We have another notable departure in the world of professional baseball, as Gary Roller, longtime GM of the Billings Mustangs (MLB Partner League; Pioneer League), is retiring after almost 30 years in the team’s front office.
Roller will remain as general manager until a successor is named.
A Billings native, Roller has been with the Mustangs most of his adult life. He started with the club nearly 30 years ago as an intern prior to the 1993 season and, after one season, was promoted to Assistant GM by long-time Mustangs president Bob Wilson. Roller continued in that position for nearly ten years, until he was promoted to General Manager in December 2004.
“Gary Roller embodies everything it means to be a Mustang,” said team owner Dave Heller via press statement. “He loves the game, he loves this great community, he loves the league, and, above all, he loves seeing people at the ballpark. I’m honored to have worked so closely with him over the past eight years. He is not merely a respected friend; he is a Billings institution. His daily presence at Dehler Park will be deeply missed.”
During Roller’s tenure, the Mustangs were twice awarded Minor League Baseball’s coveted John H. Johnson President’s Award (1994, 2010), given to the team that has demonstrated franchise stability and made significant contributions to its community, league, and the baseball industry. The Mustangs also won the Bob Freitas award in 2012, given for sustained excellence in the business of minor league baseball. The Mustangs also were the inaugural winners of the McCurdy Cup in 2019 and repeated as award winners in 2022. The team has also earned numerous awards from a wide range of baseball publications.
In addition to a myriad of team awards, Roller also captured numerous individual awards. He was named Pioneer League Executive of the Year three times (2000, 2008 and 2014) and in 2013 Gary earned Baseball Chapel’s prestigious Bowie Kuhn Award. After Wilson’s untimely passing in 2008, Roller helped shepherd the completion of the team’s new home, Dehler Park.
“It’s been a great run and I’m so thankful for every day that I’ve spent with the Mustangs organization,” said Roller via press statement. “Although I grew up watching the Mustangs play at Cobb Field, I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I started back in ’93, and now years later, as it turns out, I couldn’t have scripted a more enjoyable and rewarding career. The operation is a total team effort and the amount of support we’ve received along the way from everyone, including ownership, management, league administration, city officials, team personnel, co-workers, family, friends, fans, and the business community has been remarkable. I would like to specifically thank Bob Wilson, Woody Hahn, the former Mustangs Board of Directors, and Dave Heller for trusting and believing in me. It’s been an absolute honor serving the organization, and while it hasn’t been without its difficulties and challenges, I wouldn’t trade even a single experience during my time with the Mustangs for anything.”
“On behalf of the Pioneer Baseball League, I am so proud and honored to have had Gary Roller at the helm in Billings for the past 19 years,” said Pioneer League President Mike Shapiro via press release. “Gary exemplified the true meaning of the value that minor league baseball brings to our local communities and we all will miss his leadership, operating excellence, and the steady stewardship he brought to the Pioneer League, Billings and the game of baseball.”