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Omaha's Jirschele nets 1,000th victory05/23/2011 11:58 PM ET
By Andrew Pentis / Special to MLB.com
The Omaha Storm Chasers' Mike Jirschele won't accept the credit, but he welcomes the milestone.
Jirschele secured his 1,000th career Minor League managerial victory Monday in the Storm Chasers' 2-1 win over the Tucson Padres before 5,166 fans at Werner Park.
"I guess it means I have been here a long time, here in the Minor Leagues," the 52-year-old said. "It's exciting. It's nice to win 1,000 games, I guess. But I don't look at it as I won those games; The teams that I have had in the past, they're the guys that won the games -- the players out there playing."
Jirschele is in his 15th season managing in the Royals' organization and his second stint at the helm for Omaha. His overall record stands at 1,000-956. (He has a ways to go to catch leader Stan Wasiak, who won 2,530 games over 37 seasons.)
Until last Tuesday -- after the final game of his club's four-game sweep in Colorado Springs -- Jirschele wasn't even aware of his impending achievement. Team broadcaster Mark Nasser caught up with Jirschele and asked, "You know what win that was for you?"
"No, I have no idea," Jirschele responded.
"Nine-hundred-and-ninety-nine," Nasser said.
The franchise went 81-63 last season -- Jirschele's best since going 99-44 at Class A Advanced Wilmington in 1994 -- and the Storm Chasers are off to a 24-20 start this season.
"I don't pay attention to wins or losses on my record," he said. "I have a job to do: to develop players and get them to the big leagues. That's what I concentrate on."
But Jirschele recognizes that the two are related -- his career mark has been helped by players who were one step from the Majors and often made it there. He said he also credited the Royals' Dayton Moore-led regime -- in place since 2006 -- for stockpiling capable players throughout the organization.
"You got to have the talent on the field to compete day-in and day-out," he said. "Last year and this year, that's exactly what we have."
This season, the Storm Chasers have trudged on despite losing the likes of heralded first baseman Eric Hosmer and starter Danny Duffy to Kansas City's greener pastures.
"In the past, when we lost guys, we were like, 'Who are we going to get now to fill those voids?'" Jirschele said. "And right now, with the way our Minor League system is, we have people below [Triple-A] that are able to come up and do a good job."
A good example of that cropped up in Monday's milestone win. Reliever Mario Santiago, just up from Double-A Northwest Arkansas, pitched two scoreless innings to earn his first save.
Santiago succeeded veteran starter Kevin Pucetas (4-1), who allowed one Tucson run over seven strong innings.
Johnny Giavotella, one of the Royals' top middle-infield prospects, plated the game's first run with a third-inning single.
"He has done a super job," Jirschele said. "He has come up with a lot of big hits for us."