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Tulsa Drillers

Founded in 1977 Tulsa, Oklahoma

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Team Logo

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Cap Insignia

Class-level
  • AA
Minor league affiliations
Major league affiliations
Name
  • Tulsa Drillers (1977-Present)

Lafayette Drillers (1975-1977)

Ballpark
Minor league titles
League titles 1982, 1988, 1998
Division titles 1999, 2002, 2006 (1st half)
Owner(s)/Operated by: Chuck Lamson
Manager: Ron Gideon
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.

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]

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.

In March 2006, Chuck Lamson bought out much of owner Went Hubbard's stock in the team and is now president and majority owner of the Drillers.

The Drillers have been Texas League champions three times: 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.

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.[citation needed]

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.[2] In February the Drillers announced that Neely's replacement would be Dennis Higgins, former announcer for the Wichita Wranglers.[3] Since the 2005 season, the Drillers have been broadcast on KTBZ (AM), Sports Radio 1430, "The Buzz" in Tulsa.[4]

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[5]. 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.[6] 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.[

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