TRENTON, NJ – There could not have been a more fitting scene for the Trenton Thunder to celebrate the 20th anniversary of their first home game than the one that panned out on Friday night. Facing their biggest rival, the Reading Fightin’ Phils at ARM & HAMMER Park, the Thunder took home an 8-2 victory that marked a milestone night for longtime manager Tony Franklin.
The Thunder’s victory on Friday marked the 564th win during Franklin’s time as an Eastern League manager, moving him past Dave Machamer for first-place on the league’s all-time wins list since it was recognized as a Double-A league back in 1963. Franklin was humble as always following the game.
“At the end of the year, I will reflect on it,” said Franklin. “It will hit me and I will think it’s pretty cool like I have done with most of the things that have happened to me; some very good things have happened to me over my career but as the season goes on, it is business as usual.”
For Franklin to break the Eastern League record on the 20th anniversary of the Thunder’s first home game was special for Franklin. With a 564-460 record since taking the helm in Trenton, Franklin has been a cornerstone figure in the team's history.
“I’m just very pleased about the day,” said Franklin, who is in his eighth season presiding over the Thunder dugout. “It’s all because of the guys in that locker room.”
Many of the players in Franklin’s locker room were with him to celebrate the 2013 Eastern League title, which was won without his team losing a game in the postseason. The title was the third of his in his tenure with the Thunder.
“I did not have a clue that this was ever possible,” Franklin told reporters. “I was just happy to have a job at that point and happy to be here working for the Yankees and coming to Trenton was a blessing. I have found a very nice home here; the people and the franchise here in Trenton have been really good to me and I am really happy to be part of it.”
The Yankees organization is happy that Franklin has been a part of the organization as well. His fine performance since taking the helm of the organization’s Double-A affiliate in 2006 has won him the support of many, including General Manager Brian Cashman.
“Tony is an ace. He’s such a pro,” said Cashman back in 2012. “He’s done so much for our franchise; our players are in great hands with him here. He’s obviously been great here in the community. He’s just got the perfect demeanor for what we’re looking for at this level. Trusting him with our assets at this level has been very easy to do since he came to us.”