BRADENTON, Fla. - Bob Lozinak won his share of championships - six to be exact - during 16 years as owner of the Albuquerque Dukes, the class AAA affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
None, however, was more special than the Eastern League crown won by the Altoona Curve in 2010.
Now in his second stint as owner of the Curve, the Altoona native, his wife Joan, and Curve general manager Rob Egan were here Wednesday to present rings to 2010 members of the Curve championship team who are still in the Pittsburgh organization.
"Anytime you can do something in your hometown is a very special thing," Lozinak said prior to the ring ceremony, which took place at home plate before the Pirates-Houston Astros exhibition game at McKechnie Field.
"We always seemed like we were loaded with talent at Albuquerque," Lozinak said, "so we kind of expected it [championships]."
Lozinak said the Altoona title was special "because we were told early in the season we were going to get seven or eight guys from A ball, but they allowed them to stay [in Altoona] and mature and it worked out well."
After leading the Eastern League's West Division most of the season, the Curve beat Harrisburg in the division playoff series and Trenton in the championship playoff series [both 3 games to 1] for the first league title in the 12-year history of the franchise.
"The championship was special for everybody," Egan said. "The Lozinaks had won several at Albuquerque, but this was the first one in quite awhile for them.
"Of course, it was great for the Altoona fans," Egan said.
Twenty-five players who were with the Curve at least part of the 2010 season were on hand to receive their rings.
They included: Ramon Aguero, Tim Alderson, Tom Boleska, Mike Colla, Mike Crotta, Chase d'Arnaud, Michael Dubee, Miles Durham, Shelby Ford, Matt Hague, Josh Harrison, Gorkys Hernandez, Jared Hughes, Andrew Lambo, Jeff Locke, Jordy Mercer, Bryan Morris, Daniel Moskos, Jim Negrych, Anthony Norman, Rudy Owens, Alex Presley, Tony Watson, Kris Watts and Justin Wilson .
"This is a special day for us," said Locke, one of the Curve's pitching stars a year ago. "It's another year for us but to be here with all of the guys and to recall the special season we had is exciting."
Pitching coach Tom Filer and hitting coach Ryan Long also received rings from Lozinak, Egan and director of player personnel Kyle Stark. Trainer Bryan Housand, strength coach Chad Uihlein, clubhouse manager Jake Hunt and team doctor Jay Robinson were part of the ceremonies, too.
A couple dozen Curve fans from the Altoona area gathered near the Pirate dugout to offer their support and congratulations during the ceremony.
Lozinak and Egan presented former manager Matt Walbeck with his ring prior to the Braves-Tigers game in Lakeland on Monday. Walbeck is now a manager in the Atlanta farm system. Players no longer in the Pirate system will receive their rings through the mail.