Three weeks after Mike Piazza and Ken Griffey Jr. earned induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, the International League announced it’s two newest Hall of Fame members, adding Hensley Meulens and Charlie Montoyo to its newest class, as voted by living Hall of Famers, longtime executives, broadcasters, and members of the media. (MiLB.com)
Muelens, 48, a native of Curacao, played parts of five seasons between 1988 and 1993 with the Columbus Clippers as a member of the New York Yankees minor league system. Although his success in Triple-A never translated to the Bronx, Muelens became one of the most prolific hitters in the minor leagues, batting .285/.376/.510 with 26 home runs and 96 runs batted in with Columbus in 1990, earning International League MVP honors and a late season promotion with the Yankees.
After spending the following year in the Bronx playing for outgoing manager Stump Merrill, “Bam Bam” Muelens returned to the International League in 1992, posting a nearly identical season to his earlier stint in Columbus, driving in 100 runs and helping the Clippers win their second consecutive Governor’s Cup. Muelens’ championship pedigree later translated to the San Francisco Giants, where he won three World Series titles as the team’s hitting instructor. Under his tutelage, catcher Buster Posey became the 2012 National League MVP and emerged as a catalyst at the plate, helping support the efforts of talented young pitchers Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Madison Bumgarner.
Montoyo, 50, became of the most respected minor league managers in baseball history after his playing days ended in the Montreal Expos system, joining the then-expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization as manager of the Princeton Rays in rookie-ball. Montoyo became a permanent fixture in the Rays’ minor league system, developing future major league All-Stars Carl Crawford, Josh Hamilton, Evan Longoria, and James Shields.
By 2007, Montoyo earned a promotion to the Triple-A Durham Bulls, becoming the most successful manager in team history with 633 career victories and six Governor’s Cup appearances. Montoyo also was recipient of the International League Manager of the Year award in 2010 and 2013. In 2015, Montoyo became the third base coach on the Rays’ major league staff alongside current first base coach and former top prospect Rocco Baldelli, who played for Montoyo in the Double-A Bakersfield Blaze in 2002.
Unlike the National Baseball Hall of Fame, the International League counterpart does not have a permanent place to call its own. Instead, it’s honorees get commerated with a plaque display to serve as a reminder of the history and tradition of the International League. Since being established in 1947, inductees into the IL Hall of Fame include the likes of Jackie Robinson, Red Schoendienst, and Wade Boggs and require a majority vote on the ballots to earn this prestigious honor