Charlie Montoyo (Courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays)

Charlie Montoyo

This article was written by Thomas J. Brown Jr.

Charlie Montoyo (Courtesy of the Toronto Blue Jays)Infielder Charlie Montoyo played just four games in the big leagues, with Montreal in 1993. However, his extensive minor-league experience led to a lengthy career as a manager in both the minors and the majors. Montoyo faced several challenges during his life and career but still managed to succeed both on and off the field.

José Carlos Montoyo Díaz was born on October 17, 1965, in Florida, Puerto Rico. His parents were Felix and Nydia. Montoyo grew up with his brothers and his sister Wanda in Florida, a small town that fielded a baseball team called Los Titanes in Puerto Rico’s amateur Doble-A league.1 As a youth, Montoyo watched baseball as often as he could. “Everyone watches (the games),” he remembered. “My favorite was Manny Trillo because he was second base like me. He’s not from Puerto Rico, but he’s Latin.”2

Montoyo, who threw and batted right-handed, played second base for his high school team in Florida. When he was 16 years old, Montoyo helped Los Titanes win the league championship. The announcer of the championship game dubbed him El Niño de Oro — the Golden Child. Even into his 50s, residents of Florida still call him that name.3

After Montoyo completed high school he was offered a scholarship to attend De Anza College, a community college in Cupertino, California. California businessman Don Odermann had created a foundation for ballplayers from Caribbean countries who had the potential to go to college. “Don was my sponsor,” said Montoyo, “and he sponsored a friend of mine, Matty Rojas, of the Dominican Republic. Matty went to (Louisiana) Tech.”4

Montoyo accepted Odermann’s offer and he flew to California to attend De Anza College even though he did not speak any English and had been to the United States just once – when his Florida team visited New York after winning their championship in 1982.

“When my coach (at De Anza, Eddie Bressoud) picked me up at the airport, I had no idea what he was telling me,” said Montoyo. “They’ve got me living with this family that didn’t speak any Spanish. They knew I didn’t speak any English, but they were trying to help me out in any way they could [and] they became my family.”5

After one year at De Anza, Montoyo accepted a scholarship from Louisiana Tech. He quickly made his mark playing second base for the Bulldogs, leading the team with a .383 batting average, 16 home runs, and 65 runs scored. Montoyo also earned the George Kell award as the top hitter in the Southland Conference. The Milwaukee Brewers drafted him in the 26th round of the 1986 amateur draft, but he decided to stay for his senior year.

Montoyo continued to play well during his senior year with the Bulldogs. He led the team for a second year in key stats with a .403 batting average, 18 stolen bases, and 76 runs scored. Although just 5’10 and 170 pounds, he also finished second on the team in home runs (16) and RBIs (46). Louisiana Tech recognized his baseball achievements in 2014, inducting him into their sports Hall of Fame.

The Brewers drafted Montoyo again in 1987, this time in the sixth round. They initially sent him to Helena in the Rookie-level Pioneer League. Montoyo played 13 games at second base for Helena, getting 13 hits and batting .289, and won promotion to Beloit of the Class A Midwest League. Playing second base for Beloit, Montoyo hit .266 in 55 games.

The Puerto Rican then played in his native island’s winter league for the first of 10 consecutive seasons. He joined the Mayagüez Indios and got into seven games.

Charlie Montoyo (Trading Card DB)Montoyo spent the next two summers with the Class A Stockton Ports in the California League. He averaged .252 during that time with a .308 slugging percentage. By his second year with the Ports, Montoyo had been slotted into the shortstop position. Milwaukee moved him up to the Class AA El Paso Diablos in 1990, and he improved both his batting average (.289) and slugging percentage (.382).

Montoyo’s next two summers came with the Class AAA Denver Zephyrs. The team played him at second base, shortstop and third base in 1991. Montoyo hit a career high 12 homers but his batting average slipped to .239.  When the team added shortstop José Valentín in 1992, Montoyo was limited to playing second and third base. He reverted back to being a singles hitter, improving his batting average 85 points (.324) and turning in a stellar .429 on-base percentage.

