Nebraska Minor League Baseball
American Assocation
Omaha Royals 1976

American Association
President:Joe Ryan
East Standings Wins--- Losses- GB Attended Manager
Omaha Royals 78 58 -- 125,799 Billy Gardner
Iowa Oaks 68 68 10 124,575 Loren Babe
Indianapolis Indians 62 73 15.5 139,615 Jim Snyder
Evansville Triplets 55 81 23 100,696 Fred Hatfield
West Standings
Denver Bears 86 50 -- 202,444 Vern Rapp
Oklahoma City 89ers 72 63 13.5 122,287 Jim Bunning
Tulsa Oilers 65 70 20.5 135,474 Ken Boyer
Wichita Aeros 56 79 29.5 124,107 Doc Edwards

BA:Mike Easler, Tulsa, .352
Runs:Lonnie Smith, Oklahoma City, 93
Hits:Dick Bosetti, Oklahoma City, 154
RBIs:Roger Freed, Denver 102
HRs:Roger Freed, Denver, 42
Wins:Joe Keener, Denver, 14/John Montague, Oklahoma City, 14
SOs:Randy Lerch, Oklahoma City, 152
ERA:Joe Henderson, Indianapolis, 2.31

The Omaha Royals ran away with the East Division in 1976, finishing 10 games ahead of the Iowa Oaks. The Minor League Encyclopedia lists Billy Gardner as manager for '76 while the Sporting News Guide lists Jim Bunning as manager of the team for 1976. The Sporting News information is wrong as Billy Gardner was the Royals manager in '76.

First base for the Royals in 1976 was handled by Frank Ortenzio He had a .253 average for the Royals. He had a cup of coffee with the major league Royals in 1973 and in 1977 he was the American Association Player of the Year while playing for the Denver Bears.

Steve Staggs was an All Star at second for the Omaha team in 1976. He was born in Anchorage Alaska and batted .283 for the year. He played in the major leagues with Toronto in 1977 and with Oakland in 1978.

Bill Sudakis handled the hot corner and hit .283. He played from 1968 through 1975 in the major leagues with six different teams.

David Cripe appeared in 74 games and hit .272.

Brian Murphy was a strong gloved short stop in 1976. He managed a .223 batting average and O. L. Washington played in 30 games and had a .250 average.

Steve Patchin was named to the All Star team at the catcher position in 1976.

Sheldon Mallory had a .263 average while tending the garden in the outfield.

Joe Zdeb hit .298 while playing outfield in 1976. He played from 1977 through 1979 with the Kansas City Royals.

Ruppert Jones played in 102 games and had a .262 average. He was drafted by Kansas City in 1973. He had an eleven year major league career including being named a major league All Star.

Gary Martz batted .243 in 1976. He was originally drafted by the Seattle Pilots. He played one game in the major leagues in 1975 with the parent Royals.


Jerry Cram led the team with an 11-3 record. He also pitched four games for Kansas City in 1976. He played for the Mets from 1977-1979.

David Hasbach was 7-4.

Gary Lance was 10-10 for Omaha in 1976. He played in one major league game in 1977 with the parent Royals. In 1984 he managed the Madison Muskies and in 2005 he was with the Portland Beavers.

Ruben Garcia was 1-0.

Roger Nelson was 6-6. He played from 1967-1974 in the major leagues.

George Throop was 1-0 in 1976. He had a cup of coffee with the parent Royals on numerous occasions including 1975, 1977, 1978 and 1979.

Mark Ballinger was 6-2.

Robert McLure was 9-8.

Lewis Olsen was 9-7.

Harry Baird was 4-1

Lynn McKinney was 2-3

Gary Wright was 2-5

Thomas Bruno was 9-4. He had stints with Kansas City, Toronto and St. Louis during his major league career.

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