If you were paying attention to our coverage of the Triple-A All-Star Game in July, we told you this one would happen months before it actually did: The Bisons and Toronto Blue Jays officially announced today that Marty Brown -- who led the Bisons to the 2004 International League championship -- is returning to Buffalo to manage the Herd in 2013.
Brown, 49, managed the Bisons from 2003-2005 before spending the next five seasons in Japan. He has been the manager for the Blue Jays' Las Vegas club the last two years. The 51s went 79-64 this season, the best record for a Toronto Triple-A team since 1998.
In my column on Brown during All-Star week, it was plainly clear to me he was happy in Las Vegas but would be excited to return to Buffalo in what would be a much more baseball-friendly setting and one that would only be 90 minutes from the parent club.
“We’re thrilled to welcome Marty Brown back to Buffalo to lead the Bisons into this exciting new era as the Triple-A Affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays,” Bisons vice president/general manager Mike Buczkowski said in a statement today. “Marty is a proven winner, having already brought home a championship to the fans of Buffalo, and his passion for the game really resonates with Bisons fans.”
“Marty Brown is a veteran baseball man who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the dugout," said Charlie Wilson, director of minor league operations for the Blue Jays. "He has the ability to teach the game and to get the most out of his players. Marty has enjoyed great success as a minor league manager and we are delighted that he will be managing the Bisons in 2013."
Brown has a 783-719 record in 16 years of managing in the United States. He went 238-193 in his three years with the Bisons and needs just 16 wins to pass Buffalo Baseball Hall of Famer Brian Graham as the franchise' modern-era victory leader.
That Buffalo club, the highest-scoring team in the IL since 1950, had a lineup featuring the likes of Brandon Phillips, Jhonny Peralta and Grady Sizemore.
The Bisons overcame a 2-0 deficit against Durham in the IL semifinals and beat the Richmond Braves in four games to take the franchise's third title of the modern era. After the clinching 6-1 victory in Game Four, the most vivid image of the celebration was Brown parading the Governors' Cup down the right-field line for fans to see it (above-Mark Mulville file photo)
In 2005, Brown won his second consecutive IL North Division title with an 82-62 record and the Bisons had a 2-0 lead in the IL semifinals over Indianapolis but lost the last three games of the series at home. The Herd has not been in the playoffs since.
The Blue Jays have not settled on the rest of the Buffalo coaching staff. Brown will be officially introduced during a 2 p.m. press conference Tuesday in Pettibones Grille, at which time the Bisons will also unveil their new logo. Brown will then greet fans during a Meet the Manager event in Pettibones Tuesday night from 5:30-8.