Manager of the Year

" Manager of the Year! You guys are the best. Do I have to take you guys out to dinner? Are you setting me up to take you out in the spring? This isn't my first rodeo. Tell me what you want."

These were the grateful words of San Antonio Missions' manager Randy Ready upon receiving the news that he was Manager of the Year for 2007.

Thanks Spike, right back at ya…

Ready, in his first year as a manager above Low-A, led the Missions to their first title in their first year within the Padres' system, had the Texas League Player of the Year in Chase Headley and the Texas League Pitcher of the Year in Josh Geer.

The Missions got up from the bottom of the division in the first half to finish second overall in the Texas League Southern Division and qualify for the playoffs. From there they beat the first half champions Frisco Roughriders and the Springfield Cardinals in the final, featuring centerfielder Colby Rasmus, one of the best prospects in the minor leagues.

This year was Ready's fourth with the Padres' organization after three managing the Fort Wayne Wizards. Ready played 13 years in the major leagues, mainly playing second and third base. The best year of his career was with the Padres in 1987 when he hit .309/.423/.509.

Ready has always been one of the better managers in the San Diego system and until this year he never really had the talent to prove it. Known by his players as a personable manager with a good sense of humor, he's also one of the most demanding.

"He's probably the most positive coach you can be around, yet at the same time the most critical," said second baseman Sean Kazmar, who played for Ready at both Fort Wayne and San Antonio. "He's always letting you know what you did well, but at the same time making sure that you know what "we" have to work on to get better.

"That is the thing about Ready, he always makes you feel like you are in it together."

This year, some of his better players such as catcher Nick Hundley got off to slow starts at the plate, but Ready never wavered in his support or belief that they would turn it around.

"I know Nick," Ready began. "I believe in him and know he believes in himself. Great work ethic, desire to be the best. I knew the game was going to slow down for him. As soon as he started gaining confidence and the speed of the game began to come to him, we knew he would start making offensive contributions."

Hundley was equally as effusive on Ready.

"Ready has really helped me when I've struggled from the start and has had my back the whole year – which has been amazing. He's been awesome to play for.

"He's a competitive guy. If you're not out there getting after it, you're not going to be on the field."

Padres first base coach Bobby Meachum recently left the team to join his former teammate Yankee manager Joe Girardi in New York and Ready was one the first candidates that will be interviewing for the job.

As with the players he manages, Ready's goal is to get back to the major leagues and with his ability to not only get the most out of the players that he is given, but to improve them, it's only a matter of time before he's back in the show.

We just hope it's with the Padres.

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