Wally Inches Back(man)

By
Real Estate Agent with RE/MAX Top Properties

 Wally Backman was hired by the Northern League's Joliet Jackhammers in mid- December to be their new manager!  Woopdie Doo, you say? Well Mr. Backman has an interesting story. You probably remember Backman best from his days throughout the 1980s with the New York Mets. Backman was selected 16th overall by the New York Mets in the first round of the 1977 draft.  After making his way through the Mets minor league system as a second baseman, he was eventually called up in September of 1980. As a member of the World Championship team in 1986, he and teammate Len Dykstra  became known as the "Partners in Grime" due to their blue-collar style of play.

After 14 seasons of playing infield, Backman joined the ranks of coaching. Backman's first managerial job came in the independent Northeast League with the Catskill Cougars in 1997.  After that, he managed two other Western League teams in Bend and Tri-City, and won the Western League Championship with Tri-City in 1999. Backman then went on to manage four seasons of affiliated minor league baseball with the Chicago White Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks.  He spent 2001 in Winston-Salem (A) and 2002 through 2003 with Birmingham (AA), where he won the Southern League title in 2002.  In 2004, he led Lancaster (A) to the California League Championship series and was named "Minor League Manager of the Year" by The Sporting News.

On November 1, 2004, Backman was hired by the Arizona Diamondbacks to be their new manager......... That's when his life turned around.

A few short days later, it was revealed that Backman Backman had serious legal and financial problems. He had also been arrested in 1999 for DUI in Washington. A year later, he was arrested in connection with an alt ercation in his home in Prineville, Oregon. In addition, he'd declared bankruptcy to avoid paying over 20 creditors, including the IRS.[1] The Diamondbacks initially stood by him, but fired him on November 5.

Just when his life's goals and dreams should have been taking shape; he was facing his toughest days. Backman sat out of baseball for two years.

In making a "comeback", B ackman managed the South Georgia Peanuts in the inaugural season of the independent South Coast League.  He was named "Manager of the Year" after posting a 59-28 record and leading the Peanuts to the South Coast League Championship. But the season wasn't all happy-go-lucky, which isn't a shock to those aware of Backman's gritty, brash style. Backman was suspended three times, he fought with the league over everything from umpiring to drug policy (leaving a pretty nasty voice mail for the higher-ups), he confronted another team's radio announcer - he even quit and vowed to head home to Oregon, returning three days later.

Jackhammers games are always pretty fun. The talent of baseball isn't there....but it's nice to see young guys work their butts of for peanuts and a chance to make their dreams come true. One thing is for certain, it'll be a fun summer in Joliet.

Posted by

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jim Ludes is a REALTOR with Century 21 Coleman-Hornsby in Grundy and Will County, IL. If you have a question about real estate that he might be able to help with, email him at Jim@JimLudes.com or call/text at 815-712-7786. If you'd rather observe from afar or become friends first, check him out at:

Twitter dropLinkedin drop Facebook drop  Caricature drop

close

This entry hasn't been re-blogged:

Re-Blogged By Re-Blogged At
Location:
Illinois Grundy County
Tags:
baseball
joliet
jim ludes

Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Spam prevention
Show All Comments
Rainer
234,135
BLR Guy
BLRGUY(Beach & Luxury Realty Inc) - Saint Pete Beach, FL
Jim,I remember that...that was pretty close to the shortest managerial stint I have ever seen!
Jan 09, 2008 09:25 PM #1
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
just edged out George O'Leary by a day I think for shortest stint I can think of.......if you don't count Belichick as the Jets coach! :)
Jan 10, 2008 01:31 AM #2
Rainer
333,643
Danny Thornton
R & D Art - Knoxville, TN
WordPress Guru
Jim, these are the kind of coaches that I hate. But, then again, some players respond well to these types.
Jan 10, 2008 03:12 AM #3
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
What kind of guys do you prefer, Danny? The laid back Dusty Baker style?
Jan 10, 2008 03:18 AM #4
Rainer
130,186
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN

Do you know what his beef was with the drug policy? Hopefully he wasn't encouraging the use of steroids for players.

Jan 10, 2008 03:24 AM #5
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
2 of his players got suspended after testing positive for a masking agent....He claimed that they were only taking supplements and that's what triggered it.....also was upset because they're not supposed to be suspended until second offense. I wouldn't think a guy of his style would encourage steroids....but you never know!
Jan 10, 2008 03:28 AM #6
Rainer
130,186
Rich Dansereau
Positive Real Estate Professionals - Knoxville, TN
Thanks for the info! I don't know anything about him except what you blogged. From your blog, his style seems quite troubled and confrontational. He seems like one who doesn't always play by the rules (laws); that is why I asked about his issue with the drug policy.
Jan 10, 2008 03:35 AM #7
Rainer
69,596
Jim Ludes
RE/MAX Top Properties - Coal City, IL
Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
Yea, it seems he's an old-school gamer with a cocky attitude. He's got a DUI on the record and an ex that accused him of some sort of spousal abuse....his new wife claims she has never seen anything close to that out of him. I wonder how much is just blown out of proportion and how much is him being a meat-head. He knows baseball though...I'd like to get a chance to meet him this summer, see what he's got to offer.
Jan 10, 2008 03:40 AM #8
Rainer
122,409
Jim Albano
Prudential Damiano Realty - Little Falls, NJ
Team - Jean-Marie Vantuno / Realtors North Jersey Real Estate

Backman was the kind of ballplayer that anyone would want on their team. He didn't have the most talent in the world, but he gave 100% everyday out on the field. He also was the perfect compliment to leadoff hitter Dykstra in the number 2 hole. He was a good contact hitter, not a lot of power, but was great at advancing the runner. And he never left the field with a clean uniform.

Too bad he's had so much trouble during his post playing career.

Jan 10, 2008 12:56 PM #9
Rainer
35,290
Rob Baldwin
US ECO-GREEN REAL ESTATE INC. - Santa Clarita, CA
REALTOR, Santa Clarita
No wonder the guy has had a hard life. He pissed off all the time, who would'nt with a name like "Wally"
Jan 20, 2008 06:38 AM #10
Post a Comment
Spam prevention
Show All Comments

What's the reason you're reporting this blog entry?

Are you sure you want to report this blog entry as spam?

Rainer
69,596

Jim Ludes

Grundy/Will County, IL REALTOR
Ask me a question
*
*
*
*
Spam prevention

Additional Information