The manager with the most wins in Sioux Falls Pheasants history will have the opportunity to tally several more.
The Pheasants have renewed the contract of manager Steve Shirley with a multi-year deal, team president and CEO Tom Garrity announced on Monday.
Holding a career record of 303-280 across six seasons in Sioux Falls, Shirley is already the most successful skipper in the team’s 20-year history. He guided the club (then Canaries) to an American Association championship in 2008 and two division titles in 2010, notching a team record of 63 wins. In both 2008 and 2010, Shirley earned the league’s Manager of the Year award.
“We are thrilled to have Steve back,” Garrity said. “He knows baseball, he knows the league better than anybody, and he is the perfect guy to move us forward.”
Among active managers in the American Association, Shirley has the second most career wins in the league and most since he began in 2007, averaging more than 50 victories a year.
“I’m very excited to be a part of this organization for years to come,” Shirley said. “I love the city of Sioux Falls and its people. I’m looking forward to working as hard as we can to bring a championship back to Sioux Falls.”
Shirley has displayed a knack for recruiting high-caliber talent to Sioux Falls. Under his tutelage, several players have received notable accolades. Along with 14 postseason all-stars, Shirley’s rosters have produced a two-time Player of the Year and a two-time Pitcher of the Year. He has inked five former big leaguers and sold 10 player contracts to major league organizations. One former player, Eddy Rodriguez, reached the big league level this year with San Diego after playing in Sioux Falls (2010).
As a former left-handed reliever, Shirley brings major-league playing experience to Sioux Falls. He was a second round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1974 and appeared in 11 games for the Dodgers in 1982, going 1-1 record with a 4.36 ERA. During 15 seasons playing professional baseball, Shirley also had stints with the Detroit Tigers, Kansas City Royals, Montreal Expos and Pittsburgh Pirates organizations. He also played professionally overseas in Japan and South America.
Shirley began his coaching career as a pitching coach with the independent Duluth–Superior Dukes in 1999. He managed the Sioux City Explorers in 2005 and was a pitching coach for the Winnipeg Goldeyes in 2006 before coming to Sioux Falls.
Shirley resides in Albuquerque, N.M., in the offseason.
The Sioux Falls Pheasants begin their 21st season in May 2013. Information about season tickets and advertising with the Sioux Falls Pheasants is available by calling (605) 336-6060 or visiting www.sfpheasants.com.
Courtesy: Scott Beatty, Pheasants