We’re guessing it wasn’t even close, even though the circuit is jammed with talent: Charlotte Knights Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer Dan Rajkowski is the International League’s 2014 Executive of the Year.
“In my mind Dan’s recognition as the International League’s 2014 Executive of the Year comes not only from the opening of the incredible BB&T Ballpark or the industry leading attendance of nearly 700,000 fans, but also Dan’s persistence in bringing baseball back to Uptown Charlotte,” said International League President Randy Mobley in a press release. “Dan could see the impact the move to Uptown would have on not only the Knights franchise but the greater Charlotte community as well. He could have given up the fight when time after time the roadblocks surfaced. The International League and the Charlotte community will be beneficiaries of Dan’s vision and commitment for many years to come.”
Rajkowski played an influential role in moving the club from Fort Mill, S.C. after 25 seasons and into Uptown Charlotte for the 2014 season. The Knights officially opened the gates to BB&T Ballpark on Friday, April 11 in front of a capacity crowd of 10,231.
“I’m very honored to be selected for this award by directors of the International League,” Rajkowski said. “2014 was a very special year in the history of the Charlotte Knights franchise. Any recognition for the success of this team is attributed to our owner’s leadership and the commitment and hard work of my staff and the part time employees that made BB&T Ballpark the best in all of Minor League Baseball. I feel very privileged and fortunate to be a part of this team.”
The move to Charlotte proved to be a successful one as the Knights also averaged a Minor League Baseball high of 9,686 fans over their 71 openings in 2014. BB&T Ballpark welcomed 31 sell-out crowds over the course of the season. The ballpark also played host to the 2014 Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game, which featured 8,886 fans — giving the Knights a final attendance number of 696,601 fans through the gates in the ballpark’s inaugural season.
“Having overseen the construction and opening of a ballpark that is second to none in Minor League Baseball, registering the top attendance amongst Minor League Baseball’s 160 teams in 2014, and having so successfully hosted the Gildan Triple-A National Championship Game, Dan Rajkowski deserves any and all recognition he receives,” Mobley added. “I think Dan’s peers in the league found it an easy decision to select him as the International League’s Executive of the Year.”
Rajkowski’s tenure with the Knights began as Vice President, General Manager of the club in 2006. Over two million fans walked through the gates of Knights Stadium over his seven seasons as GM. After the 2012 season, he was elevated to the team’s Executive Vice President, Chief Operating Officer to focus more on the re-location of the club to Charlotte. In all, Rajkowski has operated clubs at all classifications of Minor League Baseball and has been honored with numerous awards over his career. He was named the Southern League’s Executive of the Year in 1997. In 2000, he was the recipient of the Larry McPhail Promotional Award for Minor League Baseball and was elected to the Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. One year later, while with the Toronto Blue Jays organization, he received the Bobby Mattick Award for dedication and excellence in player development.
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