In 2007, the Cyclones racked up the league's best record (49-25), led the NYPL with a 2.93 ERA, and placed fifth with a .260 team average. While the players will change in 2008, the coaches who steered the team towards one of its most successful seasons ever will all be back.
Brooklyn announced Wednesday that Edgar Alfonzo -- the winningest manager in club history -- will return to the helm of the Cyclones in 2008, along with pitching coach Hector Berrios and hitting coach Guadalupe Jabalera.
Alfonzo (pictured receiving the 2007 McNamara Division trophy from NYPL President Ben Hayes, by George Napolitano) returns for his third season, and second consecutive, as the manager of the Cyclones. "Fonzie" is the most successful manager in club history, amassing 106 total wins, a .671 winning percentage, two McNamara Division titles and one New York-Penn League Co-Championship. He made history as the franchise’s first manager during an inaugural 2001 campaign that brought baseball back to Brooklyn and produced a dominant 52-24 record - still a club best. That season, the Cyclones won a division title and a league co-championship, while Alfonzo was named Baseball America’s Short-Season Manager of the Year. In 2007, Alfonzo again led the Cyclones to the league’s best record (49-25), and another division title, but after sweeping Staten Island in the NYPL Semifinals, Brooklyn was bested by Auburn for the league championship.
“We’re thrilled to have Fonzie back with the club,” said Cyclones General Manager Steve Cohen. “He has a real rapport with the Brooklyn fans, and he’s a proven winner who has brought out the best in the teams he’s been with.”
From 2004-2006, Edgar served as the New York Mets’ Minor League Infield Coordinator, working with the organization’s prospects at each of the seven affiliate levels, including future stars Jose Reyes and David Wright. Prior to that, he was the hitting coach for St. Lucie (A) of the Florida State League in 2002 and Binghamton (AA) of the Eastern League in 2003.
Alfonzo played for 12 years in the minor leagues with the Anaheim Angels and Baltimore Orioles organizations, and also played in the Mexican League and the Taiwan League. His best season as a player came in 1994 for Bowie (AA) of the Eastern League, when he hit .309 with 35 doubles, one triple, 11 home runs, 73 RBI and 13 stolen bases.
Berrios enters his fifth season as the Cyclones' pitching coach, also holding the position in 2007, 2006, 2004, and 2003. In each of his years as the pitching coach, the Cyclones' staff has ranked in the top three in team ERA in the NYPL. Brooklyn pitchers have also racked up double-digit shutout totals in each of Berrios' four seasons. Berrios is a graduate of James Monroe HS in the Bronx, who went on to Connors State College (OK) before playing professionally in the Royals, Tigers, Angels, Dodgers, and Cubs organizations.
Jabalera enters his third consecutive season with Brooklyn, and his second as the hitting coach. Cyclones hitters amassed 348 runs, 621 hits, 37 home runs, and 298 RBI under his charge in 2007. Jabalera played professionally in the Astros organization, and has coached and managed in the Dominican Republic for more than a decade.
Head Trainer Matt Hunter will also return for a third season, while Strength & Conditioning Coach Jacob Henderson will begin his first year with the Cyclones.