Milwaukee traded Montoyo to the Montreal Expos on January 20, 1993. The Brewers sent Montoyo and Oreste Marrero to the Expos for two minor-league players, Ron Gerstein and Todd Samples. Montoyo played primarily shortstop and third base that season while batting .279 for the triple-A Ottawa Lynx.

Montreal called him up to the majors on September 7, but he got lost on the two-hour drive from Ottawa to the Stade Olympique in Montreal. He stopped at a gas station to ask for directions but, ironically, no one spoke English. He made it into the dugout as the first inning ended. Two hours later he got his first major-league hit—a game-winning RBI pinch-hit single off reliever Gary Wayne in the Expos’ 4-3 win over the Colorado Rockies.  Asked about his first at-bat, he said, “If I’d known this was going to happen, I would have flown my whole family here.”6

Montoyo played in four games that September, getting two hits in five at-bats for a career .400 average. His last major-league hit came in his fourth game, a two-run double in Montreal’s 7-1 win over the Florida Marlins.

The Philadelphia Phillies purchased Montoyo’s contract after the 1993 season. He spent the next two seasons playing for the Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons. When the Phillies didn’t sign Montoyo after the 1995 season, he returned to the Expos in 1996, splitting his time between the Class AA Harrisburg Senators and Class AAA Ottawa Lynx. When Montreal didn’t call him back up to the majors, Montoyo’s playing career in North America ended at age 30.

In the winter of 1996-97, however, Montoyo did play in his three last games for Mayagüez. Altogether in his winter career, he appeared in 232 games, all in an Indios uniform. He batted .238 with 139 hits, 47 runs scored, and 75 RBIs.

Montoyo joined the Tampa Bay Devil Rays organization in 1997, the year before the new expansion franchise began major-league play. He managed their rookie-league club in the Appalachian League, the Princeton (West Virginia) Devil Rays. The team finished with a 39-30 record, good for second place in the league’s northern division. Montoyo’s squad led the league in numerous batting categories – runs/game, runs scored, and RBIs; and they were second in the league in doubles.

Over the next 10 years Montoyo moved up through the Devil Rays’ minor-league system, managing at every level. He skippered the Hudson Valley Renegades of the Class A New York-Penn League in 1998. Montoyo led the Renegades team to a league-best 50-26 record to earn his first division title as a manager. The following two seasons he was at the helm of the Class A Charleston RiverDogs (South Atlantic League). Montoyo continued his success as a manager in Charleston, leading the team to a 73-66 record in 2000, their first winning season since 1988.

While he was managing the RiverDogs, in 1999, Montoyo met his wife Samantha Startt, who was working as the director of promotions and special events for the team. They were married after the 2001 season. Their first son, Tyson, was born in 2003.

Rather than always have his family move if he changed jobs, Montoyo and his wife eventually settled in Tucson, Arizona, where Samantha had family. “We’ve been married for over 17 years but if you add the time up, we’ve probably only been married for five years,” his wife reflected in 2019. “But in baseball [where a lot of marriages don’t last], 17 years is also like a hundred years. It’s a long time.”7

After Charleston, Montoyo managed the Bakersfield Blaze in the high Class A California League for two years. He remembered sleeping in his clubhouse office to save money during his time there. The Blaze had a 140-141 record during Montoyo’s two seasons as their manager.

“I was always that guy that was never worried about (the next job), I was thinking about my job in hand. Be the best Single-A manager I could be or whatever,” said Montoyo. “I’ve seen so many coaches through the years that are so worried about moving up and stuff, they forget the job at hand. I didn’t want to be that guy.”8

Tampa Bay promoted Montoyo again in 2003 when they named him the manager of the Class AA Orlando Rays. He stayed with the team when it was moved to Montgomery – and renamed the Biscuits – in 2004. The team improved in 2005 and 2006 under Montoyo’s leadership. The Biscuits finished 77-62 in 2006 and made it to the Southern League playoffs. After defeating the Jacksonville Suns in the semifinals, Montgomery won the league title by beating the Huntsville Stars.

