MiLB AAA Baseball News

Minor League Baseball Announces Player Development Award Winners

Pacific Coast League

December 5, 2023 – Pacific Coast League (PCL) News Release

NEW YORK CITY – Minor League Baseball™ (MiLB™) announced the selection of Los Angeles Dodgers Special Assistant to Player Development Bobby Cuellar as the recipient of the 15th annual Mike Coolbaugh Award and Philadelphia Phillies Director of Minor League Operations Lee McDaniel as the 15th winner of the Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award.

The Mike Coolbaugh Award is presented annually to an individual who has shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game and skill in mentoring young players on the field. The award was created by Minor League Baseball in 2008 to honor the late Coolbaugh, a 17-year Minor League player who was in his first year as a coach at the time of his passing. Coolbaugh appeared in 44 Major League games with the Milwaukee Brewers (39 games in 2001) and St. Louis Cardinals (five games in 2002).

The Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award is presented to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development. The award honors Bender as a longtime front office executive and consultant who spent 39 years with the Cincinnati Reds.

BOBBY CUELLAR – Mike Coolbaugh Award

Bobby Cuellar began his career in professional baseball in 1974 as a 29th round selection of the Texas Rangers out of the University of Texas. The right-handed pitcher spent nine seasons in professional baseball, highlighted by a promotion to the big leagues with Texas in 1977.

Following the end of his playing career in 1982, Cuellar immediately jumped into the coaching profession, beginning a long and storied career mentoring young pitchers and players over the last 40 seasons.

His coaching and managing career in Minor League Baseball has taken him through each classification from Rookie ball through Triple-A and through seven different leagues. His stints in the minors included stretches in the Mariners organization (1983-94), the Twins organization (2002-05, 2008-12) and his current organization, the Los Angeles Dodgers (2015-23).

Cuellar also spent nine years in Major League Baseball, serving as the Seattle Mariners’ pitching coach (1995-96), Montreal Expos’ pitching coach (1997-2000), Texas Rangers’ bullpen/pitching coach (2001), Pittsburgh Pirates bullpen coach (2006-07) and Minnesota Twins’ bullpen coach (2013-14).

Known for his ability to mentor young players and assist Latin players in getting acclimated to life in the United States, Cuellar is considered a teacher at heart,…

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