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Coney’s coach! Cyclones hire new skipper • Brooklyn Paper

Coney’s coach! Cyclones hire new skipper

The Brooklyn Cyclones tapped Tom Gamboa to manage the team for the 2014 season, replacing three-season skipper Rich Donnelly.
Brooklyn Cyclones

A new skipper for Brooklyn’s Boys of Summer is stepping up to the plate!

The Cyclones drafted Tom Gamboa to manage the team for the 2014 season — replacing three-season professor Rich Donnelly, who abandoned Brooklyn to coach a Triple-A team in Washington State.

The 66-year-old Gamboa is a veteran manager, having served as skipper for a Class-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels for part of the 2011 season, and led the Triple-A Albuquerque Isotopes and the Double-A Arkansas Travelers to division titles in 2000 and 2005 respectively.

But Gambo is best known as the victim of a bizarre incident in 2002, while he was serving as first base coach for the Kansas City Royals, in which a shirtless, intoxicated father-son duo ran onto the field and attacked him during a game against the Chicago White Sox. Gamboa has suffered from hearing loss ever since.

Gamboa has also moonlighted as a movie star, having played “Scout Martinez” in the Oscar-nominated 2011 baseball flick “Moneyball.”

The ’Clones hired another Tom as the new pitching coach — Tom Signore, a longtime pitching coach for minor league affiliates of the Toronto Blue Jays. The Mini-Mets have also brought back Benny Distefano as hitting coach. Distefano oversaw the Pride of Coney Island’s batting practice during the 2010 season, when the team clinched a playoff berth but came up short in the Championship series against the Tri-City Valley Cats.

The team’s top brass lavished praise on the new hires.

“We look forward to welcoming the new coaching staff to Brooklyn for the 2014 season,” said Cyclones vice president Steve Cohen. “They all have a track record of success, and we are hopeful that they will help guide our team back to the playoffs for the 2014 season.”

Reach reporter Will Bredderman at wbredderman@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-4507. Follow him at twitter.com/WillBredderman.

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