Wally Backman of the Long Island Ducks was named Atlantic League manager of the year on Thursday.
Backman, the ex-Mets second baseman who was part of the 1986 world championship team, led the Ducks to a 86-54 record during the regular season and the franchise's fourth Atlantic League championship. Backman is the second manager in team history to win the award, joining Bud Harrelson in 2000.
“There is no one more deserving of the honor,” Ducks president and general manager Michael Pfaff said in a statement. “His passion for winning and guidance of an ever-changing roster was vital to our success this season.”
The 86 wins were the most in a single season in franchise history. The Ducks won the first and second half Liberty Division championships with 43-27 records. The Ducks swept the High Point Rockers in the Liberty Division playoffs, then rallied to beat the Sugar Land Skeeters, 3-2, in the Atlantic League championship series.
Backman, 60, was arrested in late August after a domestic dispute with a woman he had been dating at her Riverhead home. The Ducks released a statement on the day of the arrest saying that Backman would remain as the team's manager. The woman, Amanda Byrnes, filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit in September against Backman and the Ducks, citing physical abuse, sexual harassment and alcohol abuse.