Manager Rick Sweet and Catcher Ryan Hanigan have been named to the International League’s post-season All-Star Team today; Sweet is the International League’s Manager of the Year. The winners were selected by the League’s managers, coaches, media and club representatives.
Sweet has led the Bats to the club’s first IL West Division Championship since 2003 and to a franchise best 85 wins (85-52) which is tied for the most victories in all of baseball (MLB and MiLB). His team’s 20-4 record in August is also a franchise record and Sweet recently passed Dave Miley as the all-time winningest manager in Louisville history. In four seasons and 568 games as the Bats’ skipper, his record stands at 300-268; he is fourth on the all-time active manager’s wins list with 1,349 victories.
Currently, Louisville’s .620 winning percentage stands to be the best for any Louisville club since the 1926 Colonels. The 2008 season is the first time in club history that a Louisville team has at least 40 wins at home (43-26) and on the road (42-26).
Sweet is the first skipper from Louisville to win the IL Manager of the Year Award; he won the Pacific Coast League’s Manager of the Year Award in 1994 after guiding the Tucson Toros to back-to-back league championships (1993-94).
Hanigan has been selected to the IL Team after anchoring the Bats behind the plate and throwing out 38% of would-be base stealers which is still good for second in the League. Before being recalled by the Reds August 10, Hanigan batted .324 with four home runs and 35 RBI in 75 games with the Bats this season. He was recently named in Baseball America’s Best Tools issue as being the best defensive catcher in the IL. Hanigan was also named to the International League Team for the Triple-A All-Star Game this season.
Since his recall by Cincinnati, Hanigan has started six games for the Reds and is batting .238 with one home run and three RBI; he is currently on a career-high three-game hitting streak (3-11, .273).
Hanigan is the first Louisville catcher to be named to a post-season team since Redbirds catcher Eli Marrero in 1997. Todd Zeile (1989) and Tom Pagnozzi (1987) are the franchise’s other post-season, all-star catchers.