Saturday, October 7, 2017

Monty Hoppel, Most Important - 28

The Midland Angels changed hands in 1991 and the new ownership group kept on still relatively new general manager in Monty Hoppel.

Hoppel began work a season before. The new ownership group saw good things in him, co-owner Bob Richmond explained years later.

"We knew he was a winner instantly, but we really had no idea just how great he would become," Richmond told Baseball America in 2010. "Because of Monty, we believe we have the finest staff in the business. Our franchise is unsurpassed in staff loyalty and longevity. We really are, in many ways, a family."

Richmond spoke to Baseball America on the occasion for the latest honor in Hoppel's long career with Midland: Baseball America's 2010 Executive of the Year.

Hoppel has won multiple awards during his long tenure in the Permian Basin area of Texas, including five similar honors from the Texas League.

Hoppel's long career in baseball, however, began elsewhere, in the Montana and the Pacific Northwest. Hoppel grew up in Montana and then graduated from Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash. He graduated with a degree communications and a minor in business.

He then started in baseball there in Spokane, with the Spokane Indians, before moving to the AAA Tucson Toros for five years. He became assistant general manager at Tucson and briefly interim general manager.

For 1990, he signed on with AA Midland as general manager and he found a home. He quickly won his first Texas League Executive of the Year award in 1991. He won again in 1995, 2002, 2009 and 2013.

He won the awards by getting results in the stands. Attendance went up 30,000 his first year and topped 200,000 in 1995, according to a 2011 feature in Gonzaga Magazine. Midland drew 282,000 in 2017.

"We don’t have any control over the players on the field or the weather," Hoppel told Gonzaga Magazine. "But everything else we can control. We have made this a family-friendly entertainment venue, with games, promotions, fireworks and guest appearances."

To his hometown Billings Gazette in 2003, Hoppel told of seeing his hard work turn into entertained fans.

"Standing at the gate, watching all the fans come in, that's when your work is done for the day," Hoppel told The Gazette. "Making people happy is the most important thing."
1990 Minor League Tally
Players/Coaches Featured: 2,771
Made the Majors:1,059-38.2%
Never Made Majors:1,712-61.8%
5+ Seasons in the Majors: 442
10+ Seasons in the Minors:264

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