The Orioles' director of player development has received a nice honor. Minor League Baseball today announced that it has selected Brian Graham as the winner of the sixth annual Sheldon "Chief" Bender Award, presented to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development.
Graham just completed his sixth season with the Orioles, his first in his current role and his 32nd in professional baseball. Prior to joining the Orioles, he spent six years as the Pittsburgh Pirates' senior director of player development. During his tenure, the Pirates minor league organization was named Topps Baseball's Organization of the Year and 54 homegrown players reached the majors.
In an article posted today at MiLB.com, Graham said, "I'm also very fortunate to be part of a great organization right now. We have a general manager and major league manager who take tremendous pride in player development, and we have a lot of really good staff members who do a great job. It's truly an honor to have my name associated with 'Chief' Bender and such a prestigious award."
"The National Association has made a great choice of not just an educator, but a leader of men in Brian Graham," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was quoted as saying.
The award will be presented during the Winter Meetings on Dec. 12 in Orlando.
Here is a link to the article about Graham's award with quotes from Graham, Duquette and O's manager Buck Showalter.