He spent 21 years in baseball and now Buck Rogers, the first general manager of the Biloxi Shuckers, has bounced over to basketball as vice president of the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, the Indiana Pacers’ farm team.
“They contacted me,” said Rogers, whose wife, Babs Harris Rogers, is from South Mississippi. In late 2015, the couple moved from Biloxi, where he managed the Shuckers’ first season and a 55-game road trip before MGM Park was ready to play in Biloxi. The team missed the minor league championship when they lost in the final game to Chattanooga.
His new job was with the Lancaster Jet Hawk, a farm team of the Colorado Rockies, and they were living in the high desert of California, 90 miles north of Los Angeles.
Timothy Bawmann, president of the Mad Ants, also was a veteran of minor league baseball, and Rogers said they have known each other for many years. When he was offered the job, Rogers said he expected to move to Indiana in the fall, when the baseball season was over in California, but the Pacers wanted the position filled immediately.
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“We literally moved across the country on short notice,” he said. The Fort Wayne area has a down-home feel, he said, very similar to being on the Gulf Coast.
“The team is named after the founder of the city,” Rogers said, and the Mad Ants’ inaugural season was just 10 years ago in 2007-08. The Pacers are “a phenomenal organization,” Rogers said. “They really take care of their people,” and promote a healthy lifestyle for their staff, down to fruits and vegetables available at the office.
Since the first games of the season aren’t until November, Buck and Babs are working on their bucket list. The couple went to Holland, Michigan, for this year’s tulip festival and he wants to visit Ralphie’s house from the “Christmas Story” before Christmas.
After 21 seasons in baseball, “I’ve never had a summer off in my life since I got out of high school,” he said. Now his team will be playing basketball during the holidays.