Pelicans capture 2,000th victory for manager Bailey

Thanks to Myrtle Beach’s 5-4 victory over Down East on Thursday, Pelicans skipper Buddy Bailey won the 2,000th game of his illustrious 29-year minor league managing career. According to Baseball Reference, Bailey is the 11th manager in Minor League Baseball history to reach 2,000 career victories.

A native of Madison Heights, Va., Bailey owns a career record of 2,000-1,833 (.522) over his 29 seasons as a manager in the Atlanta Braves, Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs’ organizations. Bailey is the first minor league skipper to hit 2,000 career wins since Johnny Lipon did so during the 1990 season with the High-A Lakeland Tigers.

Bailey originally broke into baseball when Atlanta drafted him in the 16th round of the 1979 draft out of Lynchburg College (Va.). Playing as a catcher and first baseman, Bailey batted .210 with a .357 on-base percentage in 119 games over four seasons in the Braves’ organization. He reached as high as Double-A Savannah in 1982 before transitioning into coaching the very next season.

At just 26 years old, Bailey took over the Rookie-level Pulaski Braves for the 1983 campaign. He immediately steered the club to a 46-26 (.639) record, the second-best in the Appalachian League. From there, Bailey maneuvered between Pulaski, Sumter (A), Durham (A) and Greenville (AA) in nine years in the Braves’ system, finishing his tenure with Atlanta in 1990 with a 598-523 (.533) overall record.

Bailey moved to Boston’s organization for the 1991 season, returning to his hometown area to manage the Lynchburg Red Sox. Bailey piloted Lynchburg for the 1991 and 1992 campaigns, going a combined 144-130 (.526) with a berth in the Mills Cup Championship Series in each season. He moved from Lynchburg to manage Triple-A Pawtucket from 1993-96, and then again from 2002-04. Bailey is one of four skippers in International League history to claim two Manager of the Year awards (1996 & 2003).

In between stints with Pawtucket, Bailey spent the 2000 season as the bench coach for the Boston Red Sox. He also served in a variety of roles including advance scout, field coordinator and roving catching instructor, from 1997-99 and in 2001.

Now in his 12th season with the Cubs’ organization, Bailey originally joined the system with then-High-A Dayton in 2006. Over his tenure with the Cubs, Bailey has managed in Class A-Advanced Daytona (2006, 2009-11), Double-A Tennessee (2008, 2012-15), Triple-A Iowa (2008) and Myrtle Beach (2016-17).

Photo by Larry Kave/MB Pelicans

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