During the early years of his managerial career, Montoyo developed a reputation as a fierce competitor who would not hesitate to argue with the umpires. “He had some meltdowns where he threw everything out of the dugout,” his wife remembered. “I watched him tear the lineup card up. I’ve seen other coaches have to hold him back. In Bakersfield one time, I saw him go into the other dugout after someone on the other team.”9

Montoyo’s life changed when his second son, Alex, was born on October 17, 2006. Alex was born with Ebstein anomaly – his heart had only one functioning chamber. Over the next few months, Alex had three open-heart surgeries as doctors at UCLA Medical Center tried to correct this rare defect. Montoyo and his wife rented an apartment in Los Angeles so they could be with their son rather than try to commute from Arizona. Alex survived multiple surgeries and eventually returned home after more than 18 months in the hospital.

After 10 years in the Devil Rays’ minor-league system, Montoyo’s record was 633-627. The Devil Rays promoted him once again, making him the manager of their Class AAA team, the Durham Bulls, for the 2007 season. “I think that I know Triple-A better than any other level,” said Montoyo, who spent parts of six years playing at that level. “I know what the guys at that level go through when they think they’re better than somebody who just got called up.”10

Montoyo took over a Durham team that was coming off a 64-78 season, the worst in the club’s nine-year Class AAA history. The 2006 team had been plagued by various troubles among key players both on and off the field. “This year we are going to try to win games and act like professionals,” said Montoyo shortly before the season started.11

Montoyo came through on his preseason promise and his Bulls team finished 80-63 in 2007. Durham made it to the International League championship before losing to the Richmond Braves three games to two. “This has been a great season, and I know nobody was expecting us to be here. But we’re establishing winning throughout the organization and someday I think it is going to pay off for Tampa Bay.”12

The medical situation with his son also changed Montoyo’s approach to managing, which became evident during his time in Durham. His wife said that the hot-headed Montoyo disappeared, replaced by a calmer one. “Supporting your team is always important, but (going through Alex’s health problems) changes your perspective,” she said. “Not everything is as important as what you just survived. There were pictures in his office of Alex looking great and Alex looking bad, with tubes and the whole thing. I think when you look at those every day, there’s a difference between someone who could die at a moment’s notice and a baseball game.”13

His coaches also noticed the change. “He’s a little calmer and not as intense, especially in the office,” said Bulls pitching coach Xavier Hernández. “I don’t want to say baseball takes a back seat, but it’s secondary to what’s going on (with his son).”14 Montoyo, who was raised Catholic, believes in the power of prayer. He began to run daily and seek out a church wherever the team was playing. Montoyo would always stop, say a prayer and light a candle for his son.

Montoyo managed the Bulls for seven years. During his tenure, Durham had only one losing season. In a 144-game season, they won at least 80 games five times. The 2010 Bulls went 88-55, a win total unsurpassed since the franchise began play in Class AAA in 1998.

Montoyo’s Bulls teams won the International League championship in 2009 and 2013. “I’m really proud of this club,” Montoyo said after the 2009 season. “Because of the needs of our big league club, we almost went the last three weeks with just two starting pitchers. Our bullpen did a heck of a job.”15

Montoyo developed Tampa Bay’s top prospects during his time in Durham. Carl Crawford, David Price, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist, B.J. Upton, and Wil Myers were just some of the players he had there. Montoyo understood from his own experience that it was difficult for many players to be so close to the majors. “A lot of guys want to go to the big leagues,” he said. “You just don’t think it’s fair, because if you’ve had a good year, it’s like ‘Why not me?’”16

Montoyo also earned the respect of his players during his time managing the Bulls. “He’s one of the very few Triple-A managers I know that does his best to give everyone playing time,” said outfielder Jeremy Owens, who was managed by Montoyo for two years. “I think that’s one reason he’s been so successful.”17

Besides winning two triple-A championships under Montoyo, Durham made it to the International League finals four other years. His managing record with the Bulls was 633-515, making him the winningest manager in club history.18 His overall minor-league managing record was 1,266-1,142 over 18 years.

