Triple-A skipper Poldberg hangs up cleats

September 24th, 2021

DETROIT -- After 41 years in the game, Triple-A manager Brian Poldberg is calling it a career.

Poldberg has been linked to the Omaha club since 1991 and was its skipper for the past seven seasons, during which he amassed the second-most wins (475) in franchise history. In his first season with the Storm Chasers in 2015, Poldberg led the team to a Pacific Coast League Championship and a Triple-A National Championship, becoming the first manager since Jack McKeon in 1969 to do so in his first year.

The 64-year-old, who's coached or managed in some capacity since 1987, has seen 49 Storm Chasers crack the Major Leagues, including four this season: Sebastian Rivero, Jackson Kowar, Emmanuel Rivera and Dylan Coleman.

Poldberg's final game is Sunday at Werner Park, when Omaha closes out its home season against Indianapolis.

"After 41 years of being in baseball and being married for 36, I’ve never spent a summer with my family, so I’m looking forward to that," Poldberg said in a statement. "It’s been a great honor to have played for and managed my hometown team. It’s odd to be in professional baseball and be in your hometown and work and I’ve been very fortunate the last seven years to do that."

Poldberg's 1,350 career wins ranks sixth among active Minor League managers, a number made all the more impressive, Royals skipper Mike Matheny said, by the nature of the Triple-A beast.

"[Those are] some impressive numbers," Matheny said Friday before Kansas City faced Detroit. "I’m not sure there’s a tougher position than the manager of a Triple-A team. Trying to keep guys happy and motivated that aren’t happy that they’re not in the Major Leagues, keeping them motivated to win when most guys are just trying to get out of there. ... It’s a very tough spot that he’s been able to navigate really well.

"Meanwhile, [he's] teaching guys to improve on things that are keeping them from the Major Leagues and helping to build that winning mindset that’s so important for when a guy gets here," Matheny said. "It’s been a great run, and he’s done a very good job."

Witt Jr., Kowar honored
The Royals announced their Minor League awards on Friday, with and taking home the organization's Hitter and Pitcher of the Year awards, respectively.

Witt, the Royals' top prospect per MLB Pipeline and No. 3 overall in MLB, split this season between Double-A and Triple-A. He entered play Friday leading the Minors with 71 extra-base hits and ranking second in RBIs (94) and total bases (279), third in home runs (32) and fourth in runs scored (95).

Kowar finished 9-4 with a 3.46 ERA in 17 appearances (16 starts) with the Storm Chasers this season. The right-hander, who ranks fifth on the Royals' Top Prospects list and No. 86 in MLB, amassed 115 strikeouts in 2021, fifth-most in Triple-A, despite spending two stints in the Majors.

The duo will receive their awards on Oct. 1 during a pregame ceremony at Kauffman Stadium before the Royals take on the Twins.