WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – One of the greatest outfielders in Wichita Wingnuts history will be back in the dugout in 2018, but not as a player. Former Major Leaguer Brent Clevlen has been named the fourth manager in franchise history for the upcoming season, the Wingnuts and General Manager Josh Robertson announced Friday.
The announcement marks the end of a storied playing career for Clevlen, one that spanned 16 professional seasons and more than 1,700 total hits. The Austin, Texas native spent six of the last seven seasons with the Wingnuts, becoming the franchise’s career leader in virtually every offensive category. In 398 games, Clevlen amassed 513 hits, including 131 doubles and 71 home runs, driving in 312 runs while scoring 315 of his own. Each mark tops the Wingnuts all-time leaderboard, while the doubles total places him in the top five in American Association history.
In 2017, Clevlen helped propel the Wingnuts to Game Five of the American Association Championship Series, hitting .302 and pacing the circuit with a career-best 34 doubles. His best season in a Wichita uniform came as a part of the Wingnuts 2014 championship campaign, when he was named the league’s Most Valuable Player with a .372 average and 20 home runs.
Clevlen, who recently celebrated his 34th birthday, was originally drafted out of high school by the Detroit Tigers in the 2nd round of the 2002 MLB Draft. He spent four years in the Tigers minor league system before making his MLB debut in 2006, homering twice in his third game with Detroit. The outfielder ultimately appeared in 59 Major League games, recording 18 total hits for the Tigers and the Atlanta Braves.
Clevlen succeeds Pete Rose Jr., whose contract was not renewed following the conclusion of the 2017 season.