Montoyo also won several awards during his tenure with the Bulls. In 2009 he won the Mike Coolbaugh award, which is given to an individual in the minor leagues who has “shown outstanding baseball work ethic, knowledge of the game, and skill in mentoring young players on the field.”19 He also won the Baseball America Minor League Manager of the Year award in 2009 and again in 2013.

The Durham Bulls retired his number 25 in a ceremony at their ballpark on May 19, 2016. “What he accomplished on the field speaks for itself, but it was the relationships he formed off the field – with fans, the front office, players and coaches – that separates him from so many,” said Bulls general manager Mike Birling. Montoyo was also inducted into the International League Hall of Fame that same year.

Besides managing the Bulls, Montoyo also worked as one of the coaches on the Puerto Rican team in the 2009 World Baseball Classic. He was also on the coaching staff of the World team in the 2010, 2011, and 2013 All-Star Futures Games. (It’s somewhat surprising that he has never managed in the Puerto Rican Winter League.)

The big club in Tampa Bay, by then called simply the Rays,20 interviewed him for the managerial position in 2014 but eventually chose Kevin Cash. “I love the game. I loved what I was doing. I didn’t want to do anything else,” Montoyo said later. “There’s a saying in baseball that it’s better to be lucky than to be good. And I remembered that saying when I was in triple-A for so long. I was just trying to do the best job I could where I was. I was just trying to be the best triple-A manager I could be. Not thinking of anything ahead.”21

Montoyo joined manager Cash’s staff in 2015 as the team’s third base coach. “Of course, I always wanted to be in the big leagues,” he said. “But my main concern was helping the players get there.”22 Montoyo was also the only coach on the staff at that time who spoke Spanish, making him a valuable resource for the team’s Latino players.

After Montoyo spent two years as third base coach, Cash promoted him to bench coach for the 2017 season. Montoyo continued to get noticed for his efforts with young players. At the end of the 2017 season, he was being mentioned as a possible managerial candidate. Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe called the 52-year-old Montoyo an “up and coming candidate.”23 Yet he did not get many interviews for managerial positions.

Montoyo interviewed with the Cincinnati Reds after the 2018 season. The job eventually went to David Bell. But shortly after that announcement, the Toronto Blue Jays asked him to come up for an interview. Montoyo spent two days in Toronto meeting with the Blue Jays staff.

Shortly after he flew home, Toronto general manager Ross Atkins called Montoyo to offer him the job. He signed a three-year contract with an option for a fourth, becoming the third major-league manager from Puerto Rico.24 “Managing a team that represents an entire nation is incredibly special,” he said. “My family and I look forward to working towards the ultimate goal of winning a championship for this city.”25

Montoyo was the first manager hired by Atkins after John Gibbons had been fired. “Charlie is a highly regarded leader by so many individuals in the game,” said Atkins. “We are confident that he will have an overwhelmingly positive influence on Blue Jays players and staff.”26

The Jays struggled during Montoyo’s first year at the helm, finishing 67-95. But the team bounced back during the 2020 season, which was shortened by the Covid-19 pandemic. Toronto played all of its games at its minor-league ballpark in Buffalo because of restrictions on travel between the United States and Canada. The team finished 32-28, third in the American League East. The Blue Jays lost to Tampa Bay in the 2020 American League Wild Card Series. The club’s turnaround helped Montoyo finish third in the American League Manager of the Year voting.27

