 138 doubles, 19 triples, 10 home runs, 240 RBI and 117 stolen bases in 169 attempts. He was a member of the 1986 Mets World Series championship team and hit a career-high .320 (124-for-387) during the season. He recorded back-to-back seasons of 30 stolen bases or more in 1984 & 1985 (32 stolen bases in 41 attempts & 30 SB’s in 42 attempts). In 1990, as a member of Pittsburgh, he collected six hits in a game on April 27 vs. San Diego.
Backman graduated from AlohaHigh School in Hillsboro, Oregon and was inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 2002.