MWL Manager of Year wins 700th

Bustabad hits milestone on same day he's honored by league

Steve Smith and J.B. Paxson douse Juan Bustabad after the milestone win. (Nick Anderson)

By Staff | August 24, 2010 9:01 PM

Tuesday was an historic day in the life of Great Lakes manager Juan Bustabad, for more than one reason.

Bustabad was named the Midwest League Manager of the Year earlier in the day when the circuit's Postseason All-Star Squad was released. And then he snared his 700th career victory when the Loons bested the West Michigan Whitecaps, 9-3.

The Dodgers' Class A affiliate also broke the franchise record with its 82nd victory of the year. With 6,079 fans in attendance, a new Dow Diamond attendance mark also was set.

"We win the game first of all," Bustabad said. "We get 82 wins to break the franchise record of 81, I get my 700th victory as a manager and we get the largest crowd ever. So it's three for the price of one."

Great Lakes improved to 82-44, exceeding the previous best of 81-59, set by the Bustabad-led squad last year. The Loons defeated West Michigan in the first round of the playoffs, but fell to eventual league champion Fort Wayne in the best-of-3 Eastern Division series.

"It was a great night," Bustabad said. "We needed a game like that to tie the series with West Michigan, [who] had been playing good. We needed to step up and try to even the series here and that's what we did."

Greg Wilborn (4-1) scattered four hits and a walk while fanning seven over six scoreless innings in the milestone win. The left-hander also allowed four hits in seven shutout frames in his previous start Aug. 19.

Blake Smith doubled twice, drove in three runs and scored twice, Jaime Ortiz smacked a two-run homer and Brian Ruggiano added a solo shot.

Bustabad has skippered the Loons for the past three seasons. He's spent nine years managing for the Dodgers, 14 years is the Minors and is the winningest active manager in the organization.

The Cuban native played professional baseball for nine seasons, advancing as far as Triple-A before beginning his managerial career.

Oakland drafted Bustabad fifth overall in 1979, but he opted to attend Miami-Dade North College instead. Boston selected him first overall in the 1980 Draft, and he spent his first six seasons in the Red Sox organization and his last three with the Dodgers.

He compiled a career average of .247 with six homers, 253 RBIs and 128 stolen bases.

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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