Both World Series managers have connections to the Midwest League.
Kansas City Royals manager Ned Yost was assigned to the Midwest League in his second season as a New York Mets minor-leaguer. He batted .192 with 6 HR and 27 RBI in 79 games with the 1975 Wausau Mets.
Wausau was the Midwest League team that moved to Kane County and became the Cougars in 1991.
Mets manager Terry Collins has a very different connection to the Midwest League. He is a native of Midland, Mich., home of the Great Lakes Loons. He was the Los Angeles Dodgers’ director of player development in 2006, the year the Midwest League’s Battle Creek franchise moved to Midland and switched affiliations from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays to the Dodgers. Collins acted as a liaison between the Dodgers and the Loons as they put together an affiliation agreement.
The Loons played their first game on April 5, 2007, in South Bend, with future Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Kershaw was named the Midwest League prospect of the year that season, made his MLB debut on May 25, 2008, and has won three Cy Young Awards and a MVP honor in his eight seasons with the Dodgers.
Interestingly, both Collins and Yost ran into the MLB versions of their Midwest League connections in the postseason this year. Collins’ Mets eliminated the Dodgers in the first round of the playoffs, and Yost’s Royals will face the Mets in the World Series. The Dodgers are still affiliated with the Loons, but the Mets no longer have a Midwest League team.