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Trenton's Franklin EL's top manager

Thunder skipper named 2012 EL Manager of the Year
08/30/2012 3:49 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro

Tony Franklin (left) accepts his award from Thunder COO and GM Will Smith.(Mike Ashmore)
Chalk up another award for the Yankees Minor League system, as Trenton’s Tony Franklin was named the Eastern League’s Manager of the Year on Thursday.

The award was presented to Franklin by Thunder COO and GM Will Smith at a press conference at Waterfront Park, and was the second big announcement of said conference; moments earlier, Thunder President Joe Finley had revealed that the team had signed an extension to their Player Development Contract with the Yankees that will keep the Bombers’ Double-A affiliation in Trenton through 2022.

Franklin, 62, is in his sixth season at the helm of the Thunder, but this marks his first EL Manager of the Year award. As of Thursday, he has a 482-383 record with the Thunder, and in six seasons, has led the team to four playoff berths (including 2012), three Eastern League Championship Series appearances, and back-to-back EL titles in 2007 and 2008.

He is also the second Baby Bombers skipper to earn Manager of the Year honors already this season, as Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s Dave Miley earned the IL’s top skipper nod on Tuesday. And, in one last piece of Yankees synergy, Franklin takes the crown as reigning EL Manager of the Year away from a former Yankee: catcher Sal Fasano, who played for the Bombers in 2006 and is now the manager of the Blue Jays’ Double-A affiliate, the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

“I humbly accept this. This is a really, really, really nice honor,” Franklin said, “but awards like these don’t happen by me being out there, there are a lot of people that go into helping guys receive these awards. My coaching staff (are) all tireless workers … and of course, the players are the ones that make it all possible, and I can’t say enough about how well they’ve played this season.”

While Franklin himself was humble about his accomplishments, Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wasn’t shy about heaped praise on his skipper.

“Tony’s an ace; he’s done so much for our franchise, and our players are in great hands with him here,” Cashman told the media. “He’s obviously been great here in the community. He’s just got the perfect demeanor for what we’re looking for at this level. Trusting him with our assets at this level has been very easy to do since he came to us.”

Just a few hours after accepting his award, Franklin also has a chance to pilot his team to a third piece of history on Thursday night. Trenton is already assured of a spot in the Eastern League playoffs, but a win over New Britain in their regular-season home finale, coupled with a Reading loss to Binghamton, would make the Thunder the EL’s Eastern Division Champions.

Follow Lou DiPietro on Twitter: @LouDiPietroYES

Special thanks to Thunder beat writer Mike Ashmore for providing information used in this report.
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