Still in the game
For Chuck Lamson, the lure of the baseball diamond has not gone away.
Chuck Lamson, former majority owner of the Tulsa Drillers, is a member of the Texas League Hall of Fame and a three-time winner of the league’s Executive of the Year award.
Five years after selling his majority share of the Tulsa Drillers, Chuck Lamson has branched out into other fields. But the lure of the baseball diamond has not gone away.
In recent years, he has worked as a consultant for minor league teams through Southpaw Sports Consulting. He also is part-owner of SpringDeck, an application designed to help sales professionals in various fields increase efficiency.
Lamson says the app is being rolled out to an increasing number of minor league baseball teams “because in minor league baseball, it’s all about sales.”
Baseball is clearly a world he knows well. For 32 years, Lamson’s name was synonymous with the Drillers organization. His career with the team began when he was a young pitcher for the Texas Rangers.
When informed by the Rangers in 1979 that he was being assigned to pitch for the club’s Double-A affiliate in Tulsa, the New Jersey native recalls thinking he was being sent to a land of “teepees and tumbleweeds.”
But Lamson’s performance reflected his excitement to be in Tulsa. According to BaseballReference.com, he was 11-8 with a 3.29 earned run average in 1979. A 10th-round draft pick in 1977, Lamson seemed destined for the Major Leagues.
However, fate threw him a curveball. Bone chips in his pitching elbow and tendon damage led to a subpar season in 1980. He stayed in Tulsa that winter, first working a $4.81-an-hour construction job and later selling Drillers tickets by phone.
Lamson continued to struggle on the mound and was released by the Rangers organization in May 1981. He played briefly in the Dominican Republic and literally answered a call from Hall of Famer Hank Aaron to pitch for an Atlanta Braves minor league affiliate in Durham, North Carolina.
However, by 1982, Lamson had to face reality: He would never pitch in the big leagues. He took an offer to become the Drillers’ director of stadium operations.
Luckily for Lamson, the stadium had been converted to artificial turf, meaning his groundskeeping duties consisted of sweeping and vacuuming, not actual horticulture.
That left him more time to get involved in the other aspects of operating a team and began Lamson’s evolution from assistant general manager to general manger to majority owner after purchasing Went Hubbard’s share in 2006.
Drillers Stadium at East 15th Street and South Yale Avenue had been upgraded significantly since Lamson first arrived in Tulsa, yet it was clear that “for the long-term viability of pro baseball in Tulsa, we would need a new facility,” he says.
He soon found an ally in then-Mayor Kathy Taylor, and the downtown stadium opened in 2010 to big crowds and positive reviews.
When Hubbard’s son, Dale, approached Lamson with a “great offer” to resume ownership of the club, Lamson took it.
“At that moment, I thought it was the best thing for me to do,” he says.
Went Hubbard died in 2012, but the team remained in his family.
Lamson is happy in Tulsa. Yet, with his children grown, the youthful-looking 59-year-old indicates he is open to returning to baseball on a full-time basis.
“I wouldn’t close the door to anything if the right opportunity came along,” he says. “It would have to be the right job in the right organization.”