He’s going, going … gone!
Cyclones skipper Rich Donnelly is abandoning Brooklyn for Washington State, dropping the Mini-Mets after three up-and-down seasons to lead the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League in some town very close to western Canada.
Donnelly, who spent three seasons as the Clones professor — and has thus far spent 40 years in the game as a player, coach, and manager — is leaving the Class-A Amazins affiliate to become the Mariners’ Triple-A ball club’s skipper.
The former Minnesota Twins catcher and third-base coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers was the first manager to helm the Brooklyns for three consecutive seasons, compiling a 128–97 record.
But Donnelly never led the Clones to the promised land, falling short in two playoff appearances in 2011 and 2012, and not making the playoffs in his final year.
Still, Donnelly was the only Clones skipper to lead the team to two playoff berths in a row, and it could be argued that he was the team’s greatest manager. Only Edgar Alfonzo, the brother of Met All-Star second baseman Edgardo Alfonzo, managed as many seasons. “Fonzie” compiled a better record than Donnelly’s, going 146–79 during three years at the helm.
But Alfonzo’s marriage to Clones ended in divorce after his first season in 2001 — when the Cyclones were co-champions of the league after a 9-11-shortened playoff. He returned to the Clones for the 2007 and 2008 campaigns, going 45–30 and 49–25, respectively.
Even if Donnelly wasn’t the best Cyclones skipper, he was certainly one of the team’s more colorful, routinely giving post-game interviews topless, and being featured in the New York Times somewhat popular “Sunday Routine” column, which explained his sleeping and eating habits on the most restful day of the week.
But the team played miserably under Donnelly in 2013, finishing just above .500 with a 38–37 record.
The Cyclones said Donnelly’s move had nothing to do with the failure to lead the team to its fourth playoff berth in a row, and claimed the manager made the trade for career reasons.
The team said the Mets organization is in talks to hire a new skipper, and expect to name him in February.