After six seasons, 466
regular-season wins, 16 playoff victories, three Eastern League Championship
Series appearances and two championships, Thunder manager Tony Franklin can finally
clear a spot on his mantel for a Manager of the Year award.
In a semi-surprise, the team made
the announcement on Thursday after announcing the team agreed to an eight-year
extension of its Player Development Contract with the Yankees.
“We thought it would be
incredibly poignant for him to be a part of this as well and for us to announce
this during what is really the relationship between the Trenton Thunder and the
New York Yankees,” Thunder general manager Will Smith said about Franklin, who
was sandwiched on the dais between Yankees GM Brian Cashman and team CIO Felix
Lopez. “The job that Mr. Franklin does is a huge part of that relationship as
It’s been a long time coming for
Franklin, who had been vocal in the past in wondering why, despite all his
accolades here since 2007, he hadn’t been honored as the circuit’s top skipper.
On Thursday, however, the waiting was over, and he could finally bask in what
Instead, he deferred credit those
around him, including his coaching staff – pitching coach Tommy Phelps, hitting
coach Tom Slater and coach Luis Dorante – and his players.
“Awards like this don’t happen just
by me being down here,” Franklin said after receiving his trophy. “There are a
lot of people that go into helping guys receive these awards. … (My coaches
are) tireless workers, very passionate about what they do (and are) one of the
biggest reasons I get to stand up here and accept all these accolades.
“And of course the people and the
guys who make it all possible are the players that you see out there every
single night. These guys have played tremendously well for us, and I can’t say
enough about how they’ve played this season. And I know they’ll continue to do
it and uphold the Yankee tradition.”
With that out of the way, there’s
one last honor before Franklin seals his legacy as the greatest and most prolific
franchise history, but he’ll have to wait a little longer for this one, after
he’s finally rescinded the Thunder’s helm.
In a few years, Franklin will
almost certainly join Ken Macha and DeMarlo Hale as the only former Thunder
skippers to be inducted into the 15-member Trenton Baseball Hall of Fame.
When that day comes, he’ll
finally be able to sit back and rest on his laurels. For now, though, his focus
is the same as it has been since the day has hired – sending players to the big
leagues and bringing another trophy to Trenton.