Cyclones manager accepts Triple-A call to Tacoma

February 4, 2014 Jim Dolan
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Instead of reporting to the New York Mets Florida spring training camp in Port St. Lucie, within a few weeks, three-term (2011-2013) Brooklyn Cyclone manager Rich Donnelly will be starting camp for the Seattle Mariners as the Triple-A manager for the Tacoma Rainiers in Peoria Arizona.

After managing in Brooklyn for three years, Donnelly got the call to move up the minor league food chain when the Mariners hired a former player that Donnelly coached during the early 1990s in Pittsburgh, new Seattle manager Lloyd McClendon. Looking for a familiar face for McClendon to work with, Donnelly’s name came up, considering his 43 years of coaching experience.

When asked why the Mariners went outside of the organization to make an appointment to their top minor league team, Director of Player Development Chris Gwynn admitted that it was time for a change and stated, “Donnelly’s resume speaks for itself.” Gwynn also noted that, “Tacoma should have a good team and let’s see if they can put it all together.”

For Donnelly, putting it all together means developing and evaluating the talent needed to send up to Seattle to improve a recently losing major league franchise. Managing is the role that the 67-year-old Steubenville, Ohio native has been doing at the minor league level since he was 25 years old.

Facing the start of another year at the same minor league level in 1972, the young Donnelly jumped at the opportunity to manage at the Texas Rangers Western Carolina League Single-A Greenville team and was named Manager of League in his rookie debut.

Over his 13 years of minor league managing, Donnelly has accumulated a record of 836-753 (.526) with various organizations. With the Cyclones over the three past years, Donnelly compiled a record of 128-97, along with two playoff appearances.

Considering himself “a citizen of Brooklyn,” Donnelly enjoyed his summer home in an apartment just minutes away from MCU Park in Brighton Beach, soaking up the diversity of the borough.

When the defacement of the Pee Wee Reese-Jackie Robinson statue outside of MCU Park made national news this past August, it was Donnelly who insisted that the Cyclones pose for their annual end of season team photo in front of the statue in defiance of the vandalism.

“This team photo will show everyone that we all stand together as one in Brooklyn.” Donnelly maintained. “It’s about brotherhood and baseball.”

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