History of the Rox
The St. Cloud Rox, a proud member of the Northwoods League, is a collegiate summer baseball team in St. Cloud, Minnesota. The Rox play 72 games scheduled over a 76-day season running from late May to mid-August every summer.
St. Cloud has had a total of 32 players advance to play at the Major League Baseball level, which leads all Northwoods League teams. The league itself has seen over 250 players play professional baseball since its inception in 1994.
Entering their tenth season of Northwoods League baseball in 2021, the Rox provides affordable family fun and the best nine-inning vacation for fans while showcasing some of the top college talents in the nation at home at the Rock Pile.
The Rox have been providing fans with Rox Solid Fun in Central Minnesota since 2012!
The Rox kicked off their inaugural season in 2012 back at Joe Faber Field. Before the season began, the organization announced that the new — yet familiar — team name for St. Cloud would be the Rox, which had been in use previously by a team who was part of the Northern League from the mid-1940s until 1971 in St. Cloud. That organization featured many great names baseball fans recognize, including Major League Baseball Hall of Famers Lou Brock, Orlando Cepeda, and Gaylord Perry.
That season, the Rox saw nearly 56,000 fans come to the Rock Pile to watch them play throughout the summer. Under Field Manager Augie Rodriguez, St. Cloud finished with a winning record of 19-16 in front of the hometown crowd.
During the season, the Rox set numerous single-season franchise records that still hold today, including team batting average (.287), triples (30), stolen bases (105), on-base percentage (.379), slugging percentage (.393) and more. Individually, Erik Kozel set single-season team records in batting average (.376), slugging percentage (.506) and on-base percentage (.493), while Andy Henkemeyer set the record with six triples and 48 runs scored.
In 2012, Henkemeyer represented St. Cloud in the 2012 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Madison, where he went 1-for-2 with a run scored and a stolen base for the North Division.
Zach Hirsch was named the Rox MVP during the 2012 season.
St. Cloud returned back to the Rock Pile for its second season. Again, behind Augie Rodriguez as Rox Field Manager, St. Cloud finished the season with a winning record of 36-34 while tallying a winning record at home for the second straight summer. The Rox once again had nearly 55,000 fans enjoy Rox Solid Fun at the ballpark during the year at Joe Faber Field.
The 2013 Rox team still holds a handful of franchise records, including the single-season of 677 total hits. They also hold records of 24 runs, 29 hits, eight doubles and 19 strikeouts on the mound in a single game. Individually, Chris Paul tied the record with five hits in a game, while Adam Martin set single-season records in RBI (51), hits (84), home runs (10), total bases (143) and extra-base hits (29).
That season, the Rox had three players reach the Northwoods League All-Star Game in Eau Claire. Reese Gregory, Adam Martin and Eric Nyquist represented St. Cloud on the North Division team, while Martin participated in and won the Home Run Derby.
Chris Paul was named the Rox MVP during the 2013 season.
Before the 2014 season began, the Rox introduced a new face to the organization, announcing the addition of their new mascot Chisel. After holding a Name Your Mascot contest, Chisel was selected as the new face for helping provide Rox Solid Fun at the Rock Pile. Chisel wears number 71, which was selected as a tribute to the original Rox minor league team that called St. Cloud home until 1971.
During the season, St. Cloud continued its trend of putting together winning seasons, finishing the campaign with a record of 37-35, which marked the second straight winning season for the Rox. Nearly 56,000 fans made their way to the Rock Pile throughout the course of the season to watch the Rox led by third-year Field Manager Augie Rodriguez.
The team still holds a few franchise single-season records to date, including tallying 52 home runs throughout the course of the summer. Individually, Reese Gregory is still tied for the most wins (seven), complete games (two) and total appearances (27) in a single season.
During the summer, St. Cloud ended up having three players named to the 2014 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Lakeshore. Chris Paul, Reese Gregory, and Kevin Burgee represented the Rox on the North Division All-Star team.
Chris Paul was once again named the Rox MVP in 2014, becoming the first St. Cloud player to win the team award in consecutive seasons.
Throughout the 2015 season, St. Cloud put together one of its most successful regular seasons in Rox franchise history under fourth-year Field Manager Augie Rodriguez, which included being crowned second-half champions, finishing with the best overall record in the Northwoods League and a deep run in the postseason.
With nearly 60,000 fans coming to the Rock Pile during the summer, the Rox finished the Northwoods League season with a league-best record of 49-23, along with a league-leading record of 30-8 in the second half. St. Cloud went on to appear in the postseason, where it reached as far as the Summer Collegiate World Series Championship series against the Kenosha Kingfish, ultimately falling just short of winning the title.
