December 20, 2006
Albany - Former major league infielder Wally Backman started his managerial career in independent baseball.
Backman hopes to revive it in the new South Coast League.
The South Coast League filled its final managerial spot Wednesday in naming Backman to manage the South Georgia Peanuts.
It will be Backman's first job in baseball since he was hired to manage the Arizona Diamondbacks two years ago.
He was fired just four days later when the Diamondbacks learned that Backman had been arrested twice and had had financial troubles.
A tough break for a guy who had to work his way to the big leagues as a player and then a manager.
After his success in managing in independent leagues, Backman got the chance to manage in the affiliated minor leagues and was named minor league manager of the year in 2002.
The South Georgia Peanuts are happy to not only have a manager with the name recognition of Wally Backman but also to have a skipper who has proven he can win on the field.
General manager Keith Michlig said "I think that puts us one up on the rest of the league and for that part it might us one up on the rest of independent baseball. We are real fortunate. We are really glad Wally is excited. I mean he is really excited about coming down here."
The South Georgia Peanuts play their first game on May 18th in Port Charlotte, Florida against the Charlotte County Redfish.
The Peanuts home opener is May 24th against the Redfish.