Long Island Ducks manager and former New York Met Wally Backman has been arrested by Riverhead Town police following a domestic incident Friday morning, according to police.
Mr. Backman, 59, of Deer Park faces a fourth-degree criminal mischief and second-degree harassment charges, police said.
According to a criminal complaint, Mr. Backman pushed the woman, who was described as his girlfriend, against a wall at her Riverhead house and proceeded to grab and twist her left hand, causing pain and a laceration that required medical attention.
The criminal mischief charge stems from Mr. Backman allegedly preventing the woman from calling police by grabbing her phone, according to the complaint. The incident occurred about 7:42 a.m., police said.
Mr. Backman pleaded not guilty in Riverhead Town Justice Court Friday before Judge Lori Hulse and is represented by attorney Stephen Civardi. An order of protection was issued to keep Mr. Backman away from the victim.
His attorney requested the phone be returned, saying that the woman had been making calls from it.
Mr. Backman is due back in court Sept. 17.
The Ducks issued a statement, posted on the team website, saying: “We are aware of the August 30 alleged incident involving manager Wally Backman. We have spoken with Wally and understand he categorically denies all charges against him. Wally will continue as manager and neither he nor the Long Island Ducks will comment further on this pending legal matter.”
Mr. Backman lost his job with the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004, just four days after being introduced as manager. The firing came after allegations of domestic abuse with his wife and for drunken driving in 2001, according to media reports. The New York Times had published a story detailing his financial problems, which the team had said at the time it was unaware of. The team took responsibility for failing to investigate his background.
His managerial career has spanned more than two decades, almost entirely at the minor league level. This was his first season with the Long Island Ducks. He was hired by the Mets for the 2010 season to manage the Class A Brooklyn Cyclones. He climbed the organizational depth chart to manage the Class AAA affiliate in Las Vegas until that partnership ended in September 2016. Mr. Backman has been quoted as saying he was pushed out of the position.
Mr. Backman played the first nine years of his major league career with the Mets, helping the team win its last World Series title in 1986. He batted .320 that season as a second baseman and played in 124 games.
Mr. Backman is the sixth manager of the Ducks in the team’s 20-year history. The Ducks are an independent team that competes in the Atlantic League.
The Ducks are scheduled to play Somerset Patriots Friday night at home.
Photo caption: Wally Backman, left, outside Riverhead Town Justice Court Friday. (Credit: Tim Gannon)