Joe Calfapietra Named American Association Manager of the Year
In American Association Daily, the Minor League Sports Report and This Week in the Association name their Manager of the Year in the American Association, as Kansas City T-Bones skipper Joe Calfapietra narrowly defeats the Sioux City Explorers Steve Montgomery and the St. Paul Saints George Tsamis to earn the honors.
Kansas City Manager Joe Calfapietra Named Manager of the Year
The Minor League Sports Report and This Week in the Association named their second postseason award on Sunday, naming Kansas City T-Bones Manager Joe Calfrapietra as the American Association Manager of the Year. This was a very close ballot as five managers were given serious consideration for this award, with Calfapietra earning the top honors.
Joe Calfapietra, Kansas City T-Bones
In his second season with the Kansas City T-Bones, Joe Calfapietra led the T-Bones to a 62-37 record and the American Association title, however, the voting occurred before the playoffs began. The 62 wins was a franchise record and was the second straight season the T-Bones finished above .500, as the 2017 team went 57-43.
The 2018 season was the 19th season where Calfapietra has served as manager. He began his career in 2000 with the Allentown Ambassadors of the now defunct Northern League and would be the first manager of the Gary Southshore RailCats in 2002. In 2003, Joe took over the New Jersey Jackals where he would manage for 14 seasons, winning the league title in 2004. He made five successive trips to the finals from 2011 through 2015.
While the 62 win season was quite an achievement, it was the way he found ways to continue to win despite the numerous players that the T-Bones lost during the season that stood out. Kansas City set an American Association record in 2018, having eight players signed by affiliate teams and three leave for Mexico. Despite this, Calfapietra kept the team in the playoff hunt and held off a furious push by the Wichita Wingnuts to earn the final playoff spot in the South Division.
Joe Calfapietra was also chosen by the American Association as the Manager of the Year.
Steve Montgomery, Sioux City Explorers
Steve Montgomery finished a close second in the voting after leading the Sioux City Explorers to the top record in the American Association at 71-29. It was the second season in the last four where Montgomery has led the team to at least 71 victories. The Explorers set the American Association record for wins in 2015 with 75.
The Explorers were hailed as the team to beat by the Minor League Sports Report before the season began, and Montgomery’s team did not disappoint. Not only did the Manager make brilliant moves before the season even began, but he added key pieces during the year, including the signing of Jose Sermo, who was one of the top three candidates for the league’s MVP award.
In any other season, Steve would have likely won the award. It took an A+ job by Calfapietra to defeat him.
George Tsamis, St. Paul Saints
The St. Paul Saints finished the season with just nine players who began the year on the roster, and only two from last year’s squad. Manager George Tsamis did an amazing job of molding the Saints on the fly, eventually leading the team to a tie for first place in the North Division with a 59-41 record.
The moves not only helped to lead the team to the playoffs, they helped to catapult the team to the hottest record over the last five weeks of the season, as St. Paul went 22-10 after July 31. George added players after the season began who made key contributions to the success of the Saints, including team home run leader Burt Reynolds, closer Zack Jones, No. 1 and No. 3 starters Chris Nunn and Trevor Foss, and outfielder Kyle Barrett, who ended the season on a 26 game hitting streak.
Two Other Managers Earned Consideration
This was one of the toughest seasons in terms of choosing a Manager of the Year candidate as five managers deserved serious consideration for the top honors. That also included Gary Southshore RailCats skipper Greg Tagert and Wichita Wingnuts Manager Brent Clevlen. Both managers received consideration and were worthy choices as well. Clevlen won 61 games with the Wingnuts in his first season as a manager, and Tagert led the RailCats to the top record in the North Division despite losing his No. 1 starter.
Featured Image of Joe Calfapietra Courtesy of John Ellis KC T-Bones
By Robert Pannier