ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- The inaugural recipient of Minor League Baseball's annual Mike Coolbaugh Award is Oklahoma City RedHawks manager Bobby Jones. He will be honored, along with Minor League Baseball's four other major award winners, during the Baseball Winter Meetings™ to be held December 8-11 at the Las Vegas Hilton.
The Coolbaugh Award is presented to an individual who has shown an outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field. Oklahoma City RedHawks manager Bobby Jones has been teaching the game and imparting his wisdom on players for the past 19 seasons, all in the Texas Rangers organization.
"I am so proud and honored to be the first recipient of the Mike Coolbaugh Award," expressed Jones. "This is very special to me. Mike was a great guy, devoted to baseball and
his family. I feel very lucky to have known him and had him play for me on one of my clubs. I am extremely proud to accept this prestigious award named in his honor."
Jones ranks seventh among active Minor League managers with 1,285 wins. He has led two clubs to league championships; the 1989 Charlotte Rangers (Florida State) and the 1998 Tulsa Drillers (Texas). Four of his last six Oklahoma clubs have won division championships.
Bobby became a Minor League manager in 1988 after playing professionally for 21 years, including parts of nine seasons from 1974-86 in the Major Leagues. His playing career was put on hold when he served 14 months in Vietnam from December 1969 to February 1971.
He has spent all, or parts, of another three seasons as a Major League coach with the Rangers. Texas registered the most outfield assists (41) in the Major Leagues in 2006 when
Jones was the outfield instructor.
"Bobby Jones is a career baseball man who exemplifies what is good about our sport," said Minor League Baseball President Pat O'Conner. "As a successful player, a dedicated manager and coach, a military veteran and loyal member of the Texas Rangers organization, Bobby's career to date is worthy of receiving recognition through the Mike Coolbaugh Award. We congratulate Bobby on this much deserved
Other 2008 Minor League Baseball Major Award Winners:
John H. Johnson President's Trophy (outstanding club operation) - Cedar Rapids Kernels
Larry MacPhail Trophy (outstanding club promotion) - Ogden Raptors
Warren Giles Award (outstanding league president) - Don Mincher, Southern League
Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year (outstanding female executive) - Carol Gehr, Hagerstown Suns
Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award (outstanding player development executive) - Jim Rantz, Minnesota Twins