A minor league baseball broadcaster’s book includes stories & memories from Wyoming
Tim Hagerty is a minor league baseball broadcaster for the El Paso Chihuahuas, a Triple-A team affiliated with the San Diego Padres of Major League Baseball in El Paso, Texas. His recently released book Tales from the Dugout: 1001 Humorous, Inspirational & Wild Anecdotes from Minor League Baseball includes a few stories from minor league baseball’s history in Wyoming as Hagerty had experience calling games in the Cowboy State.
“I was the broadcaster in your neck of the woods for the Idaho Falls Chukars and we used to come and play the Casper Rockies, so I have many memories of Mike Lansing Field and Wyoming,” he said.
Hagerty began his professional career in 2004, and while he never called games for a Wyoming-based team, he does have some memories of baseball over his career in the state, including the time the Chukars’ team bus broke down in Dubois in the middle of the night.
“The image I have is these players who are from Latin America from the Dominican Republic, who had only been to the United States for a couple of weeks at that time, and they were all huddled up,” he said. “They were so cold because as you know, even into early June, it can get quite cold if you're on the side of a road in Wyoming at three o'clock in the morning.”
Hagerty said the town was gracious enough to provide the team with a school bus to continue their journey back to Idaho, but the trip was one that he hasn’t forgotten.
“You never realize how small those green school bus seats are until you see a six foot five professional baseball pitcher sitting in it,” he said.
Though Wyoming may not necessarily be known for baseball, there have been a few teams that have been hosted in various communities over the years. These have included the Cheyenne Indians from 1912 to 1941 and the Casper Rockies, Cutthroats, Ghosts, and Horeseheads that all played at one time in the Oil City at various points.
“I had this idea that I wanted a big-name major-league player to contribute the foreword to the book and tell a crazy story from their minor league experience. And I got that and Billy Butler, a former Major League All-Star with the Kansas City Royals. And the story Billy tells takes place in Wyoming,” Hagerty said. “He's playing for Idaho Falls at Casper and all of a sudden, he puts his hands in the air, which is an unusual thing between pitches for a player to do, and the umpires walked over and they're all looking at the grass and your third base, and I'm broadcasting this game. Not quite sure what the delay is [but] there was a big snake on the field.”
Hagerty broadcast anywhere from 12 to 15 games he estimates in Wyoming. And even though there may not have been a lot of groundbreaking moments in baseball in the state, there was a moment that is thought to be a first for the minor league game.
“Another fact I found is in 2001 when Dick Cheney threw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Casper Rockies,” he said. “He was believed to be the first ever sitting Vice President to throw out a first pitch at a minor league baseball game.”
Hagerty’s love of the game led him to research and write on minor league baseball. His first book, Root for the Home Team: Minor League’s Most Off the Wall Team Names and the Stories Behind Them was published in 2012.