Missoula Osprey

From BR Bullpen


Team History[edit]

The Missoula Osprey began play in the Pioneer League in 1999 when the Lethbridge Black Diamonds relocated to Montana. For its entire existence, the club was an affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and they played their home games at Ogren Park at Allegiance Field (originally called Play Ball Park) in Missoula, Montana. In their inaugural season, the Osprey captured the league championship, and in 2006, they won another crown. After 21 seasons the team was rebranded as the Missoula PaddleHeads for 2020 - a season that was never played due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In their first season, skipper Joe Almaraz led the Osprey to a league title after sweeping the Helena Brewers and Billings Mustangs in the postseason. First baseman Lyle Overbay hit .343 with 12 home runs and a league leading 101 RBIs, and catcher J.D. Closser smashed 10 homers while hitting .324. Closer Brian Matzenbacher saved 11 games while posting a 3.12 ERA out of the pen.

Under new manager Chip Hale, the Osprey posted the best overall record in their division in 2000 but did not reach the playoffs after finishing second in both halves of the season. Outfielder Victor Hall hit .307 and led the league with 47 stolen bases, and was joined on the All-Star team by Luis Terrero, who hit 8 homers.

Hale's club went 52-24 in 2001 but lost in the first round of the playoffs to the Billings Mustangs. First baseman Jesus Cota powered the offense, hitting .368 with 16 home runs and 71 RBIs. On the mound, closer Jesus Silva went 3-0 with a 2.37 ERA and led the league with 14 saves.

Jack Howell took over as manager of the Osprey in 2002, but the club missed out on the playoffs. Brandon Simon provided one of the bright spots for the team, leading the league with 30 stolen bases (despite only hitting .215). William Juárez (6-2, 2.43) was second in the league in ERA.

The Osprey missed the playoffs again in 2003, posting identical 18-20 marks in both halves of the season for manager Tony Perezchica. Starter Angel Rocha went 5-8 with a 3.13 ERA while closer Alexander Cremidan posted a 1.38 ERA and led the league with 15 saves.

With Jim Presley taking over at the helm, the Osprey struggled in 2004, finishing in last place in their division in both halves of the season. Outfielder Jaen Centeno provided one of the few bright spots, hitting .296 and making the All-Star team.

The Osprey showed a little improvement under new skipper Hector de la Cruz in 2005. Pitcher Greg Smith paced the circuit with 8 wins and 100 strikeouts.

In 2006, de la Cruz led the Osprey to a second place finish in both halves of the season, before sweeping Billings and the Idaho Falls Chukars to win the league championship. Outfielder Gerardo Parra led the offense with a .328 batting average. Pitchers Anthony Barnette and Osbek Castillo tied for the league lead with 6 victories apiece. Closer Daniel Stange also paced the circuit with 13 saves.

Under new skipper Damon Mashore, the reigning champs fell to last place in both halves of the season. Second baseman Taylor Harbin and outfielder Peter Clifford each hit 10 home runs to lead the club.

Year-by-Year Record[edit]

Year Record Finish Manager Playoffs Hitting coach Pitching coach Coach
1999 45-31 3rd Joe Almaraz League Champs Royal Clayton
2000 44-32 2nd Chip Hale Aurelio Rodríguez James Keller
2001 52-24 2nd Chip Hale Lost in 1st round Hector de la Cruz Mark Davis
2002 35-41 6th (t) Jack Howell Hector de la Cruz Dan Carlson
2003 36-40 5th Tony Perezchica
2004 27-46 8th Jim Presley Wellington Cepeda
2005 34-42 6th (t) Hector de la Cruz Jerry Stitt Mel Stottlemyre
2006 42-34 3rd Hector de la Cruz League Champs Jerry Stitt Mel Stottlemyre
2007 27-49 7th Damon Mashore Jerry Stitt Steve Merriman
2008 21-54 8th Audo Vicente Alan Zinter
2009 40-36 5th Audo Vicente Lost League Finals Jason Hardtke
2010 28-47 7th Hector de la Cruz Jason Hardtke Gil Heredia
2011 41-35 4th (t) Hector de la Cruz Lost in 1st round Andy Green Gil Heredia
2012 41-35 4th Andy Green League Champs J.R. House Gil Heredia
2013 31-42 7th Robby Hammock Doug Bochtler
2014 36-40 7th Audo Vicente Vince Harrison Jeff Bajenaru
2015 42-33 2nd Joe Mather League Champs Tack Wilson Jeff Bajenaru
2016 33-42 7th Joe Mather Franklin Stubbs Darwin Peguero
2017 38-38 3rd (t) Mike Benjamin Lost in 1st round Micah Franklin Shane Loux Rick Short
2018 39-36 5th Mike Benjamin Jose Amado Shane Loux Eddie Oropesa
2019 40-36 2nd Juan Francia K.C. Judge Manny Garcia Mike Benjamin

Related Sites[edit]