2012 Field Manager
Casey Dill 2011 Field Manager
Miguel Gomez 2010 Field Manager
History of the Las Cruces Vaqueros 2009-Present
2013 Season-At the Conclusion of the 2012 Season, the San Diego Padres announced they were moving into Downtown El Paso with a AAA Team in 2014. It is going to be very hard for the Las Cruces Vaqueros to have a team in Independent Baseball within the radius of a AAA affiliated market. The Pecos League was formed with Las Cruces as one of the anchor cities. Apodoca Park is 40 miles to downtown El Paso. The Padres will logically take sponsors, fans and support from the Vaqueros in a large scale. They are building a state of the art stadium in downtown El Paso that will be one of the best in the Pacific Coast League AAA Baseball. (The same league as ABQ Isotopes and Colorado Springs Skysox). The Vaqueros were the founding members of the Pecos League and the only team from remaining from the Continental Baseball League remaining in the Pecos League. In 2012, The Vaqueros had their best year ever on the field and with attendence. But in the Pecos League the Las Cruces Vaqueros were dead last in sponsors and attendance in 2011 and 2012 despite having a great team in 2012. The Vaqueros also have one of the best ballparks in the league in Apodoca Park. The Ballpark renovations were amazing to fans and league but made no difference to sponsors.
2012 Season-By far the best season yet for the Vaqueros. The Vaqueros had their highest attendence best team and best support in team history. The completion of Apodoca Park and combination of a new coaching staff lead to huge success for the Vaqueros and the Pecos League. The newly completed Apodoca Park was a beautiful ballpark and ideal for the Pecos League. The Vaqueros with a change to blue uniforms proved to be the perfect team for the Pecos League. Casey Dill accepted the managing position knowing he would be in a tough situation. He turned this around with a group of players that scored runs and played hard. His pitching staff was made up of guys that gave the team a chance to win. Casey Dill brought in a group of players from Northern California that played hard every game. The Vaqueros lead the league in all offensive categories. The Vaqueros filled Apodoca Park all season and gave the fans a reason to get behind the team. Despite virtually no corporate sponsors or support the Vaqueros made it all the way to the championship game. The Vaqueros beat Roswell two games to none in the first round of the playoffs and then took Alpine to three games before losing in the Championship. The Vaqueros have established a solid brand of baseball in the league's best ballpark.
The 2011 Season the Vaqueros went local hiring Mayfield High School's head coach Miguel Gomez, recent NMSU grad Claudia Castillo to run operations. This moved should have been popular with the local Las Cruces Community. This was obviously not the case as attendence plummeted. Andrew Dunn even got the widely popular El Paso Diablos to play a pre season exhibition game in Apodoca Park against the Vaqueros. Many Las Cruces Residents have been loyal Diablo Fans for years and finally the Diablos were going to play a game in Las Cruces. When 76 people showed up to the game that set the tone for the entire season. Last minute replacement city Ruidoso had more fans than the Vaqueros. No one in the community got behind the team despite having local coaches.
In August 2010 a decision had to be made. With the season nearing the end the community wanted to know if Vaqueros were going to survive or if they were going to be like most businesses that attempt to do business in Cruces. Few people gave the Vaqueros a chance because the poor history Las Cruces has at support outside events. The writing was on the wall for the Continental League, Ron Baron could not gather any more expansion cities and he had put four long exhausting years into the CBL. Big Bend General JR Smith called for a meeting between Andrew Dunn to represent Las Cruces and Donnie Randell, Ryan Stevens, Chris Schmidt and JR Smith to represent Alpine. The Big Bend Cowboys had an out of town owner that was only going to go forward if the CBL was involved. They dropped the Big Bend name and went with Alpine Cowboys. The only way they would be able to survive would be with a new league and under a 501 c 3. Andrew Dunn had serious intentions of putting a team in Roswell New Mexico. At the conclusion of the meeting everyone agreed Andrew Dunn was the person who would be put in charge of the league. The Pecos League was formed with (Las Cruces Vaqueros, White Sands Pupfish, Ruidoso Osos, Roswell Invaders, Carlsbad Bats and Alpine Cowboys)
Two of the major problems as reported by fans was a lack of promotions and concession specials. And Obviously the renovations at Apodoca Park allowed a maximum of 114 people in the grandstands packed shoulder to shoulder, 60 fans made the venue seem packed. The Vaqueros had to reduce payroll twice. The Vaqueros finished dead last in attendence despite being the biggest city in the Pecos League, They also were the only team not to make the playoffs except the travel team. The Vaqueros had some major positives in the season. The Pecos League promoted 47 players to higher leagues and the level of play was much higher than expected. The Vaqueros established a rival with White Sands and Roswell. The Vaqueros had a golf tournament that was deemed a success.
