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Bobby Jenks named Pioneer League Manager of the Year

by Joe Binder

After a remarkable season, one former White Sox player turned manager notched a year-end award.

On Tuesday afternoon, it was announced that Bobby Jenks had been named the Pioneer League Manager of the Year. The reveal came after Jenks guided the Grand Junction Rockies to a 62-33 record and their first Pioneer Baseball League championship in 41 years.

After he served as their pitching coach in 2021, this season marked Jenks’ first year as manager for the Grand Junction Rockies. The former closer also had some prior coaching experience, working as a roving pitching instructor in the Chicago White Sox organization.

Jenks is said to have built his coaching staff to match his philosophies and strengthen any weak points he might have in his knowledge. Though he was still heavily involved with the pitchers, Jenks turned to former White Sox catcher and teammate Toby Hall as the club’s hitting coach. The two recently appeared on NBC Sports Chicago’s “White Sox Talk Podcast” with Chuck Garfien to talk about their coaching experience among other topics, which can be viewed below.

Jenks, 41, played in the majors for six seasons from 2005-11, spending most of his time with the White Sox before shipping up to Boston for his last season. Most commonly known for his dominance during the 2005 World Series run, Jenks ranks third all-time in saves by a White Sox pitcher. He is also a two-time All-Star and formerly held the major league record for retiring consecutive batters (41).

Complications from a 2011 surgery to remove bone spurs in his back ultimately led to his release from the Red Sox that following July and marked the end of his professional career. Jenks finished his six-year campaign with a 3.53 ERA, 173 saves, 3.21 FIP, 1.251 WHIP, and 1.31 K/BB ratio. He later sued the doctor who operated on him in 2015 for malpractice and eventually reached a $5.1 million settlement in 2019.

Now known as the Grand Junction Jackalopes, Jenks’ team once served as an affiliate of the Rockies from 2001 to 2020. They now exist purely as an independent baseball team of the Pioneer League.

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Featured Photo: Grand Junction Rockies

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