After being let go by the Mets—or resigning, whichever story you choose to believe—at the end of this past season, Wally Backman has a new job. Unfortunately for him, it’s not in the majors or even in the country. Backman has been named the manager of Acereros de Monclova, a team that plays in the Mexican League. While the Mexican League is technically considered to be a Triple-A league, it’s clearly a step down for Backman who spent the past five seasons managing the Mets’ Triple-A clubs in Buffalo and Las Vegas.
On paper, Backman’s Mets affiliates had a lot of success: over seven seasons managing in the organization with Brooklyn, Binghamton, Buffalo, and Las Vegas, his clubs finished above .500 in four of them, while his 2010 Cyclones and 2013-14 51s each made it to the postseason. Behind the scenes, however, disagreements between Backman and Mets management over matters such as player usage and lineups, among other issues, created tensions that ultimately cost Backman his job at the end of the season.
A longtime fan favorite, Backman is a homegrown Met drafted by the club in 1977. He was a member of the 1986 World Champions and played nine seasons for the club. Known for his scrappy, gritty brand of play on the field, Backman soon became a successful minor league manager and in 2004, was named the manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Unfortunately, that job would be incredibly short lived, as a number of serious legal and financial problems that Backman did not disclose led the team to fire him just four days after he was hired.
As reported on Tuesday, Backman now believes he’s been blackballed as some sort of payback by Mets GM Sandy Alderson. A source in the Mets organization insisted that Alderson would never go as far as to sabotage Backman and another source from outside the organization who has known Alderson for many years stated “it’s not in Sandy’s nature” to be this vindictive. Having been scorned by the organization that appeared to save his managerial career when he was hired in 2010, Backman heads to a team that featured former big leaguers Francisco Peguero and Eugenio Velez on the roster this past season.