Rodgers Buys a Piece of Vigilantes


When the Vigilantes baseball team begins its second season in Mission Viejo in May, Buck Rodgers will be wearing more than a manager’s cap.

On Thursday, team president Pat Elster said Rodgers had become a minority owner in the Western Baseball League franchise. Rodgers also retained his title as director of baseball operations.

Rodgers is the second former Angel to buy into the Vigilantes, joining Bobby Grich, the team’s assistant general manager.


Elster would not say how much of the team Rodgers owns--”It’s a bigger commitment than just being the field manager,”--but made it clear Rodgers would be anything but a silent partner.

“Buck is one of the few really superb baseball minds that can see past the foul lines,” Elster said. “He will have input into other areas of the organization. He is a great leader; many of the changes people will see at the park are due to Buck’s influence.”

Rodgers, who missed half the 1997 season because of a June traffic accident in Ohio that resulted in the death of his parents, said his return to the Vigilantes was not predicated on part ownership. He said he did not think of returning to baseball in any capacity until the beginning of the year.

“The last six to seven months were very tough ones,” Rodgers said. “I had to have some time to myself, think about things, and do the things I had to do. But I also felt that I left Pat and [General Manager] Paula [Piers] in a lurch last year. Even though the circumstances weren’t good, I felt I didn’t do the kind of job that I can do.

“This year I wanted to show them I could the job I said I could, both on the field and off the field. This is what compelled me to come back. Unless I got the job in major league baseball I wanted, I said to myself ‘Stay here, stay in Orange County, in Mission Viejo, and do the things I want.’ ”

As a catcher, Rodgers was one of the original Angels when the team was formed in 1961, remaining in the major leagues until 1969. He began his managerial career in 1975 with Salinas in the California League. He became a major league manager in 1980 with the Milwaukee Brewers. He has also managed Montreal and the Angels, being fired by Anaheim midway through the 1994 season.


Elster indicated Rodgers will remain a minority owner even if he takes another job with a major league organization.