The team still holds numerous records in the franchise’s history, including driving in 351 runs throughout the season, as well as recording a team ERA of 3.19 while giving up just 226 earned runs. Individually, Michael Strem tied the single-game record for most doubles in a game with three, while Trevor Charpie tied the single-season record with 11 saves and Sheldon Miks tied the single-season record with a complete-game shutout.
That season, the Rox had two players represent them at the 2015 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Wisconsin Rapids. Reese Gregory, earning his third straight selection in the game, and Trevor Charpie appeared in the North Division All-Star team for St. Cloud.
Trevor Charpie was named the Rox MVP for the 2015 season.
Field Manager Augie Rodriguez returned for a fifth year. The team finished with an overall record of 48-23 to sit atop the North Division at the end of the summer, including a second-half record of 24-12 to be crowned second-half champions while returning to the playoffs for a second straight season.
St. Cloud split their two playoff games (1-1) while more than 60,000 fans jammed into the Rock Pile throughout the summer months to cheer on the Rox.
The Rox again broke multiple franchise records for a single-season, including most runs driven in (399), most walks (339) and most saves (29). The club also established a one-game record for most walks (13). Individually, Luke Ringhofer set a single-season record for walks (56) while several teammates tied the club marks: Wins on the mound (Chris Martin – Seven); Most Saves (Brian Glowicki – 11) and Most Pitching Appearances (Collin Strall – 27).
That summer, the Rox had a franchise-record six players selected to take part in the 2016 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Kenosha. Drew Freedman, Ricky Ramirez, TJ Friedl, Austin Dubsky, Collin Strall and Logan Salow all represented St. Cloud as North Division All-Stars. Ramirez also competed in the Home Run Derby.
Collin Strall and Ricky Ramirez were named Rox Co-MVP’s for the 2016 season.
In 2017, St. Cloud put together a historic season under sixth-year Field Manager Augie Rodriguez, one that ended in securing the first Northwoods League Championship in franchise history. The Rox defeated Battle Creek in the championship series to bring the Summer Collegiate World Series title home to St. Cloud.
The 57,000 fans that streamed into the Rock Pile were treated to the first-ever Championship Winning Season in Rox History! Augie Rodriguez and his coaching staff guided the team to its fifth straight season above .500, finishing with an overall record of 42-30. The club was crowned first half North Division Champions, posting a 25-11 at the start of the season and later capped off the season winning four of their five playoff games enroute to the Northwoods League title!
The 2017 team earned multiple franchise records throughout the course of the summer, including recording 698 strikeouts and holding opponents to a batting average of just .228.
Individually, Kenny Saenz and Aaron Rozek tied each other for most strikeouts recorded in a single game with 13. Additionally, Matt Tarantino appeared in a franchise-record 70 games, Drew Avans broke the franchise record with 30 stolen bases, Brent Killam set records with a 0.37 ERA, a 0.53 WHIP and a 15.53 strikeout per nine innings average, with Aaron Rozek recording a franchise-best 88 strikeouts on the year.
That season, St. Cloud had five players selected to take part in the 2017 Northwoods League All-Star Game in Wausau. Drew Avans, Shane Selman, Aaron Rozek, Brent Killam, and Jack Cushing all represented the Rox on the North Division All-Star Team.
Aaron Rozek and Matt Tarantino were named Rox Co-MVP’s for the 2017 season.
The Rox continued their stretch of success in the Northwoods League, posting their sixth straight winning season in St. Cloud. The Rox, under first-year Field Manager Al Newman, finished with an overall record of 37-35 during the summer season that welcomed nearly 55,000 fans to the Rock Pile.
The Rox established two new franchise season records during the summer for Most Doubles – the Team (143) and Player (Ryan Davis – 22) while Jack Barrie set an all-time single-game record for home runs (3), RBIs (7) and runs scored (4). Additionally, four more team single-game records were tied – Most Hits (Sean Ross – 5); Most Doubles (Ricardo Sanchez – 3), Most Walks (Ricardo Sanchez – 4); and Most Pitcher Strikeouts (John Matthews – 13).
In 2018, the Rox had three players take part in the Northwoods League All-Star Game in Kalamazoo. Jack Cushing, earning his second straight All-Star Game selection, Landon Stephens and Finn Del Bonta-Smith all appeared in the game for the North Division All-Stars. Stephens also took part in the Home Run Derby.
