Texas League Hall of Fame Class of 2016
Keith Bodie, Player and Manager
A scrappy, competitive third baseman/outfielder in three seasons at Jackson in the late 1970's, Bodie returned to the league after a 21 year absence, developing into one of the most successful managers in Texas League history, first with Wichita from 2000 through 2003, then nine years later with Corpus Christi for three seasons beginning in 2012. In seven league seasons, Bodie led his clubs to Texas League post-season play in all but his final year at Corpus Christi, becoming the first manager in league history to lead a team into post-season play in his first six years managing in the loop. Additionally, in the long history of the league, only Jake Atz (7) and Al Vincent (8) led TL teams into the playoffs more often than did Bodie. With a Texas League career record of 537-436, the native New Yorker amassed a winning percentage of .552, eighth best in league history. In addition, he is ninth, all-time, with 537 wins and 10th in total games managed with 973.
Mark Brouhard, Outfielder
Another in the long line of sluggers to have played in El Paso, Brouhard tore through the Texas League in 1979, leading the loop in hits, home runs, RBI's, total bases and slugging percentage. Not surprisingly, for his efforts, the Southern California native was named the 1979 Texas League Player of the Year, as well as a league post-season all star. Brouhard made a brief stop in the league in 1987, playing for Midland while trying to return to the Major Leagues following injuries.
Dave Elmore, Owner
The 2016 season is Dave Elmore's 30th as the owner of the San Antonio franchise. He purchased the club, then called the Dodgers, at the start of the 1987 season, renaming them the Missions the following year. Over the 30 seasons in the Texas League, Dave has been a stable, valuable and respected voice in league affairs, as well as on various Minor League Baseball boards and committees. Under his ownership, the San Antonio club helped develop one of the first modern parks in the Texas League, opening Nelson Wolff Municipal Stadium in 1994, a stadium that for many years was know as "the jewel of the Texas League". During his ownership, the Illinois native has put in place a stable and accomplished management team that has won numerous league and national awards, including five for the Texas League Executive of the Year, the Texas League Organization of the Year in 1994 and the Baseball America Bob Freitas Award in 1997.
Bob Hards, Broadcaster
In 2016, Bob Hards joined a select and exclusive group of broadcasters that have worked in the Texas League for 25 or more seasons. Hired by the Midland club to become their play-by-play announcer in November, 1991, Hards has become a revered member of the Permian Basin community, as well as a respected and popular member of the Texas League. The current "Dean" of league broadcasters, Hards is known for his passionate, witty, fun and focused broadcasts, his love of baseball history, particularly of the Midland club and the Texas League, and game recaps and notes that are a must read after every morning. In addition to his broadcast duties, Hards is responsible for the design for all the RockHounds publications and marketing material which consistently have the look and content of Major League products. Hards becomes just the fifth broadcaster elected to the league Hall of Fame.
Ash Hillin, Pitcher
A good fielding pitcher, who sometimes struggled with injuries and his control, Ash Hillin had a number of brilliant seasons in the Texas League, particularly 1937 and 1938, when he was a combined 54-20, winning 31 games in Oklahoma City in the first of the two seasons. Pitching for San Antonio in 1934, Hillin won a league best 24 games, earning him the Texas League Pitcher of the Year Award. He topped that in 1937 when he was named the league's Player of the Year after going 31-10 with a league best 2.34 ERA. Hillin also pitched in a total of 62 games in '37, establishing a new league mark for appearances by a pitcher. A workhorse on the mound, Hillin completed 128 starts in his seven full seasons in the loop, while tossing more than 250 innings five times, topped by his 302 innings during his fantastic 1937 season. With a career mark of 136-123, Hillin is 10th all time in wins in the league, fourth in appearances with 410 and ninth all-time in innings pitched with 2,097.
Monty Hoppel, Executive
Hired by the Midland club mere months before the team was sold to Miles Prentice and Bob Richmond, Monty Hoppel arrived in the Permian Basin in September on 1989 and has been there ever since. The 2016 season represents the 28th he has spent guiding the fortunes of West Texas club, in one of the smallest markets in Double A baseball. Easy going and driven, Hoppel and his staff have built a record of accomplishment that helped prompt the city of Midland to build a modern facility for the club in 2002. The new ballpark has allowed the team draw each season more people to their games than there are people in the combined Midland and Odessa markets. For his efforts, the Montana native has become one of the most decorated executives in league history, earning five league Executive of the Year Awards and the Baseball America Minor League Executive of the Year trophy in 2010, while the Midland club earned the TL Organization of the Year award four times under his leadership, as well as the Bob Freitas Award from Baseball America in 1995.
