Why hasn't Tony Franklin been the Manager of the Year?
Players on his teams have led the league in strikeouts (Alan Horne, 2007), ERA (Zach McAllister, 2009) and been named Pitcher of the Year (Horne, 2007) Most Valuable Player and Rookie of the Year (Brandon Laird, 2010).
The number that I’m sure he’d tell he’s most proud of, however, is 38. That’s how many players his teams have sent to the major leagues in just four years’ time, and that’s excluding all rehab appearances or players who were in the show before coming to the Thunder.
Yet for all that success in the standings, record books and developmental fronts, Franklin has failed to secure even one Manager of the Year honor in the Eastern League, and he hasn’t the slightest clue why.
“For whatever reason, they’ve chosen someone else,’’ Franklin said. “Would I have liked to receive the award? Yeah. I think I have done enough to receive the award. … I put a lot into this, just like the players put a lot into it, and you like to be recognized for some of the good things you do.”
Altoona’s Matt Walbeck won it this year, Akron’s Mike Sarbaugh took the award in 2009 and Bowie’s Brad Komminsk picked up the hardware in 2008. Walbeck also was the league’s top skipper in 2007 with Altoona, when the Curve finished just five games above .500, at 73-68.
The topic was broached as to whether his spate of ejections this season (there’s no official tally, but the consensus seems to be that he’s been run eight times) may have played a factor. Franklin acknowledged that it may have come into play, but sincerely hopes that it didn’t.
“I’ve always tried my best not to go out there just for the sake of sticking up for your players. I do, but when I do go out to stick up for my players, I feel like it’s a pretty legitimate reason,” Franklin said. “If my player gets upset and I feel he’s not right about why he’s arguing the call, I won’t go.”
Regardless of what the league’s voters say (the ballot results aren’t made public), it’s clear that Franklin has done more than enough to earn the award. He’ll just have to settle for the two championship rings instead.