Former Twins general manager Terry Ryan has been named the Arizona Fall League’s 2009 Roland Hemond Award.
Ryan received the award before Tuesday night’s AFL contest between the Peoria Javelinas and Scottsdale Scorpions. He was presented his award by Hemond and Arizona Fall League executive director Steve Cobb.
The award is presented annually to recognize baseball executives who have provided at least 15 years of outstanding service to professional baseball and served the Arizona Fall League in a key leadership capacity. It’s named after Hemond, who helped start the league in 1992 after spending two years selling the concept of a six-week offseason league to baseball’s general managers and owners.
Ryan, who has been a member of the Twins front office since 1986, is currently in his seventh year as a member of the Arizona Fall League’s oversight committee.
“I thank the Twins for the longevity I’ve had in the organization and also the ability to work with the Fall League,” Ryan said in his speech after receiving the award. “I’m proud of what we accomplished here. I’m proud of Roland for creating this league.”
“We’ve tweaked it and I think we are getting close to being very satisfied with the way it’s operated,” he added. “Once again, I’m very humbled to receive this award.”
Ryan has served as a senior advisor to Twins general manager Bill Smith for the past two years after stepping down from the GM position at the end of the 2007 season. He held the role of Twins GM for 13 seasons (1995-2007) and during his tenure the club won four American League Central titles (2002-04, 2006).
In addition to his role with the Twins, Ryan has also played a significant part in helping to develop the Fall League and he expressed his pride in what it’s now become.
“This is the best developmental league in the game,” Ryan said. “We have the best trainers from the Minor Leagues here. We have the best players and the best managers and coaches. We have the best of everything, the facilities and the travel.”
Ryan also used his speech to encourage the players who are currently taking part in this year’s Fall League.
“Any organization that has any idea about development comes in and covers this league,” Ryan said. “Players, just to let you know, you are not very far away. If you are in this league, it means you are good.
“Your organization thinks highly of you and you are just a phone call away. Keep playing the game the right way, keep trying and ultimately you will surface in the big leagues and stay there.”