TRENTON — Finally.
At the press conference in which the Thunder and Yankees extended their player development contract, Tony Franklin was named the 2012 Eastern League Manager of the Year. In his sixth season with the club, the extraordinarily popular 62-year-old skipper has led his team to a 77-60 record, good for first place in the Eastern Division.
He’s also won two championships, and led Trenton to four playoff appearances in six seasons, but had never before won the award. In true Franklin fashion, he deflected the attention from himself, instead choosing to acknowledge his coaching staff and players when handed the honor.
“I humbly accept this. This is a really, really, really nice honor,” he said.
“But awards like these don’t happen by me being out there, there are a lot of people that go into helping guys receive these awards…my coaching staff; pitching coach Tommy Phelps, coach of everything Luis Dorante and our hitting coach extraordinare, we’ve hit like crazy, Tommy Slater. They’re all tireless workers, very experienced and passionate about what they do. They’re one of the biggest reasons why I can stand up here and accept all these accolades.
“Of course, the players are the ones that make it all possible. They’re the ones out there every single day. These guys have played tremendously well for us, and I can’t say enough about how well they’ve played this season. I know that they’ll continue to do it.”
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who was present for the news conference, joined a long list of those raving about the efforts of Franklin, who is 99 games over .500 as Thunder manager (482-383).
“Tony’s an ace,” Cashman said.
“He’s such a pro. He’s done so much for our franchise, our players are in great hands with him here. He’s obviously been great here in the community. He’s just got the perfect demeanor for what we’re looking for at this level. Trusting him with our assets at this level has been very easy to do since he came to us.”
Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com