October 8th, 2013 marked the beginning of the 22nd season of the Arizona Fall League. The popularity of this "graduate school" for top prospects has grown exponentially each year since 1992, especially with the explosion of social media; connecting both fans with players and us Seamheads with our need for more information. The AFL isn't just for players, though: this is where umpires and field managers are part of the development system.
Prior to being named first time MLB managers, the only other managerial experience that Dusty Baker, Don Mattingly, and Matt Williams had was in the AFL. Clearly, this is proven training ground.
In 2001, the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame was formed to honor the top major-league players and managers who honed their skills in the AFL. The 2013 Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame class is led by Oakland A's manager Bob Melvin, who will be inducted on Friday, November 8th.
"Our three 2013 honorees increase the Fall League Hall of Fame to 34 members," AFL director Steve Cobb said in a statement. "Besides their outstanding career statistics, Dustin Pedroia and Darin Erstad epitomize the well-rounded way baseball is meant to be played -- offensively, defensively and competitively. Bob Melvin's managerial track record that now includes a remarkable turnaround in Oakland is exemplary."
The 2012 American League (and 2007 National League) Manager of the Year was at the helm in Maryvale for the Arizona Fall League's 1999 season. Melvin is only the 14th manager in MLB history to win Manager of the Year at least twice and just the sixth to achieve the honor in both leagues. BoMel's 1999 Maryvale Saguaros finished second that season, and included the following soon-to-be MLBers: "The Rookie" 35-year-old Jim Morris, Reds' RHP Bronson Arroyo, 2000 Oakland A's LHP Todd Belitz, Mariners' Bucky Jacobsen and two members of the 2010 SF Giants World Series Championship team: Mark DeRosa and Aubrey Huff.
After the successful AFL season, Melvin went on to serve as Bob Brenly's bench coach for the 2001 World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks before his first MLB managerial job with the Seattle Mariners in 2003. In 2005, he returned to Arizona as the field manager, where he served through part of 2009. In addition to having been named NL Manager of the year in 2007, Melvin's 337 wins are still the most by a manager in the D-backs' brief history.
Then, of course we all know that on June 9th, 2011, Bob Melvin became the 17th manager in Oakland A's history. After two-and-a-half seasons, he has led his team to two AL West titles. Not a bad start, at all!
Now, the fun stuff a.k.a. #BoMelNov8AFL
Melvin's induction ceremony will take place on Friday, November 8th at Scottsdale Stadium (7408 E. Osborn Rd, Scottsdale) prior to the AFL game between the Glendale Desert Dogs and Scottsdale Scorpions. The stadium gates will open at 5:30pm and the actual induction will begin at 6:30pm at the home plate area.
Come on, A's fans/supporters! If you're anywhere near Phoenix/Scottsdale on November 8th, come early to the game and celebrate the induction of Bob Melvin into the Arizona Fall League Hall of Fame!
I will be there; join me, won't you?
Tickets are just $7.00 for adults and $6.00 for youth (17 and under) and senior citizens (55+). Seating is open. Tickets can be purchased at the Scottsdale Stadium box office beginning at 5:30pm.
The Glendale Desert Dogs are comprised of members the Dodgers, White Sox, Reds, Marlins and Twins. Scottsdale Scorpions are members of the Giants, Braves, Mets, Pirates and Yankees.
For more information, please visit www.MLBFallBall.com