The Blue Jays picked up Montoyo’s option for 2022 after their success in the difficult pandemic-shortened season. “He is very steady in (the) game, his instincts are incredible, his collaboration with all of his staff has just continued to be a strength,” said Atkins. “The character, the ability to create a very positive, constructive environment is very encouraging.”28

Montoyo led the Blue Jays to another winning season in 2021. The team went 91-71 but finished fourth in the American League East division and did not make the playoffs.29

This led some in the press to wonder whether Montoyo was the right person to lead the Blue Jays. “The question for his bosses is whether the affable 55-year-old from Puerto Rico exerted enough of a positive influence on his team,” wrote Scott Stinson of the Toronto National Post. “Do his people skills, in other words, offset some tactical deficiencies?”30

Despite the questions, Toronto gave Montoyo another contract extension in March 2022. Players expressed their support for the skipper after the announcement. “Charlie’s done a really good job of allowing us to be ourselves,” said shortstop Bo Bichette. “Especially with what we’ve gone through over the last couple of seasons, he’s done a good job of controlling the environment.”31

“One of the things that Charlie brings is calm and stability for the club,” echoed reliever David Phelps. “He’s created a culture in the clubhouse that suits the players who are here.”32

Despite the support of his players, the Blue Jays struggled early in 2022. After going 3-9 to start July, the Blue Jays fired Montoyo and replaced him with his bench coach, John Schneider. At the time the Blue Jays were 46-42 and 15½ games behind the AL East leaders, the New York Yankees. Still, the team was a half-game ahead of the Seattle Mariners for the final wild card spot. “I truly wanted to make this work with Charlie,” said Atkins. “I believe in him still as a baseball leader, but I felt this change was necessary.”33

Montoyo’s record as the Blue Jays’ manager was 235-235.

On November 3, 2022, the Chicago White Sox announced the hiring of Montoyo as manager Pedro Grifol’s bench coach. Montoyo “is viewed as one of the finer bench coaches of the last decade-plus or so,” said Chicago general manager Rick Hahn. “I just have so much respect for him and what he’s done for the game.”34

Grifol echoed those comments, noting that Montoyo’s managerial experience would be an asset, saying “This guy’s done it, right? He’s done it the last three years. He’s had success, and I’m really happy to have him on board.”35 In November 2023, the White Sox announced their coaching staff for 2024, and Montoyo was one of the holdovers.

When he is not focused on his baseball career, Montoyo enjoys playing congas, even setting “Taking Me Out to the Ballgame” to a Latin rhythm. He says that music is his “beloved hobby.” When the White Sox are playing at home, Montoyo plays in a band called Montoyo Rocks. He also seeks out music when the team is on the road, saying “Wherever I go, I try to find a place where people play music and stuff.”36

Montoyo still resides in Tucson, Arizona. His older son, Tyson, played lacrosse in high school and college. He went on to attend Hendrix College in Conway, Arkansas. Tyson also played lacrosse for the Puerto Rico team in the 2022 U21 World Lacrosse championship. His younger son Alex continues to thrive despite experiencing a minor form of cerebral palsy.

Although Montoyo played in just four major-league games, his long tenure as a minor-league player led to his reputation as someone who could help players prepare for the majors. In addition, his experience coming to the United States from Puerto Rico also helped him to work with young players who were in a similar situation. Finally, Montoyo’s experience with his son’s physical challenges helped him to manage his personal and professional lives and model that balance to his players.

Last revised: February 8, 2024



This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Rick Zucker and fact-checked by Tony Oliver.



In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author used and websites for the player, team, season pages, pitching and batting logs, and other material. Thanks also to SABR member Jorge Colón Delgado, official historian of the Puerto Rican Winter League, for Montoyo’s statistics in that circuit.



1 Puerto Rico’s Doble A league is a semipro league that fields teams from the various towns on the island. It runs a tournament on the island from spring through September and has been in existence since 1940.

