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Pride for the pack: Raptors hire Ogden native Evan Parker as new manager

By BRETT HEIN - Standard-Examiner | Nov 15, 2023
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In this undated photo from the 2023 season, Ogden Raptors pitching coach Evan Parker looks on during a game at Lindquist Field in Ogden.
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In this undated photo from the 2023 season, Ogden Raptors pitching coach Evan Parker (34) speaks with an umpire at Lindquist Field in Ogden.
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Ogden Raptors pitcher Evan Parker (34) winds up to pitch in a game Thursday, May 26, 2022, at Lindquist Field in Ogden. Parker became the first Ogden native to play for the Raptors with his appearance in the game.

OGDEN — Evan Parker once got the chance to spend a few days with Tommy Lasorda and Raptors coaches in the Ogden baseball team’s clubhouse when Parker was a teenager and the Hall of Fame manager was visiting his former baseball home.

The late Lasorda’s passion long made him Parker’s all-time favorite manager, and he got to see firsthand the kind of energy he put into young ballplayers even in his older age.

Now Parker is taking over the professional baseball team in the same city where Lasorda cut his teeth.

“Years later, I’m coaching and I realize my locker is in the same room where I used to hang out and talk with Tommy,” Parker said. “You’ve seen that picture of Tommy with Bill Buckner, Steve Garvey and Bobby Valentine with the Ogden mountains behind them … I’m standing in the same spot as those legends.”

Parker, the Ogden native, was announced on Nov. 10 as the Raptors’ new manager. Parker replaces the retiring Kash Beauchamp, who skippered Ogden to the Pioneer Baseball League title in 2023. Parker was Ogden’s bullpen coach in 2021, the bullpen coach and a player in 2022, and the team’s pitching coach in 2023.

“Out of every person who’s ever walked into the clubhouse here, I think I wear the jersey with the most pride,” Parker recalled saying as part of his interview for the job.

Parker prepped at Bonneville High School, became the all-time saves leader for then-Dixie State, and played a short pro career beset by multiple arm injuries and surgeries. He rehabbed one more time and pitched 13 relief innings for the Raptors in 2022, becoming the first Ogden native to suit up for the Raptors.

Now Parker, 30, is taking over as the club’s third manager for the fourth season of independent baseball.

“I like his thought process of how the game should be played,” Raptors team president Dave Baggott said. “He knows the game and he’s well-respected by others … he’s a smart guy. He knows the analytics of baseball but also has that old-school part of baseball with him, too.

“We talked about the World Series and … it’s not always the best team who wins but the team that executes, and Evan will make sure the team is executing and playing hard every pitch.”

Parker was hired from a pool of 10 serious candidates, Baggott said. Beauchamp told Parker that he recommended to management that Parker be the one to take the reins.

During the season, Parker said players and coaches would arrive at Lindquist Field and, finding Parker already dressed and ready to go, sometimes tease him about being the eager hometown kid. But he says that’s a core part of who he is as a coach.

“I like the fact that this is a personal thing to him, not just a job,” Baggott said. “He will represent the brand, he’ll represent the community in a way that we’ll all be proud. There’s something about somebody who lives here in Ogden who will take ownership of the position.”

He spent his summers at Lindquist Field watching the likes of Prince Fielder, Corey Hart, JJ Hardy and Bill Hall.

“I grew up idolizing this team. The Raptors were basically my big-league team as a kid because that’s what we did in the summers, we went to Raptors games,” Parker said. “We understood the difference between the big leagues and the minor leagues and that stuff, but it didn’t matter. It was still so big and awesome.”

Parker’s phone has buzzed nonstop since the moment his hire was first announced. It’s November, but a significant portion of roster-building takes place during the winter. Knowing he’s at the helm, Parker says he’s now got commitments from big right-handed pitcher Matthew Hess and catcher/utility player Landen Barns to return from last year’s championship squad.

The club’s next big step, too, is hiring a hitting coach to complement Parker’s managerial style and help fill out the staff.

That process will lead into the spring where Parker and the Raptors will take the field in May 2024 as defending league champions.

“I think players like me because I really care, I work hard, I’m passionate and I want to win,” Parker said. “(Baggott) knows that I will do anything to push this team to be successful and to hold ourselves to a standard on and off the field.”


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