OGDEN — Minor League Baseball named Ogden Raptors manager John Shoemaker as the 2015 winner of the Mike Coolbaugh Award.
The 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, according to MiLB.
Shoemaker will receive the award Sunday, Dec. 6 at the Baseball Winter Meetings banquet in Nashville, Tennessee.
“With numerous qualified instructors eligible for this award, I feel extremely fortunate to be the recipient of this year's Mike Coolbaugh Award," Shoemaker said via press release. "Past, present and future winners of this award have the distinct privilege on honoring the legacy of Mike Coolbaugh, who throughout his career displayed passion, determination and perseverance, all valuable traits for a professional athlete. I am grateful to Pat O'Conner, Minor League Baseball, the entire Los Angeles Dodgers organization and most importantly, the Coolbaugh family for recognizing me with this award.”
In his first year in Ogden, the man many call “Shoe” led the Raptors to a Pioneer League-best 43-33 record. The Raptors earned that mark in 2015 despite having the most roster transactions in the league, almost triple the amount of the team with the second most.
“The Ogden Raptors are very happy that Shoe is being recognized for service to the game of professional baseball,” Raptors team president Dave Baggott told the Standard-Examiner. “His passion is reflected in his players every time he puts on the uniform. We are proud to have had him wear ’Raptors’ across his chest.”
The award is named after the late Mike Coolbaugh, a minor league manager who died after being struck by a line drive in 2007 in Arkansas.
In July, the Dodgers, parent organization of the Raptors, gave Shoemaker the honorary title of “Captain of Player Development” for his 39 years of coaching and managing in the Dodgers’ minor league system.
Baseball Hall of Famer and Dodgers legend Tommy Lasorda spoke on behalf of the organization for Shoemaker’s new honor.
“I would like to commend John Shoemaker on winning the Mike Coolbaugh Award," Lasorda said via press release. Lasorda currently works as Special Advisor to the Chairman for the Dodgers. "I have known Shoe for a long time and I can say without a doubt that he is one of the hardest workers I know. He continues to leave a great impression on the young ballplayers in the organization and I couldn't be prouder of him on all of his accomplishments.”
It is not yet known if Shoemaker will return to manage the Raptors in 2016 or be given a different assignment in the Dodgers organization.