Last updated: June 07. 2014 10:31PM - 1340 Views
By - psokoloski@timesleader.com

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The magnitude of the moment seemed to charge up Dave Miley as much as any championship he’s won as a minor league manager.

So he lost that super-cool, even-keeled demeanor for a little while.

He spoke of his family, showed some emotion, shared his feelings.

“I don’t know if the word’s astonished,” Miley said. “To be still managing and getting this award really makes it special for me.”

He smiled.

He’s not only the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders manager, he’s a Hall of Fame manager now.

Miley, who took Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to the only Governors’ Cup championship in franchise history in 2008 and won more minor league games than any other active manager except one, was officially inducted into the International League Hall of Fame at PNC Field on Saturday night.

That made Miley the first Scranton/Wilkes-Barre representative in the franchise’s 25-year history to go into the International League Hall, although former Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons slugger Jeff Manto will soon join him when he’s inducted Aug. 13 in Buffalo.

“To be the first one of all the players and managers who came through here - a lot of them are still playing in the big leagues now - a lot of tremendous players and managers, Marc Bombard, it really makes it extra special that I’m the first one,” Miley said.

He’ll also be the last one to wear a No. 11 Scranton/Wilkes-Barre uniform.

“We’re putting it up on the outfield wall,” shouted RailRiders president and general manager Rob Crane during a pregame induction ceremony Saturday, and sure enough, a blue covering was pulled away to unveil Miley’s No. 11 hanging next to Greg Legg’s No. 14 on the center field wall.

“It’s only fitting,” Crane continued, “that no one else in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre baseball history will ever wear the number 11.”

A guy who knows a few things about retiring numbers in the New York Yankees organization stopped by the celebration.

And Yankees general manager Brian Cashman wasn’t shooting confetti when he spoke of Miley reaching new stratospheres as New York’s Triple-A manager.

“He has the Midas touch,” Cashman said, “in that whatever he seems to get involved with turns into a much bigger winning situation. He’s one of those difference-makers. He obviously knows what he’s doing. He can get along with everybody. There’s a lot to work through (in Triple-A). They (players) might not agree with where they’re playing. You have to have a lot of compassion, and lower the boom when you need to. You have to have a lot of tools in your tool box.

“And know which ones to use.”

Miley is the winningest manager in Scranton/Wilkes-Barre history with 595 victories, the latest of his feats during a 23-year managerial career that includes a short major league stint guiding the Cincinnati Reds, more than 2,000 minor league wins, two Governors’ Cup championships, two International League Manager of the Year Awards and three appeances as an IL All-Star manager.

“When Dave became available (in 2006), we heard the repuation of who he was,” said Cashman, stressing the priority the Steinbrenner family places on winning. “And we had high expectations of him. When you start getting statues made of you, bobbleheads, you know he’s exceeded expectations even we had.”

Miley certainly didn’t expect all of this, a night where the first 2,500 fans in the ballpark received a miniature statue of his likeness and stood in line to get his autograph until 45 minutes before the start of a game.

Miley usually has his game face on by that time.

But he was facing an honor that was somewhat overwhelming to him, and he seemed happy to share it with those around him.

His parents and wife Andrea were in the PNC Field stands, joining over 6,800 other fans who gave Miley a standing ovation as his pregame Hall of Fame induction ceremony ended.

“I heard about it in January,” Miley said. “To be here now, it’s quite an honor. I’ve got a lot of friends and family in town for it … quite a lot of family and friends.”

He shared some humorous stories.

About his first thought when International League president Randy Mobley called him to deliver the Hall of Fame news in January. “I said, ‘Oh boy, I’m in trouble already,’ ” Miley said.

About how he called his dad - “Who’s not the best at keeping secrets,” Miley said - right after and asked him to keep it hush-hush.

And about how he became involved in managing near the end of his playing days in the Reds’ minor league system.

“I was approached in ‘86,” Miley said. “I said, ‘I think I can still play.’ They said, ‘Think about it for a month.’ Best decision I ever made.”

All this time later, he made it onto the International League’s traveling Hall of Fame wall, alongside the game’s greats like Cal Ripken Jr., Tommy Lasorda and Larry Parrish - who ironically was managing the Toledo team Miley’s RailRiders played Saturday.

“To be standing here, going into the International League Hall of Fame, I’m blessed,” Miley said. “To be in an organization - and I’ve only been in two - but the New York Yankees are really special. Quite an honor. I’m very comfortable here. I love this city and stadium and team and the fans.”

Then it was back to the business that made Dave Miley an International League Hall of Famer in the first place.

“A win,” Miley said, “would be nice.”

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