Tom Kayser, Executive
President of the Texas League from March 1992 through February 2017, Tom Kayser has led the loop for 25 seasons, the longest serving leader in the long history of the Texas League, surpassing the tenure of J. Alvin Gardner, who was the league's chief executive from late 1929 until 1954. During Kayser's long term of service, he helped guide the league into the second Golden Age and arguably the most prosperous period in league history. Over his 25 years, vibrant new cities entered the league, new facilities were built in every league location and overall attendance increased from 1.6 million in 1991 to over 3.1 million in 2008. An avid historian, Kayser was the co-author of two Texas League related books, while he helped rebuild and rediscover vast tracts of the league's storied past. A former minor league club operator and owner and player development executive with Pittsburgh and Cincinnati prior to his election as Texas League president, Kayser was selected as the Eastern League Executive of the Year in 1980 and was the recipient of Minor League Baseball's Warren Giles Award, that annually honors outstanding service as a league president.
Miles Prentice and Bob Richmond, Owners
Over the many years since purchasing the Midland Angels in 1990, Miles Prentice and Bob Richmond have been a perfect partnership for the Permian Basin franchise. Prentice has been the very visible majority owner, always being seen in Midland and elsewhere with his team's cap on his head. Extremely loyal to the Midland market, Prentice worked patiently with the city for nearly 10 years to replace the aging Christensen Stadium, his efforts culminating in the opening of a state of the art facility in 2002. New to the game when he agreed to purchase the team, Prentice relied on Richmond to help build and guide the business through the official baseball world. Together the pair assembled a terrific staff headed by long-time GM Monty Hoppel, while making their operation a model of consistency and success. One of the important hallmarks of the Prentice and Richmond ownership of the Midland club has been their emphasis on integrating the club into the fabric of the community. That attitude is best exemplified in their winter West Texas Sports Banquet which they began in 1991and has raised nearly $500,000 for local charities. In addition to many awards earned by the club under their leadership, both Prentice and Richmond have been deeply involved in Minor League Baseball, Prentice on a number of boards and committees, including the Board of Trustees and Richmond as the long-time president of the Northwest and Arizona Summer Leagues.
Ken Schrom, Pitcher and Executive
A pitcher for the El Paso Diablos in the late 1970's, Schrom began preparing for a life after his playing career when he joined the sales staff of the Diablos in 1981, working for the club each off season until joining the club on a full-time basis in 1989, following a successful career in the American League. Over the following 16 seasons, Schrom became the Diablos Director of Sales and Marketing and later their Executive Vice President, before moving to Corpus Christi to become the General Manager of the Hooks in 2005 and in 2007, club president. During his 36 year association with the league, Schrom participated in the success of the Diablos, who won the Baseball America Bob Freitas Award in 1898, as well as the Texas League Organization of the Year Award and Minor League Baseball Larry MacPhail Awards in 1993. During his tenure in Corpus Christi, the Hooks have consistently been one of the top draws in all of Double A baseball. For their efforts under Schrom, Corpus Christi won the TL Organization of the Year trophy twice, in 2009 and 2015, while the Idaho native was elected the TL Executive of the Year in 2005.
Burl Yarbrough, Executive
Joining the San Antonio club as General Manager in the fall of 1987, the 2016 season represents Yarbrough's 29th in the Alamo City. In his early years with the club, operating in obsolete V. J. Keefe Stadium, Yarbrough quickly established a fun atmosphere that led to a 66% increase in attendance by 1993. With the club's move to a new stadium in 1994, Yarborough and his staff shattered the existing Texas League attendance record, drawing over 411,000 fans, becoming just the third TL club to draw more than 400,000 fans in a single season, and the first since 1949. During their first 22 seasons in Wolff Municipal Stadium, Burl and his staff drew well over seven million fans to regular season, post-season and all star games, consistently drawing more than 300,000 fans per season. For his efforts, Yarbrough, the president of the Missions since 2004, was voted the Texas League Executive of the Year three times, in 1989, 1994 and 2011, while the Missions received the Texas League's Organization of the Year Award in 1997 and the Baseball America Bob Freitas Award in 1994.