Tony Franklin swears he didn't know he was approaching a managerial milestone this week, or even this season. On Wednesday, Shaeffer Hall made sure to get both their names into the record books.
Franklin picked up his 1,000th career win as a manager behind seven strong innings from Hall and a six-run insurance rally in the eighth as the Double-A Trenton Thunder beat the Portland Sea Dogs, 10-1.
"It's a pretty big deal," Franklin told NJ.com. "I've been at it for a while now, and I have been fortunate to be able to do so. I'm very grateful to have been in the game as long as I have."
Franklin, according to the Trenton Times, claimed he wasn't aware he was approaching the 1,000-win mark until his players tipped him off Tuesday. He told the paper that he would have flown his family in from California had he known.
"It feels good to get it," she said. "Like most of us who get to these milestones, you have to have some pretty good players and some pretty good teams over the years, and it's worked out very well."
Franklin has managed 42 players at Trenton who have later reached the Majors, including current Yankees like Robinson Cano, Brett Gardner, Ivan Nova and Joba Chamberlain. His 1,000 wins include playoff victories, and the Thunder plan to formally celebrate the milestone later this season once Franklin secures 1,000 regular season victories.
"At any level, that's pretty impressive," Trenton's Addison Maruszak told the paper.
Hall shut down the Sea Dogs, the rival affiliate of the Boston Red Sox, holding the lineup to four hits and a run over seven frames. He struck out three.
"This is pretty special, and I'm excited to be a part of it," Hall told the Times. "That was a good win for us, especially coming off a tough loss. We bounced back with a 10:30 a.m. game, which is not the easiest thing in the world to do, but it showed a lot of character and showed what kind of team we've got."
The Thunder lineup was wide awake in the eighth when it scored six runs thanks to run-scoring hits from Jose Gil, Maruszak, Ronnier Mustelier and Dan Brewer. Mustelier's leadoff homer in the fourth, his first of the season, put Trenton up early. After Portland tied it in the fifth, the Thunder took the lead for good on Walter Ibarra's RBI single with two runners in scoring position.
Franklin, 61, began his managerial career in 1982 -- only one player on Trenton's roster, Major League veteran catcher Gustavo Molina (born Feb. 24, 1982), was alive when Franklin started managing.
Drafted by the Reds in 1970, Franklin spent nine seasons in the Minors with Cincinnati, the Chicago Cubs and Montreal Expos before he began coaching in the Orioles' system in 1979. He took over the field staff at Geneva, the Cubs' New York-Penn League affiliate, in 1982, where he managed for four seasons. His career has included stops at Wytheville (1986), Sarasota (1989-90), St. Petersburg (1989), South Bend (1993) and Trenton (2007-present). He served as a Cubs roving instructor in 1988 and as a Minor League infield coordinator with the White Sox (1994) and Padres (1996-2006).
Franklin led the Thunder to the Eastern League crown in '07 and 2008. Last season was among his most tumultuous, though -- he missed six games early in the year after being hospitalized for chest pains and then nearly got into a physical altercation with his hitting coach, Julius Matos, who lost his cool following an ejection on May 31. Matos was fired and Franklin finished the season, which included a mid-summer rehab visit from Derek Jeter.
"This is what I do," Franklin said last season. "This is what I've always done, and I can't see myself doing anything else at this stage of my life. I still enjoy this. I enjoy teaching baseball to young kids and I'd like to think I do it fairly well."