Thieleke Returns To Manage Mallards

The Madison Mallards announced that Field Manager C.J. Thieleke will return for a sixth season to lead the team in 2010, after posting a 38-29 record last summer and narrowly missing the playoffs in the second half by a half-game to the La Crosse Loggers. Thieleke’s teams have reached the postseason three times (’05, ’06, ’08) en route to a Northwoods League fourth-best regular season record of 189-149, and a third-best six wins in the playoffs. During his tenure, the Mallards have made it to the NWL Championship Series twice, in 2005 and 2008, both times losing to the Thunder Bay Border Cats in the third and final game of the series.

He needs 23 victories to surpass former Rochester Honkers and Duluth Huskies Manager Dave Parra to become the league’s third-winningest manager of all-time during the regular season. Thieleke has yet to post a sub-.500 record.

When asked about those accomplishments the always humble Thieleke quickly changes the subject to reflect upon the opportunity he has been given to help shape the careers of so many talented young ballplayers from across the country.

“Don’t get me wrong, winning is what we work for, but along the way it’s more gratifying to see these kids improve each day and help them through the many ups-and-downs that take place during a minor league-type schedule,” said Thieleke.

Prior to being promoted to manager, Thieleke was an assistant coach for the Mallards for two seasons (’03-’04), including the 2004 Championship season. He has been an assistant coach at MATC for the past six years.

Thieleke was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year in 1994 at Iowa and spent three seasons there before signing with the Minnesota Twins and playing minor league baseball for two seasons.

In looking ahead to the 2010 campaign, the Mallards roster won’t be announced in its entirety until the winter months, but Thieleke did offer a glimpse of what fans can expect next summer.

“We’ve attracted a number of quality individuals, both on-and-off the field, who should step right in, work hard, and provide our fans the highest quality of baseball they’ve come to expect over the years,” said Thieleke.

“It has definitely been a fun process in attracting the most talented, and yet most well-rounded players from around the country to continue to field a competitive team to coincide with the excitement level that comes with having some of the best off-the-field entertainment in all of baseball.”