Calling it a “change of scenery” Dave Brundage, the only manager in Gwinnett Braves history, jumped from one International League team to another on Thursday.
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs announced the hiring of the former Gwinnett skipper to replace hall of famer Ryne Sandberg who was recently named a third base coach for the Philadelphia Phillies, Lehigh Valley's big-league affiliate.
“I'm excited about it,” Brundage said Thursday. “It came to a point where maybe it was time for me to move on. I followed my heart. I am excited and happy with my decision.”
The Atlanta Braves made no announcement about a replacement for the top managerial spot in their minor league system.
In his four seasons in Gwinnett, Brundage led the G-Braves to a wild card playoff appearance in 2009 and an overall record of 293-281 (.510). He joined the Class AAA affiliate of the Braves six seasons ago, leading the Richmond Braves to the International League Governor's Cup championship in 2007. And when the team relocated from Richmond to Gwinnett County, Brundage did as well, moving his family from Portland, Ore.
“We don't plan on moving, we don't plan on going anywhere,” said Brundage, who has three children, Beau and twins Baylor and Barrett. “I want my kids to grow up here. It's kind of a two-way street. There's a lot of excitement, but there is also some apprehension knowing what I am moving away from.”
As a minor league manager, Brundage also won league championships managing Class AA San Antonio in 2002 and 2003. Baseball America named Brundage its minor league manager of the year in 2003. In joining Lehigh Valley, Brundage returns to the organization that drafted him out of Oregon State in 1986.
“It's always been a good, quality organization,” Brundage said. “Philadelphia stuck their neck out and pursued me and that was important as well.”
It's a new organization and new players, but not a team or place Brundage is completely unfamiliar with. Lehigh Valley joined the International League in 2008 and whether with Richmond or Gwinnett, Brundage played a series in the Pennsylvania town every season. Coca-Cola Field has led all of minor league baseball in attendance the past three seasons.
“It's got a great environment,” Brundage said. “Sometimes a chance of scenery is a good thing.”