Butte Copper Kings

From BR Bullpen


The Butte Copper Kings played in the Pioneer League from 1978 to 1985 and 1987 to 2000. Butte and Pocatello were out of the league in 1986. Under the leadership of manager Kenneth Richardson, they won their only league title in 1981, defeating the Calgary Expos to capture the championship. That season, outfielder Eric Payton led the league with a .403 batting average and 65 RBIs, and shortstop and future big leaguer Ernest Riles made the league's All-Star team. The next year, Cecil Fielder played for the club, leading the league with 20 homers. The Copper Kings suspended operations in 1986 but resumed play the following year. Skipper Bump Wills led the team to the postseason again in 1988 and 1989, but they were defeated by the Great Falls Dodgers both years.

The 1978 Copper Kings got limited help from major league organizations. The Philadelphia Phillies sent 7 players including Julio Franco, the Seattle Mariners sent 4, and the Oakland A's sent 2.

The 1985 Copper Kings were operated largely as an independent team, with 23 of the players never appearing in a major league organization. However, the Los Angeles Dodgers and Seattle Mariners each sent at least 3 players and a handful of other teams sent a player.

The 1987 Butte team was also rather independent, though the Texas Rangers sent 7 players including Rey Sanchez and the Milwaukee Brewers sent 4 including Angel Miranda.

The 1993 team received 7 players from the Texas Rangers, 3 from the Cleveland Indians, and 1 each from the Montreal Expos, San Francisco Giants, and Baltimore Orioles.

The 1994 Copper Kings had only 4 players from the Indians and 1 player from the Chicago White Sox.

In 2001, the team moved to Wyoming, becoming the Casper Rockies. The Angels organization moved its Pioneer League affiliation to the Provo Angels.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Affiliation Record Finish Manager Playoffs
1978 Co-op 19-47 8th Tom Zimmer
1979 Milwaukee Brewers 32-34 3rd Kenneth Richardson / Tom Gamboa
1980 Milwaukee Brewers 29-40 4th Kenneth Richardson
1981 Milwaukee Brewers 39-31 1st Kenneth Richardson League Champs
1982 Kansas City Royals 41-29 2nd Tommy Jones
1983 Kansas City Royals 41-29 2nd Tommy Jones
1984 Seattle Mariners 38-32 2nd Manny Estrada
1985 Co-op 24-45 4th Hal Dyer
1987 Co-op 19-50 4th Ernie Rodriguez
1988 Texas Rangers 44-26 1st Bump Wills Lost League Finals
1989 Texas Rangers 41-25 1st Bump Wills Lost League Finals
1990 Texas Rangers 37-30 5th Bump Wills
1991 Texas Rangers 29-41 5th Dick Egan
1992 Texas Rangers 33-43 3rd Victor Ramirez
1993 Co-op 26-49 8th John Shelby
1994 Co-op 24-48 4th Bruce Crabbe
1995 Co-op 19-51 8th Billy Gardner Jr.
1996 Tampa Bay Devil Rays 37-35 5th Tom Foley Lost in 1st round
1997 Anaheim Angels 30-42 7th Bill Lachemann
1998 Anaheim Angels 26-50 7th Bill Lachemann
1999 Anaheim Angels 32-43 6th Joe Urso
2000 Anaheim Angels 29-47 7th Joe Urso

Field Staff[edit]