The Winnipeg Goldeyes may have failed to qualify for the American Association playoffs in 2020, but that did not stop a group of Rick Forney’s peers from selecting the Fish skipper as the American Association Manager of the Year.
Forney was recognized for the honour for the second time in his career following the results of a vote taken by the 12 field managers in the league as well as team executives and media members from each city.
Despite being the only team in the league to have to play all 60 of their games away from home in 2020 because of COVID-19, the Goldeyes managed to hold down the top spot for 37 of the 70 days during the regular season before an 11-game losing streak caused the ball club to slide to fourth place with a 29-31 record.
“I don’t think we have enough time to tell you what kind of job Rick did this summer,” general manager Andrew Collier told Global News. “He was everything for this team. To have to play a full season on the road and never having a home – we were the only team of the six teams not to have a home game.
“He was everything. He was manager. He was pitching coach. He was clubby (club attendant) sometimes. He was trainer. He was COVID testing coordinator. You name it, Rick did it all, and never complained about the situation, just went to work every day.”
As a result of the closure of the Canada-U.S. border because of the pandemic, Winnipeg was forced to play out of Newman Outdoor Field in Fargo, N.D.
“Rick has proven himself to be one of the best managers in independent baseball over the past many years,” Goldeyes general manager Andrew Collier said in a news release.
“We may have fallen short of our ultimate goal, but what Rick accomplished during this summer’s very unique season may have been his best performance ever.”
Forney was also named American Association Manager of the Year in 2011 and is only one of four men to win the award on multiple occasions. In his 15 seasons as the Goldeyes skipper, the native of Annapolis, Md., has put together an all-time record of 784-657 for a .544 winning percentage. Along the way, Winnipeg has made nine playoff appearances and captured an American Association record three championships in 2012, 2016 and 2017.