Billings Mustangs Baseball: What To Know

Billings Mustangs Baseball: What To Know

With a rich history going back 75 years, the Billings Mustangs bring tradition to the Pioneer League.

Jun 29, 2023 by Kyle Kensing
Billings Mustangs Baseball: What To Know

Independent baseball features plenty of fascinating and perhaps surprising stories that speak to not only the continued mystique of the sport in the present day, but that outline the game's history as well.

Pioneer League members the Billings Mustangs represent the present, future and the past of baseball in a unique and interesting way.

Get to know more about the club with the following primer.

Team Overview 

With a lineage dating back three-quarters of a century, the Billings Mustangs boast one of the most robust histories in all of professional baseball, independent or otherwise. 

The Billings, Montana-based organization has been the home to Major League stars and provided a launching pad for World Series champions and Hall of Famers. The Mustangs also have an impressive championship track record in their own right, claiming league pennants across seven different decades. 

Billings looks to make it eight different decades with a league championship, adding one for the 2020s, during the 2023 Pioneer League season. 

What year were the Billings Mustangs founded? 

With the Great Depression well in the rearview and the economy booming post-World War II, Americans embraced sports with unprecedented passion. This fever spread from the Atlantic to the Pacific and just about anywhere in between, including Billings. 

The Montana city became home to an upstart baseball club in 1948, joining the Pioneer League upon inception and playing a schedule that bordered on barnstorming. Per a Billings Gazette article from April of that year, 30 of the club's 63 home games were stacked into either May or September for more efficient traveling itineraries.

Those home games were played at Cobb Field, named for a baseball luminary; not Hall of Fame player Ty Cobb, however. No, the original Mustangs home was named for Robert Cobb, vice president of the Hollywood Stars in the Pacific Coast League. 

Via a 1948 article in the Havre Daily News, Cobb "was so instrumental in bringing organized and professional baseball to Billings."    

In edition to owning the Stars, Cobb was known for running the famed Brown Derby in Hollywood, a favorited hangout spot for celebrities in the 1940s and 1950s. 

Who owns the Billings Mustangs?

Main Street Baseball was introduced as the Mustangs ownership group in December 2014. Dave Heller, who heads up Main Street Baseball, owns the Mustangs along with two other clubs: Wilmington Blue Rocks and Quad Cities River Bandits. 

Heller was unanimously elected to the Minor League Baseball board of trustees in 2019. 

What is the history of the Billings Mustangs team name and mascot?

In January 1948, stockholders of the new Billings baseball club "by a vote of nearly three-to-one...picked the 'Mustangs' as the name," per the Billings Gazette. 

The Gazette reported that L.R. Sampson submitted the nickname suggestion. With the winning nomination, Sampson received a season pass to all Mustangs games in the inaugural campaign. 

From Year 1 to now, the Billings Mustangs have been members of the Pioneer League with only a brief hiatus from 1964 through 1968. The organization has also held onto that nickname for all 75 years of its existence. 

The team mascot, Homer, is much newer. Homer was introduced in June 2010. 

Have the Billings Mustangs ever won a Pioneer League championship?

It didn't take long for the Mustangs to ascend to the top of the Pioneer League. The club's first championship came in 1950 with a playoff run that included a 14-3 rout to eliminate defending champion Pocatello. 

Since 1950, Billings added 14 more league championships: 

  • 1957
  • 1959
  • 1962
  • 1972
  • 1973
  • 1978
  • 1983
  • 1992
  • 1993
  • 1994
  • 1997
  • 2001
  • 2003
  • 2014

Where do the Billings Mustangs play?

Sixty years after the club first played at Cobb Field, the Billings Mustangs moved to a new venue for the only time in franchise history in June 2008. 

For the last 15 years, Dehler Park has been the Mustangs' home. Splashed across a page on the June 30, 2008 edition of the Billings Gazette, reporting on Dehler Park's opening, 13-year-old Little Leaguer Alex Williams declared, "I think it's a lot nicer than [Cobb Field]. I like the big scoreboard and I like how it's underground." 

Billings Mustangs Notable Alumni

The organization's website offers a complete breakdown of former Mustangs who played Major League Baseball. The list is always growing. 

George Brett: 13-time All-Star, 1985 World Series champion, former MLB Most Valuable Player and Hall of Famer George Brett hit .291 with five home runs and 44 runs driven in during his 68 games as a Mustang in 1971. 

Trevor Hoffman: Before he transitioned to pitching and became the most prolific closer in the game's history, Hall of Fame inductee Trevor Hoffman played shortstop in Billings. Hoffman hit .249 in 201 at-bats over 61 games with the Mustangs.

Joey Votto: Future Hall of Famer and the next entrant into the exclusive 3,000-hit club Joey Votto shined with the the Billings Mustangs 20 years ago. During the 2003 season, the current Cincinnati Reds great hit .317 and homered six times in in his 70 games with the organization. 

Billings Mustangs Schedule

Check out the Billings Mustangs schedule here. 

How To Watch The Billings Mustangs

Atlantic, Frontier, Pioneer and the Coastal Summer Plain League, as well as the Florida Collegiate Summer League, are all streaming on FloBaseball and the FloSports app. Replays, highlights and more news can be found on the site.