D-backs honor Sgobba, Ward with organizational awards

PHOENIX — The Arizona Diamondbacks announced today that former D-backs professional scout Mike Sgobba and Double-A Mobile manager Turner Ward will be the recipients of the second annual D-backs’ Roland Hemond Award and D-backs’ Joe Garagiola, Jr. Award, respectively. Each recipient will be honored during a pre-game, on-field ceremony on March 24, before the D-backs take on the Kansas City Royals at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick.

Former D-backs professional scout Mike Sgobba, who passed away last December at the age of 81, will be honored with the D-backs’ Roland Hemond Award, presented annually to the individual in scouting who exemplifies the qualities of strong character, dedication to the D-backs’ organization and an unfailing work ethic in the search for championship-level talent. Sgobba joined the D-backs organization as a part-time scout in 2001 following lengthy stints with the White Sox and Athletics organizations. He became a full-time scout in 2003 and doubled as the Mexico coordinator through 2009. Prior to his professional scouting career, Sgobba was the head baseball coach at Fullerton College from 1961-1985, where he compiled a 487-325-7 record and won two South Coast Conference titles before being inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame 2007. In his 24 years at the school, 120 players went on to sign professional contracts, including Major League reliever Al Hrabosky. 

“Mike Sgobba was a warm and wonderful man who anchored our pro scouting department by mentoring younger scouts while quietly handling his coverage,” said D-backs’ Executive Vice President and General Manager Kevin Towers. “He was a great family man as well, and he carried his love for Ingrid, his children, and his grandchildren everywhere he went. Mike left his mark on the Arizona Diamondbacks organization and the game of baseball, and showed us all how to live. We miss ‘Sgobbs’ dearly in our offices and in the seats, and I cannot think of anyone more deserving of the Roland Hemond Award.”

Ward will be honored with the D-backs’ Joe Garagiola, Jr. Award, presented annually to the individual in player development who exemplifies the qualities of strong character, dedication to the D-backs’ organization and commitment to excellence in the area of instruction. In his first season at the helm, the former D-backs outfielder was named Baseball America’s 2012 Minor League Manager of the Year and lead the BayBears to their third Southern League Championship as a D-backs farm team. Mobile finished the season with a league-best 84-54 (.609) record, en route to being named Baseball America’s 2012 Minor League Team of the Year. Under Ward’s instruction, Mobile would see five players move on to become part of the D-backs 2011 National League West Divisional Championship roster.

“The Joe Garagiola, Jr. Award represents what the Arizona Diamondbacks believe and more specifically, what the Player Development staff represents,” said D-backs’ Director, Player Development Mike Bell. “All of the coaches in the D-backs Minor League system possess the knowledge to make our players better, specifically Turner Ward. Turner was able to help the team in Mobile achieve their goals on the field, but also teach them how to become better people off the field.”