- June 19, 1990: Charlie was married at home plate in El Paso, in a ceremony before the game.
- 1994: The Phillies acquired Montoyo near the end of spring training in a cash transaction with the Expos.
1994: Montoyo was second in the International League with a .403 on-base percentage.
SON'S HEALTH CHALLENGES
On October 17, 2007, Charlie's second child, Alexander, was born, on his father's 43rd birthday. (He joined Tyson, Charlie and Samantha's first-born son.) Alex spent 30 minutes with his parents before a few routine showed Ebstein's anomaly, a scientific way of saying his heart was practically useless. He had only one functioning chamber in his heart, so blood was not being pumped in the proper quantity or direction.
Before midnight of his first day of life, doctors decided Alex needed to be airlifted to a children's hospital in Phoenix. So, 11 hours after giving birth, Samantha Montoyo, 33, insisted she be discharged so she could get in a car with Charlie and begin their drive into a nightmare.
What the Montoyos did not know as they rode through the desert toward Phoenix was that Alex already was proving to be stronger than reason. It wasn't until weeks later, when Samantha was sneaking a peek at her son's charts, that she discovered a note written by a cardiologist in Tucson that was given to the transport crew in the helicopter. It said Alex was not expected to survive the trip.
Within hours of his arrival in Phoenix, Alex had a balloon inserted in his heart. Not long after that, doctors cut open his chest, split his ribs, and inserted a shunt in his heart to redirect blood flow.
The shunt? It was about one-eighth of an inch.
They tried removing his ventilator but had to replace it a short time later. Soon, they began to worry that surgery would not be enough. That, eventually, a heart transplant would be necessary. And if they didn't move on it quickly, Alex would be susceptible to infections. That his other organs might fail, and that would rule out any transplant options.
So they flew him to the UCLA Medical Center, one of the leading transplant facilities in the nation. Once there, the Montoyos were told that a transplant is not the best option, but rather a last option.
Transplants are far from a perfect cure. Recipients are forever taking large doses of medication, and even successful transplants need to be repeated every 10 years or so. A further complication for children is that they can not be immunized, so even routine illnesses can become lethal.
And for a baby as young as Alex, available hearts are rare. UCLA performs about two dozen pediatric heart transplants a year, but only two or three on infants.
As of Christmas 2009, young Alex as still not able to swallow food because his throat was sore for such a long time from having a feeding tube down his throat. But he was undergoing exercises to learn how to swallow.
Alex underwent his fourth open-heart surgery in Los Angeles on April 15, 2013, at 5 years of age. The mild-mannered Montoyo said that dealing with Alex’s condition may have helped him professionally.
“It makes me a better coach, I think, because I can stay even-keeled more,” Montoyo said. “It makes it easier to lose a game — no one’s going to die.”
In December 2007, the Montgomery Biscuits raised $12,756 for the Alexander Montoyo Fund, going to help the infant son of the former manager of the Biscuits. More than 60 people, including minor league players and Major League players, donated a total of $7,756. And Biscuits owners Tom Dickson and Sherrie Myers matched the first $5,000 raised.
In June 2009, little Alex underwent another heart surgery, his third. So Charlie left the team for a few weeks to help care for the infant and it's mom.
In 2016, during a Rays' off day, Charlie was inducted into the International League Hall of Fame. Montoyo traveled to Durham, N.C., where he was inducted along with Hensley Meulens prior to the Bulls' game at Durham Athletic Park.
"When they called to tell me the news, my first thought was that I was going to have the chance to go back to Durham and thank everybody, all the great people and the fans and everyone," Montoyo said. "That's what I'm excited about, thanking people."
Montoyo managed the Bulls from 2007-2014, winning a franchise-record 663 games and two Governors' Cup titles. (Chastain - MLB.com - 5/18/16)
Dec 21, 2018: The holiday season will feel a little more special for the Montoyo family this year 2018, as Charlie Montoyo spends his first Christmas as a Major League manager. Montoyo was named as John Gibbons' replacement in late October, and he's been spending the last two months preparing for his first season in Toronto's dugout. Before the heavy lifting begins, Montoyo has one last opportunity to enjoy a quiet holiday season with his family in Tucson, Ariz. During a recent stop at Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings in Las Vegas, Montoyo took time to share some of his Christmas traditions with MLB.com and what he's looking forward to the most in 2019:
MLB.com: What is Christmas like in the Montoyo household? Are there specific traditions that you follow?
Montoyo: My wife, she loves Christmas, so my house is decorated already; it has been decorated for weeks. Obviously, there's Santa Claus and stuff like that, but then in my house we also celebrate Three Kings' Day. That's a really big day in Puerto Rico -- it's when the three kings brought presents to baby Jesus and it's on Jan. 6. That's the day in Puerto Rico when the children receive their gifts, too.
MLB.com: What type of traditions do you follow for Three Kings' Day?
Montoyo: What you do with your kids, you go get grass and then you put it under the bed, and the camel is supposed to eat the grass. It's a big day for Puerto Rico, and we keep those traditions in my house. ... My 16-year-old son obviously knows Santa Claus isn't real anymore, and this will probably be the last year with my 11-year-old [thinking Santa is real].
MLB.com: What do you like most about this time of the year?
Montoyo: This is my time to be with my kids all day. Of course, they're in school, but they'll have Christmas vacation, so that's my time to spend with them. It's my precious time right there. My house is all decorated. Three Kings stuff, three trees inside the house, outside lights, of course. My wife starts decorating right after Thanksgiving.
MLB.com: What's the best gift you ever received as a kid?
Montoyo: It was Three Kings' Day. A pitch back. One of the pitch backs that you throw and the ball comes back to you. I got up in the morning and there was a pitch back, a glove and a ball. I was probably like 4 or 5 at the time and that was the best present I ever had. It got a lot of use. That net definitely broke over time because I used it so much.
MLB.com: You recently talked about how much the manager's job meant to your parents, who are now in their 80s. Are you able to get back to Puerto Rico and visit them at this time of the year to celebrate?
Montoyo: I just went to Puerto Rico, so I saw them and we celebrated just being together. They're very happy and proud so it was definitely fun to go to Puerto Rico. Every year, I get back at least one time. Baseball, of course, is eight months out of the year. I try to go every December -- not Christmas, but early December.
MLB.com: What's your favourite kind of Christmas music?
Montoyo: I like salsa. Just like any other music, salsa has Christmas music, too. So at this time of the year, I'm definitely putting on salsa music, but with Christmas songs. Salsa always puts everybody in a good mood. How can it not?
MLB.com: How are your gift-wrapping skills?
Montoyo: My wife is very good at wrapping presents, I'm not very good at all. I'll still do all of the wrapping, but that's part of the fun of Christmas to me, even though it's pretty obvious which ones I did because I'm not very good at all and you can just tell by looking at it. It's not pretty, but she always appreciates it.
MLB.com: If there was a perfect gift for you to receive under the tree as the new Blue Jays manager, what would it be and why?
Montoyo: That's an easy one. A championship. That's what we're all here to do and that's what we're all trying to accomplish.
MLB.com: Once the holiday season comes and goes, Spring Training will be just over a month away. How excited are you to get started?
Montoyo: I'm very excited because we have a young core of players. I'm excited because when I talk to all of these players, they sound so excited and that makes me excited, too, to start working with them.
MLB.com: What do you need to do between now and the start of camp to get ready?
Montoyo: I'm thinking about this job and this team every day. Ideas and stuff that I might do. Whenever I think of something, I call [bench coach] Dave Hudgens or [pitching coach] Pete Walker. We have a Whatsapp chat that we use to stay in contact, so we can fire out different ideas. It never stops for us and it'll be even busier once we get into January. (G Chisholm - MLB.com - Dec 21, 2018)
As Charlie searched for a spot to take a seat in the home dugout at Olympic Stadium, he found familiarity. The Blue Jays’ manager conducted his pregame media availability from the same position that he recalled being given his very first opportunity in the big leagues, on Sept. 7, 1993, with the Montreal Expos.
“I got here late, like seven o’clock for a 7:10 game,” Montoyo said. “I said hello to Felipe [Alou, the manager of the Expos], put my uniform on, and came and sat on this bench, until the bottom of the eighth. Then he said, ‘If they bring in the lefty, you’re going to pinch-hit.’ That’s what happened. They brought in the lefty and I went in to pinch-hit.”
In that plate appearance, the 27-year-old Montoyo notched his first Major League hit, which he recalled fondly -- along with the remainder of that whirlwind day -- ahead of a 2019 Spring Training 10-5 loss to the Brewers. “I’m never going to forget,” Montoyo said. “I had my first hit -- of two -- here, in the big leagues. So that’s a memory I’m always going to have. Hopefully they’ll do the big highlights in the game. …
“Everything was so quick. There were butterflies when I went to play defence, because I hadn’t taken a ground ball or anything, and I hadn’t seen the roof or anything. But [John] Wetteland was lights-out [in the ninth] -- one, two, three -- and game over. I was the hero.”
“This place has been great to me,” Montoyo said. “I did well here. It was a fun time for me here, and now it’s a fun time to come back as a big league manager, so it’s great. Montreal’s been great to me.” (Brudnicki - mlb.com - 3/25/19)
|Birth City:||Florida, P.R.|
|Draft:||Brewers #6 - 1987 - Out of Louisiana Tech Univ.|
- Charlie had a good eye at the plate. In 1993, he finished third in the International League in walks and was fourth in on-base percentage (.411).
- He could play all four infield positions and the outfield.
- He played for 10 years as an infielder in the Brewers, Expos and Phillies organizations. Six of those years were spent in Triple-A.
- Montoya played part of just one season in the Majors. That was four games and five at-bats with the Expos in September 1993. He had a game-winning double in his first at-bat in the Majors and one other hit, a single, for a .400 lifetime batting average.
- Charlie is an outstanding worker. And he expects his players to work hard, too.
The Devil Rays have a program to honor a player development man of the year. And Montoyo was the first winner, named in the winter before 2007 spring training.
"Charlie has been involved with the development of so many of our key players at nearly every level of our organization," General Manager Andrew Friedman said. "His loyalty and dedication to the Devil Rays over the past decade have been exemplary, and his unstinting work ethic and positive attitude have inspired everyone around him."
- Montoyo knows how to handle each player as an individual.
Charlie does a great job with his roster, using his players a lot.
"He's great at just keeping everybody fresh,” said reliever Brandon Gomes, also a three-season alum. “Nobody gets worn out, nobody sits on the bench for more than a day or two. The way he handles the personnel and that he’s such an easygoing guy, he just does a great job down there overall.”
POST-PLAYING CAREER POSITIONS
1997: Montoyo joined the Devil Rays as Manager for Princeton (APPY).
1998: He was a coach for Durham (IL-Rays) until June, when he became the manager for Hudson Valley (NYP-Rays).
1999-2000: Charlie became manager of Charleston, SC (SAL-Rays).
2001-2002: He was manager at Bakersfield (CAL-Rays).
2003: Montoyo moved up to the Orlando Rays (SL-D'Rays) as manager.
2004-2006: Charlie was manager for Montgomery (SL-Rays).
2007-2014: Montoyo moved up and managed the Durham Bulls (IL-Rays) for eight seasons.
In 2009, Charlie was named the Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year after guiding the Bulls to the Governors Cup and Triple-A Championship titles.
In 2009, Montoyo also received the Coolbaugh Award, which Minor League Baseball presents annually to an individual who has shown an outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game, and skill in mentoring young players on the field.
In 2013, Charlie was named the International League Manager of the Year for the second time.
2015: Montoyo was promoted to the big league team as Third Base Coach for the Rays.
- October 25, 2018: Charlie was named manager of the Blue Jays.