By Steve LaMontia, Director of Communications
As the MSBL World Series is fastly becoming an October reality, we are kicking off a new feature profiling some of the World Series teams who have been Arizona competitors for many years. Our first subject is a hot one, pardon the pun. The Dragons, based out of California and guided by MSBL Hall of Famer Allan Green.
“We first went in 2001 and posted a dynamic 2-4 record in the central,” chuckled the 74-year-old Green. “But we got hooked and have returned ever since. Dan Lepez was our first manager and I took over somewhere within the first few years, maybe 2005 or so.”
Allan’s MSBL roots took hold in 1999 when he was recruited off the softball field. He began his career in the Tri-Valley MSBL and shifted to the Redwood Empire league a couple of years later.
“Tri-Valley had a 48-over division and Redwood Empire didn’t so I was driving three hours each way! We finally convinced them to start an older division and I have played league ball there ever since.”
Allan has deep roots in the wine industry. MSBL’s Hardball Magazine penned an article on teammate Tom Rodrigues and him as part of their 2004 Holiday issue. Greenwood Ridge Vineyards was Allan’s business and the spark that became the Greenwood Ridge Dragons, now known simply as the Dragons.
“We started to gain some momentum in 2005 and took two teams, which both got to playoffs in the 48+ and 58+ divisions. In 2006 the 48+ team lost in the quarters, but in 2007 the divisions shifted from 48+ to 50+, which turned out to be our first year in the 50+ American. We won it all in 2007 and was the first ring for all 21 players who made up the Dragons nucleus.”
That started a tradition of winning that remains to this day. As the team has gotten a little longer in the tooth, they now compete in the 65-over division. They went deep into the playoffs last year, only to lose to the tough Puget Sound Mariners team. To date, the Dragons possess six World Series rings and one Fall Classic ring, which was their one and only appearance. Below is a more itemized view of the Dragons World Series appearances, preceded by comments from Allan Green as he further explains the Dragons’ history at the World Series.
“I joined a Redwood Empire team managed by Dan Lepez in 1999. In 2001 my winery began to sponsor the team and we became the Greenwood Ridge Dragons. In 2002 we left the 28+ REBL for the 48+ TVMSBL, which we won. In 2004 we convinced REBL Commissioner Rick Cantor to start a 48+ division, splitting into two teams (Dragons North and Dragons South) to create a 4-team division. I took over as manager of the Dragons North and the World Series team in 2005. In 2007 the Dragons South became the Oaks, leaving one Dragons team. In 2016 I sold the winery, so we dropped the “Greenwood Ridge” and became just the Dragons.”
World Series History
2001 2-4 in 48 Central
2002 3-3 in 48 Central
2003 3-3 in 48 Central
2004 3-3 in 48 Central
2005 Lost in 48 Central quarterfinal
Lost in 58 Central semifinal
2006 Lost in 48 Central quarterfinal
2007 Won 50 American (1st ring for all 21 players)
2008 Won 50 American again (4-3 walk-off hit by Steve Brye)
2009 Won 52 National FALL CLASSIC
2010 Lost to Sacramento Tribe in 55 National Championship game
2011 Won 60 Mountain
2012 Lost to Berry’s in 60 National Championship game
2013 Lost to LA Athletics in 60 National Semifinal
2014 Lost to LA Athletics in 60 National Championship game
2015 Lost to Lehigh Valley Moondogs in 60 semi-finals
2016 SALTY DRAGONS won 65 Central
2017 Won 60 Central
SALTY DRAGONS lost 65 Central semifinal
2018 Lost to DFW Phillies in 60 championship game
2019 Lost to DFW Phillies in 60 semi-finals
2020 No teams
2021 Won 70 Central
Lost to Puget Sound Mariners in 65 semi-finals
2022 Lost to Puget Sound Mariners in 65 championship game (managed by Angelo Crudale and Pat Carroll)
2023 65 Central team (will be managed by Skip Stephens)
In conclusion, I asked Allan to provide a special World Series memory of his years leading the Dragons, as well as any other special remembrances. As expected, he had too many to convey but did come up with a couple for us.
“One of my highlights was my walk-off hit in 2003 to beat the St. Thomas Hurricanes. I also had a 3-run homer in the eighth inning of a 65+ semifinal game against Toledo in 2015 while playing for the Oaks. I’ve also been very fortunate in being able to play at Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Petco Park, the A’s stadium, and eight games at Pac Bell/SBC/AT&T/Oracle Park.
I have only three baseballs that I have kept after all these years. One is signed by the original 21 Dragons players who won the first time in 2007. The other two are from the games I described above. It’s been a great ride and it isn’t over yet.”
This year’s 65-over team will be managed by Skip Stephens, as Allan will be playing for Noah Clark and the Rhode Island Salty Dogs in the 73+ division. I am happy to say that we will be teammates once again on that team, as we have been a few times throughout the years. Allan continues to flash the competitive smile of a winner and it remains an honor call him my friend and dugout buddy.