Earlier this week, Baseball America named Dave Wallace their 2016 Minor League Manager of the Year. Wallace led the Akron Rubber Ducks, Cleveland’s Double-A affiliate, to the Eastern League title. It was his third year in Akron, and his sixth at the helm in the Indians system.
The 37-year-old former catcher is moving on. He’s not leaving the organization, but a change of scenery is in order.
“I won’t be managing next season,” Wallace told me earlier today. “That’s something I approached (team president) Chris Antonetti, (general manager) Mike Chernoff, and (director of player development) Carter Hawkins about. There are a few reasons, but the biggest is family. I have two kids, ages six and three, and I need to figure out the best way to go forward with my career, and at the same be the best dad, and husband, I can. My priorities start with them, and baseball comes after that.”
Wallace has been exploring his options with members of the Indians brain trust, who have been “overwhelmingly supportive” of his decision. He hopes to move into a role — quite possibly within the front office — that has a more flexible schedule, allowing him to be home for things like his kids’ birthdays.
He sees his impending job change as more than a family matter. It’s also a hiatus, and a stepping stone in his career. His long-term goal hasn’t changed.
“I want to get exposure to other aspects of the industry,” explained Wallace, who studied human and organizational development at Vanderbilt University. “That can only help me be a more well-rounded manager in the future. One thing that hasn’t changed is my desire to be a big-league manager one day.”