The Las Cruces Vaqueros were founded by Andrew Dunn in July 2009 and began play in May 2010. The Vaqueros were in the Continental Baseball League Dunn had operated the Coastal Kingfish League Team in 2009 and was granted the Las Cruces Market for 2010 season. When the team was announced there was supposed to be an 8 team league with teams in Pueblo, Abilene, Alexandria, Monroe, and Big Bend. By the time the season started it was Las Cruces and Big Bend. Dunn agreed to bring the Coastal Kingfish back for the 2010 season and the Continental Baseball League agreed to operated the 4th team which Dunn named the Desert Valley Mountain Lions. This turned out to be a great thing for the Vaqueros. Very limited travel. The Vaqueros played hard and established a fan base. It would have been extremely difficult for the Vaqueros to travel to Louisiana with very limited sponsors in their inaugural year. Both teams made in through the season despite having to play against two travel pay to play teams in the Desert Valley Mountain Lions and the Coastal Kingfish. The Continental League was formed in 2007 and Las Cruces was supposed to be one of the charter cities in 2007 owned by the Chancellor of NMSU, he left NMSU to goto another college and the team fell apart. In 2010 we were excited to bring Professional Baseball to Las Cruces for the first time. We were in league that had problems but we are excited that we established a name and we are ready for the season to start. Alpine and Lass Cruces tied with idenitical records but true to form the Continental League made the Vaqueros travel to Big Bend to play the Championship Series the Vaqueros lost 2 games to 1. The Vaqueros promoted 7 players to higher independent leagues but had nothing left for the playoff run. Bobby Brown was the field manager, Sean Kramer was the assistant coach, Holly McWatters from the El Paso Diablos was the GM. At the conclusion of the season the Vaqueros ownership received a slew of complaints about the way the team was run. We realize our local management staff was well under par for a professional level team and we have made big changes to correct this. Hiring El Paso people to run a Las Cruces business did not go well with the fans or the community.
The first ever Vaqueros Game at Alpine, Texas. The Vaqueros did not have their hats in time for the game thus they had to wear Coastal Kingfish Hats. CB. The Vaqueros won their first two games beating Alpine in Alpine on Thad Henderson's home run. Shane Weldon was first ever starting pitcher. The Vaqueros worn all powder blue Milwaukee Brewers style uniforms.
In 2010 the CBL had committments for an 8 team league, Alexandria, South Louisiana Pipeliners, Tyler, Monroe in the East, Abilene, Pueblo, Las Cruces and Big Bend in the West...The South Louisiana Pipeliners owner Dave Angrone wrote the league an NSF entry fee check and vanished. This caused a domino effect that should have completely ended the league. Alexandria the league's best market with drew and entered a team in the Texas Collegiate League. Tyler and Pueblo withdrew all together, Monroe's owners joined the Yuma Scorpions and withdrew from CBL, Bay Area Toros filed bankruptcy. Abilene never had a stadium... This left two teams Big Bend and Las Cruces. Andrew Dunn and Ron Baron decided to continue operations and move forward. With all of the efforts and promises made to both cities, the Kingfish were brought back to life and the Desert Valley Mountain Lions were born, by having both teams it allowed limited travel and a 4 team all Western League. With all the work Baron did to keep the league alive, there was no future and limited promise outside of the West. With Ron Baron being based in Dallas he decided this would be his last year, but it is important to understand that without Ron Baron Las Cruces would have never had pro baseball... No league would have went into Las Cruces as an experiment. The City of Las Cruces should always be thankful of Ron Baron and his league despite all of the problems it had... The Continental Baseball League was a bridge for the new upstart Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs.