Mike and Judy Ellis, the majority stakeholders in Mountain Baseball LLC, the franchise ownership group since 1993, announced Friday their intent to sell the franchise to Peter Davis and Susan Crampton Davis of Big Sky Professional Baseball LLC. After one of the longest tenures in Minor League baseball, the Ellis's and their partners, have decided it is time to retire and pass the torch to an ownership group with new ideas, a fresh perspective and who share the passion to elevate the Missoula Osprey to new heights. Big Sky Professional Baseball LLC plans to maintain the current Osprey Front Office staff and work to elevate the franchise for all of Missoula by investing in the community, the stadium, and fan experience. The sale of the club is subject to the written approval of the Pioneer League and Minor League Baseball and the review of the Baseball Office of the Commissioner and is expected to close within the next 30 days.
Peter Davis takes the helm with a broad track record of success in for-profit and non-profit industries, an insatiable passion for the game of baseball, and a love for community and fan experience. "I've dreamed of owning a baseball franchise for over twenty years. To be on the cusp of making this dream a reality, in the good city of Missoula, is absolutely thrilling for me," said Davis. A devoted Seattle Mariners season ticket holder for twenty-six years (both regular season and Spring training), Davis scores every pitch in his custom score book.
From 1995 to 2017, Davis served as the Chairman and CEO of Gaco Western, a manufacturer of technologically superior architectural and waterproofing coatings and polyurethane foam. "I took over a failing family company in 1995. Gaco was bankrupt in every way: morally, strategically and financially. Through vision and the development of an exceptional executive team, technologically superior, customer-focused products and a rabid selling culture - all supported by our core values - we built a culture where the underdogs won against the fortune 100 companies in every way. In 2017, we sold Gaco to Firestone Building products.
Davis is not a stranger to entertainment and community endeavors. Prior to his time at Gaco Western, Davis served as the Managing Director of the Intiman Theatre in Seattle, Washington. Under his leadership, Intiman moved into a new Intiman Playhouse, participated in the Goodwill Games, with two plays in Russian in Seattle in the summer, and also produced The Kentucky Cycle, which went on to Broadway and won the Pulitzer Prize for Drama.
Susan Crampton Davis spent most of her corporate career working in the field of Human Resources, most recently at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Since 2008, Crampton Davis operated an independent healing and coaching practice which she recently closed to make more room for family and baseball.
"We are very fortunate, we found the perfect couple in the Davises, said Mike Ellis, Mountain Baseball LLC President. "They are so very impressive. Judy and I are not going anywhere, and we will be proud to attend the Osprey Games as fans and watch as they bring to Missoula an even more exciting and fun experience. I know you will all accept them and support them as you have us."
As mentioned, the Missoula Osprey staff will remain in place going forward. Matt Ellis, Taylor Rush, Kim Klages Johns, and Nola Hunter lead the front office team that oversees over 80 employees throughout the year. The staff have already begun working hard on the 2019 season, in concert with the Davises, to produce the fun, affordable, family friendly environment that Missoula has grown to expect out of the club.
"Our staff is excited for the future. We are thankful to Mountain Baseball LLC for giving us this opportunity to run this franchise in the greatest place on earth," explained Osprey Executive Vice President Matt Ellis. "Now we look to the future and the Davis ownership. We are dedicated to working with them to grow Osprey baseball to new heights in all areas."
The Missoula Osprey began play in 1999, as the Rookie Short Season-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks and have maintained the strong relationship and affiliation to this day.
"On behalf of the Arizona Diamondbacks, I would like to thank the Ellis family for all that they have done for our franchise over the years," said President and CEO Derrick Hall. "They are truly one of the great ownership groups in all of professional sports, and we always marveled and acknowledged the contributions of Mike and Judy in the community. They personified what all minor league owners should aspire to be, a first-class organization that cares deeply for its fans and our players. We wish them the best of luck in their next chapter, and are thrilled that the experienced and accomplished Matt Ellis will continue to operate the team on a daily basis."
Under Mountain Baseball LLC, the club saw four Pioneer League Championships, and 68 Osprey alumni make their Major League debuts. 2019 Season Ticket and mini plans are available now, call (406)543-3300 for more information.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.