LITTLE FALLS — The 2017 Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League (PGCBL) champion Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs have announced that 1986 World Series champion and former New York Met Wally Backman will be the keynote speaker at the 2018 Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Dinner on April 13 at the Travelodge in Little Falls.
Backman, a first round (16th overall) pick of the New York Mets, played 17 seasons of professional baseball, including 14 at the Major League level. Backman got his minor league baseball career started in Little Falls as he was assigned to the Little Falls Mets of the New York-Penn League, averaging .325 with 6 home runs in his first season.
Backman made his major league debut on Sept. 2, 1980 with the New York Mets and earned his starting job at second base in 1984.
Backman went on to play nine seasons in New York, reaching the top of the baseball world when the New York Mets won the World Series in 1986. Following his time in New York, Backman played for the Minnesota Twins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Philadelphia Phillies and Seattle Mariners.
Backman finished his career with a .275 batting average, 893 hits, 482 runs scored, 240 RBI, 117 stolen bases and a .349 on-base percentage.
Backman has enjoyed a successful managing career. Backman has served in the role of field manager for several minor league clubs in the Chicago White Sox, Arizona Diamondbacks and New York Mets organizations.
In 2018, Backman will lead the New Britain Bees of the Atlantic League.
In his 20 years managing, Backman has compiled 1,066 career victories and has led several teams to league championships including with the Tri-City Posse of the Independent Western Baseball League, the Birmingham Barons, the class single A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox of the Southern League, as well as with the South Georgia Peanuts of the Independent South Coast League.
In addition, during his time as manager of the Brooklyn Cyclones, Backman led the team to a league best 51-24 record winning the McNamara Division of the New York-Penn League.
Backman also led his Pacific Coast Las Vegas 51s to a Pacific South Division title. Some of Backman’s other accomplishments include being inducted in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame as well as being named “Minor League Manager of the Year” by the Sporting News.
“We are very excited to be able to bring a World Series champion back to Little Falls right where it all started for Wally Backman,” said Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs President and Owner Travis Heiser.
“Mr. Backman is very excited to meet all our fans here in the Mohawk Valley and reminisce about his days here in Little Falls. Coming off a championship season I cannot think of a better way to celebrate with our fans and the entire Mohawk Valley than with some wonderful and deserving inductees that we will be announcing in the very near future and a former Little Falls Met who happens to wear a championship ring himself dating back to the great 1986 Mets team that captured the heart of all New Yorkers.”
The event’s doors will open on April 13 at 5:30 p.m. for cocktails, autographs and silent auction with dinner and program following. Tickets cost $40 per person and a table of eight can be purchased for $275.
Tickets for the event can be purchased by contacting the Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs at 315-985-0692 (Travis Heiser) or by emailing Travis@mydiamonddwgs.com
Stay tuned as we announce this year’s inductees to the Mohawk Valley Baseball Hall of Fame in the coming weeks by visiting our website www.mydiamonddawgs.com or by social media on Facebook and Twitter @MVDiamondDawgs.
The 2017 PGCBL Champions Mohawk Valley DiamondDawgs take the field at Veteran’s Memorial Park in Little Falls on June 1 against the Watertown Rapids to begin the 2018 season.