Donnelly Returns To Manage Brooklyn Cyclones
Rich Donnelly will serve as the team’s manager for the second consecutive year, while former Cyclones outfielder and 2011 hitting coach, Bobby Malek, returns to Coney Island in the same role for the 2012 campaign. Joining the two Brooklyn veterans as the pitching coach will be Marc Valdes, who spent the 2011 season in the same role with the Binghamton Mets.
Donnelly, 64, begins his second season with the Mets organization and is the eighth manager in Cyclones history. The Steubenville, Ohio native guided the 2011 Cyclones to a 45-29 record and a wild card berth in the playoffs. He began his coaching career in 1972, serving as a minor league manager in the Texas Rangers’ farm system.
In 1980, Donnelly joined the Rangers’ major league staff as the bullpen coach before returning to the minors for two more seasons. Starting in 1983, he began a string of 26 seasons working on the major league level including 14 years as a member of Jim Leyland’s coaching staff with Pittsburgh, Florida and Colorado. Donnelly served as the third base coach for the Marlins during their 1997 World Series title run.
Originally signed as a catcher by the Minnesota Twins in 1967, Donnelly was a third base coach with the Milwaukee Brewers from 2003-2005 and played the same role for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 2006-2007. Before joining the Mets organization, Donnelly worked as a roving instructor for the Pirates while also touring the country as a motivational speaker.
Malek, 30, enters his fourth season as a coach in the Mets minor league system and his second with the Brooklyn Cyclones. Under Malek’s guidance, the 2011 Cyclones finished third in the NYPL in hitting. Originally selected by the Mets in the 4th round of the 2002 MLB Draft out of Michigan State University, the Livonia, Michigan native began his professional career with Brooklyn in 2002.
The two-time college All-American hit .207 (23-111) with Brooklyn in 28 games before having his season cut short due to injury. Before retiring from his playing career in 2008, Malek made it as high as Norfolk (AAA) of the International League in 2006.
Valdes, 40, enters his sixth season with the New York Mets and his first year with the Cyclones. The native of Dayton, OH served as pitching coach with the Binghamton Mets (AA) in 2011, the Savannah Sand Gnats (A) from 2009-2010, and Kingsport Mets (R) from 2007-2008. Valdes pitched in the major leagues for six seasons (1995-2001) with the Florida Marlins, Montreal Expos and Atlanta Braves. In 144 career games, the righthander went 12-15 with four saves and a 4.95 ERA. The resident of Tampa, FL was the first round selection by the Marlins in the 1993 draft after leaving the University of Florida as their all-time leader in wins (31), innings (394.2), and ranked second in strikeouts (351).
“With the success that Rich and Bobby had with the Cyclones in 2011, we are glad to have them back this year,” said Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen. “We’re also excited to welcome Marc Valdes to the Cyclones family and look forward to his first season in Brooklyn.”
Season Tickets, Mini Plans and Group Tickets for the 2012 season are available now at brooklyncyclones.com and 718-37-BKLYN.
The Brooklyn Cyclones are a Short-Season Class A affiliate of the New York Mets. The Cyclones play at MCU Park, in the heart of Coney Island. Last year, the team led the New York-Penn League in attendance for the 11th consecutive season, and has drawn nearly three million total fans. The Cyclones have also advanced to the postseason seven times, winning a league championship in 2001 and a total of five McNamara Division titles.