2 Kent Heitholdt, “Montoyo’s Rewriting LTU Marks,” Shreveport (Louisiana) Times, April 16, 1987: 25.

3 Stephen Brunt, “Niño de Oro,”, April 1, 2019.

4 Heitholdt, “Montoyo’s Rewriting LTU Marks.”

5 Brunt, “Niño de Oro.”

6 “Rockies Fall Again as Bullpen Falters,” Grand Junction (Colorado) Daily Sentinel, September 8, 1993: D1.

7 Brunt, “Niño de Oro.”

8 Ron Stapp, “Former Blaze Manager Montoyo Took Long Road to MLB,”, June 8, 2020.

9 Brunt, “Niño de Oro.”

10 Mike Potter, “Montoyo Excited to be Joining Bulls,” Durham (North Carolina) Herald, December 1, 2006: C4.

11 Mike Potter, “Professionalism, Winning on the Docket for Bulls,” Durham Herald, April 1, 2007: B5.

12 Mike Potter, “Bulls Play Through Sorrow, Drop Series to Braves,” Durham Herald, September 16, 2007: B1.

13 Brunt, “Niño de Oro.”

14 Anna Clemmons, “A Father’s Gift, A Father’s Hope,”, June 16, 2008.

15 Javier Serna, “Montoyo, Bulls Back in Series,” Raleigh News and Observer, September 15, 2009: C3.

16 “Bulls End up with IL Governor’s Cup,” Raleigh News and Observer, September 17, 2013: A9.

17 Anna Clemmons, “A Father’s Gift, A Father’s Hope.”

18 Bill Evers held the previous record with a 613-533 record.

19 “Greinke Squirms in Cy Spotlight,” Tampa Bay Times, November 18, 2009: 6C.

20 The team changed its name to the Rays before the 2007 season. The new name was designed to reflect the team’s location in Florida, the Sunshine State. It still keeps some association with the former name by maintaining a touch tank with live rays at the ballpark.

21 Brunt, “Niño de Oro.”

22 Roger Mooney, “Familiar Faces Will Surround Cash in Dugout,” Tampa Tribune, December 20, 2014: 27.

23 Nick Cafardo, “Some Possible Replacements,” Boston Globe, October 12, 2017: C4.

24 The other two managers from Puerto Rico are Edwin Rodriguez, who managed the Miami Marlins in 2011, and Alex Cora, who has managed the Boston Red Sox since 2018, except for 2020 when he was suspended.

25 Rob Longley, “Montoyo Progessive Hire as Jays Join New School,” Saskatoon Star-Phoenix, October 26, 2018: B5.

26 Rob Longley, “Montoyo Progessive Hire as Jays Join New School.”

27 Tampa Bay’s Kevin Cash won the award with Rich Renteria of the Chicago White Sox finishing second.

28 Frank Zicarelli, “Jays Pick Up 2022 Option for Manager Montoyo,” Ottawa Citizen, March 17, 2021: NP12.

29 Montoyo’s record was 90-70. Bench Coach John Schneider was the interim manager for the final two games.

30 Scott Stinson, “One-run Losses, Extra-inning Games Cost the Jays,” Toronto National Post, October 5, 2021: AS12.

31 Rob Longley, “In Montoyo, The Blue Jays Trust,” Montreal Gazette, April 2, 2022: C12.

32 Rob Longley, “In Montoyo, The Blue Jays Trust.”

33 Ian Harrison, “Blue Jays Fire Montoyo, Promote Schneider for Rest of Season,”, July 13, 2022.

34 LaMond Pope, “Communication Skills Top Priority for Grifol,” Chicago Tribune, November 5, 2022: C3.

35 LaMond Pope, “Communication Skills Top Priority for Grifol.”

36 Scott Merkin, “White Sox bench boss Montoyo moonlights in music,”, June 6, 2023.

Full Name

Jose Carlos Montoyo Diaz


October 17, 1965 at Florida, (P.R.)

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