Tulsa Drillers

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Tulsa Drillers
Founded in 1977
Tulsa, Oklahoma
TulsaDrillers.PNG TulsaDrills.PNG
Team logo Cap insignia
Class-level
Current AA
Minor league affiliations
League Texas League
Division North Division
Major league affiliations
Current Colorado Rockies
Previous Texas Rangers
Minor league titles
League titles 1982, 1988, 1998
Division titles 1999, 2002, 2006,2014 (1st half)
Team data
Nickname Tulsa Drillers (1977–Present)
Lafayette Drillers (1975–1977)
Ballpark ONEOK Field (2010–present)
Previous parks Drillers Stadium (1981–2009)
Oiler Park (1977–1980)
Owner(s)/
Operator(s)
Went Hubbard
Manager Duane Espy
General manager Mike Melega

The Tulsa Drillers are a minor league baseball team based in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies major-league club.

Stadium[edit]

The Drillers play at ONEOK Field (pronounced "wun-oak"), in downtown Tulsa's Greenwood district. The team previously played at Drillers Stadium on the Tulsa County Fairgrounds at 15th and Yale in midtown Tulsa. The Drillers held their first home opener at ONEOK Field on April 8, 2010, losing 7–0 to the Corpus Christi Hooks in front of an over-capacity crowd of 8,665.[1] In their first season in the new ballpark, the Drillers drew total attendance of 408,183, the highest season figure in the history of Tulsa professional baseball.[2]

History[edit]

The Drillers came into being in 1977, when a Lafayette, Louisiana team was transferred to Tulsa. Before that time, the Triple-A Tulsa Oilers had been the city's minor league club, but owner A. Ray Smith moved that team to New Orleans, Louisiana due to concerns over the dilapidated condition of Oiler Park. Tulsa County completed 8,000 seat Robert B. Sutton Stadium in 1981, naming it for its chief benefactor, a local oil executive. (The team name also pays homage to the oil industry which has been a large part of the Tulsa economy.) Sutton, however, was convicted in 1982 of fraud, and as a result the County renamed the park Tulsa County Stadium, and renamed it Drillers Stadium in 1989.

From 1976 to 2002, the Drillers were the Double-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers. In 2002, Rangers owner Tom Hicks purchased the Shreveport, Louisiana Texas League franchise with the intention of moving the team to Frisco, Texas, a suburban city north of Dallas, Texas. At the time, the Shreveport Swamp Dragons were affiliated with the San Francisco Giants; Hicks cast aside this association and bought out the remaining two years of Tulsa's Player Development Contract. The Drillers then signed a two-year agreement with the Colorado Rockies.

Championship seasons[edit]

The Drillers have been Texas League champions three times: in 1982, 1988, and 1998. As well as Eastern Division Champions in 1999, and 2002. The Drillers also appeared in the Texas League playoffs during the 2004, 2005, 2006, and 2007 seasons.

Ownership[edit]

Tulsa businessman Bill Rollings acquired the Lafayette franchise and moved it to Tulsa in 1977.[3][4] Country music entertainer Roy Clark was a co-owner of the team for six years.[5] Went Hubbard bought the team in 1986. In March 2006, Chuck Lamson (a former Drillers pitcher and executive) bought out much of Hubbard's stock in the team; Lamson became president and majority owner of the team.[6] In December 2010, Lamson sold his stock back to Hubbard. This transaction made Hubbard the sole owner of the team; his sons, Dale and Jeff, became co-chairmen. Went and Dale Hubbard are residents of Walpole, New Hampshire; Jeff Hubbard, a former player (in 1987) and coach (in 1991) for the Drillers, lives in Durham, North Carolina.[7] Went Hubbard died in September 2012.[8]

Media[edit]

ESPN Sportscenter anchor John Anderson has often alluded to team alumni as "former Driller(s)" on-air. Anderson was a weekend sports anchor for Tulsa CBS affiliate KOTV before joining ESPN. [9]

For 13 years the Tulsa Drillers' radio (and sometime television) announcer was Mark Neely, but in January 2009 it was announced that Neely had been hired to be the new TV play-by-play announcer for the San Diego Padres.[10] In February the Drillers announced that Neely's replacement would be Dennis Higgins, former announcer for the Wichita Wranglers.[11] Since the 2005 season, the Drillers have been broadcast on KTBZ (AM), Sports Radio 1430, "The Buzz" in Tulsa.[12]

Coach's death[edit]

Batting coach Mike Coolbaugh was killed in a freak accident on July 22, 2007. While standing in the first base coach box, he was hit in the head by a line drive.[13] Although CPR was administered at the scene, he died less than an hour later. The Drillers and Travelers suspended their game, which the Travelers had been leading, 7–3, in the ninth inning. The Drillers also postponed their game the following night.[14] The coroner concluded that Coolbaugh was actually hit in the neck with the line drive instead of the head, which ruptured an artery in his neck, killing him.[15]

Notable former players[edit]

Current roster[edit]

Tulsa Drillers roster
Players Coaches/Other

Pitchers

Catchers

  • 38 Jose Gonzalez Injury icon 2.svg
  •  9 Tom Murphy Injury icon 2.svg
  •  7 Chris O'Dowd

Infielders

  • 32 Ryan Casteel
  • 12 Taylor Featherston
  • 28 Jayson Langfels
  •  4 Jose Rivera
  •  3 Trevor Story
  • 23 Will Swanner
  •  1 Joey Wong

Outfielders

  • 24 Delta Cleary, Jr.
  • 18 Brian Humphries
  •  5 Tyler Massey
  •  6 Jared Simon

Manager

  • 26 Kevin Riggs

Coaches


Injury icon 2.svg 7-day disabled list
* On Colorado Rockies 40-man roster
∞ Reserve list
§ Suspended list
‡ Restricted list
# Rehab assignment
Roster updated July 22, 2014
Transactions
More MiLB rosters
Colorado Rockies minor league players

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]