• Holy Cow! Las Cruces Vaqueros!

    Posted by on October 17th, 2013 · Comments (1)

    I was just reading about K.C. Serna in Baseball America -

    True shortstops don’t end up in indy ball. A shortstop in the independent leagues is usually a second baseman or third baseman in affiliated ball at best, because major league organizations simply don’t release legitimate defenders at short.

    Serna is the exception, but with good reason. A three-year starter at Oregon, Serna’s junior year was clouded by a suspension for violating team rules. He fell in the 2011 draft, getting picked by the Indians in the 42nd round. They released him in the spring of 2012 because of makeup issues. Serna bounced around to the Freedom League before landing in Amarillo this spring.

    Amarillo manager Bobby Brown told Serna that he was joining the club with two strikes against him because of his previous problems. Brown said he’s now convinced that the shortstop has matured.

    “I tell everyone I’m not standing at the table, I’m standing on top of the table for this kid. He doesn’t drink, doesn’t smoke. He gave me no problems. He’s been a model citizen,” Brown said.

    Serna hit over .300 while playing the best defense in the league.

    “His range, arm strength and instincts are second to none,” Brown said.

    Bobby Brown? Could that be the Bobby Brown that played for the Yankees and Padres? Wanting to know, I looked and saw that it is this Bobby Brown, and not the one I thought it could be:

    Brown is entering his 15th season in professional baseball, 10 years as a player and 5 in the coaching ranks. Most recently Brown was the manager of the Abilene Prairie Dogs of the United League, an expansion club who played the first year as a semi-travel team with 25 home games and 60 road games finishing 35-50. Despite all the travel, Abilene was considered a huge success, Brown helped to develop the #1, #6, and #14 prospects in all of Independent Baseball. The foundation was set in Abilene for a big run in 2013, stadium issues forced Abilene to wait until the future to continue the ball club.

    In 2010 he managed the Las Cruces Vaqueros of the continental league winning the pennent and finishing the regular season 34-14 reaching the championship series. Brown also managed the Santa Maria Indians in 2008 of the California collegiate league finishing 30-18.

    Brown spent 3 years as the director of baseball operations for the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and Kanai Peninsula Oilers of the prestigious Alaskan Baseball League. Two out of those three clubs advanced to the national championship in Wichita, Ks.

    In 2011 as the hitting coach for the San Angelo Colts of the United League under Doc Edwards, the colts broke almost every team and league record offensively in 2011 including an eye-popping 181 homeruns in 90 games winning the Pennent. He has built a relationship with Doc Edwards that goes far beyond x’s and o’s, “I’m so grateful to have worked so close with Doc these past 3 years, he’s on a different level than anybody in the business, the way he deals with players, his connection to people in the city of San Angelo, the fairness and kindness he deals with umpires, front office staff, etc. I think everybody who manages should work with him first.”

    Upon retiring from playing in 2005, Bobby spent 3 years at Allan Hancock College as the hitting/outfield coach as well as recruiting coordinator. “I cherish those years as a junior college coach, there is so much teaching at that level. I was able to learn through trial and error, and the recruiting at the college level is very similar to recruiting at the independent pro level.”

    As a player Brown played collegiately at the University of Oklahoma and played left-field for the 1995 college World Series team leading the club with a .362 batting average.

    Signed as a non-drafted free agent with the KC Royals in 1997, Brown played at Ft. Myers and Spokane before playing 8 more years of international/ independent baseball.

    Brown is most proud of the 6 straight playoff teams he played on winning the northern league central Championship 2001/2002 with the Winnipeg Goldeyes and winning the Northeast League Championship with the Brockton Rox in 2003.

    According to Brown, “The only reasons to play Minor League baseball are to make the big leagues and win championships.”

    Now, that’s a baseball guy. You have to love the game to travel that road. Reading it, Las Cruces Vaqueros caught my eye. What a great name for a baseball team! (Raise your hand if you remember the Wings Las Cruces episode.) Sadly, they are no more.

    But, I noticed that Mike Rizzuto once played for them in 2011. And, as far as I can tell, he is one of only two Rizzuto’s to ever play professional baseball.

    Holy Cow!

    Comments on Holy Cow! Las Cruces Vaqueros!

    1. redbug
      October 17th, 2013 | 5:55 pm

      Great post, Steve!

      Bobby Brown, Doc Edwards, Mike and Phil Rizzoto all in one place! Very cool. Except for Mike Rizzuto, I remember them all.

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