Evan Johnson and Finn Del Bonta-Smith were named Rox Co-MVP’s for the 2018 season.
The Rox finished their seventh straight season with a winning record, posting a 44-28 slate. Field Manager Augie Rodriguez returned to the club and led the Rox to the best overall record in the Great Plains Conference during the second half of the season. More than 57,000 fans would see the Rox capture a spot in the Northwoods League playoffs.
The Rox went on to break plenty of franchise records during the season led by Jordan Barth, who enjoyed one of the team’s greatest offensive seasons. He broke records for Most Hits (99), Doubles (25), Runs (54), Extra-Base Hits (32) and Games Played (73). Garett Delano claimed the individual single-season team RBI record at 53. Pitcher Trevor Koenig tied the club single-season record for wins at seven. Field Manager Augie Rodriquez also etched himself into Northwoods League history by jumping into the Top “5” All-Time Wins list. RJ Martinez, Trevor Koenig, and Garett Delano each were selected to the Northwoods League All-Star Game played in Waterloo, Iowa.
Pedro Garcia (Reds) and Alex Carrillo (Rangers) both competed at such a high level for the Rox that it led them to their first professional contracts.
Jordan Barth was selected as Team MVP and Trevor Koenig was honored as Pitcher of the Year for the Rox.
The Rox finished their eighth straight season (27-13) with a winning record and were in contention for the MN/IA Pod championship up until the last game of the season. With COVID-19 putting the whole world on halt, baseball in the Northwoods League would follow. The league ultimately started in July, more than a month later than planned. The divisions also looked different. Instead of the Great Plains and Great Lakes divisions, teams were put in pods based on regions and states. The Minnesota/Iowa pod region included the Rox, Mankato MoonDogs, Waterloo Bucks, Willmar Stingers, and Rochester Honkers.
While the Rox did not play a full 72 game season, there was plenty of skill and athleticism on this year’s team. The Rox were able to get 2019 team MVP Jordan Barth and Pitcher of the Year Trevor Koenig along with 10 other players from the 2019 season. This season pitching staff will certainly be one that will be remembered for years to come. They posted the pods lowest team ERA and had nine players with a lower than 3.5 ERA.
Zane Mills earned pitcher of the year with a season that will be remembered for a long time, going 3-0 in seven starts, he posted a 0.58 ERA and was pitcher of the night in his last two starts of the season. Blake Stelzer earned team MVP. He returned for his second season and was phenomenal out of the bull pen this season with a 3-1 record and seven saves with a 2.73 ERA.
The Rox also had four players go pro, two from last season and two from this season. Landen Stephens signed with the Atlanta Braves and Gus Steiger signed with the Cincinnati Reds. On the 2020 squad, Gabriel Sequeira signed with the Detroit Tigers and Joey Stock signed with the Boston Red Sox.
The Rox had their ninth straight winning season (53-19) and finished with the best record in the Northwoods League. Finishing 50-18 in the regular season, the is the second-best winning percentage in Northwoods League history. The Rox were able to get 50 wins by winning the first and second half Great Plains West Division. The Rox also had the lowest ERA in the league (2.94) and had the second-most shutouts in Northwoods League history (11).
The Rox were able to break/tie multiple single-game records, as Bryce Robison tied the record for most strikeouts early in the season with 13 but was later broken by Riley Cornelio who threw 14 strikeouts in game one of the playoffs. Jack Steil tied the most runs (4) scored in a game, Cody Kelly tied the most walks (4) in a game, and Nate Swarts tied for the most hits(5) in a game.
Otto Kemp broke the record for the most runs scored in a season (58) and Josh Gainer set the record for having a 0.00 season ERA. Jordan Barth also set the all-time Rox record for hits and RBI.
The Rox had the most players selected to the All-Star game with five. Otto Kemp, Andrew Pinckney, Caleb Ricketts, Hunter Dollander, and Kevin Davis represented the Rox in Mankato for the All-Star game. The Rox coaching staff also got to coach the All-Star game where the Plains won the game.
Six former and current Rox players were drafted. Bobby Seymour (Rays), Brandon White (Marlins), Jack Winkler (Athletics), Luke Albright (Diamondbacks), Will Warren (Yankees), and Zane Mills (Cardinals) were all selected in the 2021 MLB Draft.
David Bellamy won Field Manager of the year while Brandon Vial won coach of the year in the Northwoods League. Otto Kemp was named the Rox MVP and Josh Gainer was named the Rox Pitcher of the year.