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Triple-A Las Vegas manager Backman resigns

MLB.com @AnthonyDiComo

WASHINGTON -- Wally Backman's contentious seven-year run as a Mets Minor League coach and manager came to an end on Monday. General manager Sandy Alderson announced that Backman resigned from his post, though multiple reports indicated that the Mets dismissed him.

Backman, 56, had managed the Mets' top affiliate at Triple-A Buffalo, and later Triple-A Las Vegas, since 2012. Along the way, he became a favorite of Minor League players, who enjoyed serving under the gregarious manager. But Backman often clashed with the Mets' front office, because of both communication issues and his independent ideas about player development.

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WASHINGTON -- Wally Backman's contentious seven-year run as a Mets Minor League coach and manager came to an end on Monday. General manager Sandy Alderson announced that Backman resigned from his post, though multiple reports indicated that the Mets dismissed him.

Backman, 56, had managed the Mets' top affiliate at Triple-A Buffalo, and later Triple-A Las Vegas, since 2012. Along the way, he became a favorite of Minor League players, who enjoyed serving under the gregarious manager. But Backman often clashed with the Mets' front office, because of both communication issues and his independent ideas about player development.

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Backman also coveted an opportunity to work on a Major League staff. Following a brief coaching career, Backman was slated to become the D-backs' manager after the 2004 season, before an investigation into his legal and financial history -- including multiple arrests -- prompted Arizona to rescind its offer. Backman spent the next four seasons out of affiliated baseball, before the Mets hired him to manage Class A St. Lucie in 2009.

Now, Backman is again free to pursue jobs, "presumably including a possible Major League coaching or managing opportunity," according to Alderson.

Backman's tenure at Triple-A ends with a 376-343 record over five seasons, two Pacific Coast League South division titles and one PCL Manager of the Year Award. Along the way, he mentored all of the Mets' current homegrown players, including Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d'Arnaud, Michael Conforto and others.

"I thought he did a fine job for us," Alderson said. "We had many players come through Las Vegas and graduate to the Major League level, establish themselves in New York, and he was part of that development process. In addition, other than this year, the teams there were very competitive and successful on a won-lost basis. So he did a good job for us."

Much of Backman's popularity with fans stems from his role as an outspoken member of the 1986 World Series champion Mets, batting .320 as a second baseman for that team. Backman played nine of his 14 big league seasons with the Mets, hitting .283 in 765 career games.

"Wally had a lot of big league experience, and he would pass that on to us," said Mets outfielder Brandon Nimmo, who played for Backman at Las Vegas. "He was a good guy who cared about his players, and definitely wanted to win. … He was always there to help, always willing to work hard. I'm sorry to see him go, but he'll have other opportunities. This is a part of baseball. He knows that, and we all know that. He's going to be just fine."

Anthony DiComo has covered the Mets for MLB.com since 2008. Follow him on Twitter @AnthonyDiComo and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

New York Mets