Portland, ME - The Eastern League of Professional Baseball is pleased to announce that Altoona Curve manager Matt Walbeck has been selected as the 2010 Eastern League Manager of the Year. In his second season with the Curve, Walbeck has led his team to a Western Division-best record of 81-59 (.579). Altoona has already clinched a first place finish in the Western Division standings and the Curve currently have a six game lead over the Bowie Baysox and Harrisburg Senators, who are tied for second place. This marks the first time since the 2004 season that Altoona has finished in first place in their division and it is the first postseason berth for the franchise since the 2006 campaign. Matt is joined on his coaching staff this season by pitching coach Tom Filer, hitting coach Ryan Long, athletic trainer Bryan Housand and Strength and Conditioning Coach Chad Uihlein.
Walbeck started his managerial career with the West Michigan Whitecaps of the Midwest League in 2004. In three seasons in West Michigan Matt led the team to a record of 231-185 (.555) and two Midwest League Championships and was named the 2006 Midwest Manager of the Year. Walbeck then received a promotion to the Erie SeaWolves, where he won the 2007 Eastern League Manager of the Year Award after leading Erie to a record of 81-59 and a first place finish in the Southern Division. Matt then spent the 2008 season as the third base coach for the Texas Rangers, his first stint as a Major League coach. Matt joined the Altoona Curve the next year, becoming the fifth manager in franchise history.
Walbeck's career in professional baseball started as a player when he was selected by the Chicago Cubs in the eighth round of the June 1987 draft. Walbeck, who now resides in Fair Oaks, Calif., was a catcher in the Major Leagues from 1993-2003 with the Chicago Cubs, Minnesota Twins, Anaheim Angels, Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers. As a catcher with the Twins, Walbeck caught Scott Erickson's no-hitter on April 27, 1994.
Trenton manager Tony Franklin finished second in the voting for the Manager of the Year Award and New Hampshire skipper Luis Rivera finished in third place in the voting. The award was voted on by respective Eastern League managers, sportswriters, radio and television broadcast personnel and other members of the media.