Blue Jays’ Holmberg named Coolbaugh Award winner
Minor League Baseball announced last week it has selected Bluefield Blue Jays’ Manager Dennis Holmberg as the recipient of the 10th annual Mike Coolbaugh Award. Holmberg will receive the award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
The Mike Coolbaugh Award is presented annually to an individual who has shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field. The award was created by Minor League Baseball in 2008 to honor the late Coolbaugh, a 17-year minor league player who was in his first year as a coach at the time of his passing. Mike appeared in 44 major league games with the Milwaukee Brewers (39 games in 2001) and St. Louis Cardinals (five games in 2002).
Holmberg played eight seasons in the Milwaukee Brewers organization from 1970-77, where he played every position except shortstop. During his playing career, he also spent eight years (1971-78) in the Army Reserve National Guard. Following his playing career, Holmberg embarked on a coaching career that has spanned 40 years, the last 39 of which have come in the Blue Jays’ organization. Of Holmberg’s 40 seasons in the dugout, 38 have been spent at, or below, the Class-A level (he spent the 1994-95 seasons as Toronto’s bullpen coach).
Holmberg’s teams have reached the postseason 11 times and he received the Bobby Mattick Award, which is presented by the Blue Jays organization to recognize excellence in player development, in 2006 and 2011. In his career, Holmberg has coached or managed 244 players that have reached the Major Leagues and he has a managerial record of 1,474-1,355. His 1,474 wins are ninth-most among active minor league managers.
“I am humbled and deeply honored to be chosen as the 2017 recipient of the Mike Coolbaugh Award. To be included on the list with the previous winners and their accomplishments only reminds me of Mike’s work ethic, his knowledge and passion for the game,” said Holmberg.
“I am grateful to the Toronto Blue Jays organization for 40 years of opportunity, Pat O’Conner and all of Minor League Baseball and most importantly, the Coolbaugh family.”
“This is an incredible achievement and recognition for someone who has selflessly devoted the better part of his life to developing and mentoring our players and coaches on and off the field,” said Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins.