PHILADELPHIA -- Roly de Armas started his professional baseball career with the Phillies in 1973. He has been in the game ever since.
There is a reason for that: de Armas is an excellent coach. Just ask the players who have worked with him over the years. And that is why Minor League Baseball announced on Monday that it named de Armas the recipient of the 13th annual Mike Coolbaugh Award, which is presented nationally to an individual who has shown “outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field.” MiLB created the award in 2008 to honor Coolbaugh, who was a 17-year Minor League player and in his first season as a coach when he died.
“It’s truly an honor to be selected for this award and be mentioned with the previous winners, many of whom I know personally,” de Armas said in a statement. “The previous winner of this award, Glenn ‘Goose’ Gregson, was my pitching coach in my first year, and here we are almost 50 years later, and we are the last two winners of this award, so that is pretty amazing. Mike Coolbaugh was a great man, and I’m honored to win the award named in his honor.”
de Armas just finished his 35th year as a Minor League manager, spending this past season with the Rookie-level Florida Complex League Phillies. He started his coaching career as a player-coach in the Phillies’ system with Class A Peninsula in 1977. He became a manager for Class A Helena in 1979 and from 1980-92 he managed Helena, Class A Spartanburg, Class A Sarasota, Class A Clearwater and Rookie-level Martinsville.
de Armas served as the White Sox and Blue Jays bullpen coaches at different points before he rejoined the Phillies in 2001, where he has been coaching since. de Armas served as the bullpen coach for Team USA in the World Cup from 2007-09 and spent several months with the Phillies in 2008 as the interim bullpen coach. He was the bullpen coach for Team USA in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, and earlier this year he served as bullpen coach for Team USA in the Tokyo Olympics, where the Americans won a silver medal.
“Roly de Armas has dedicated his career to helping young professional players try to reach their dreams of becoming Major League Baseball players,” MLB senior vice president of Minor League operations and development Peter Woodfork said in a statement. “To spend 35 years managing at the lowest levels of the Minor Leagues shows Roly’s passion for developing players and his love for the game of baseball. We are proud to recognize him with this award.”