The 2014 season marked Egan’s sixth as Curve GM. The Altoona Curve welcomed a total of 275,823 fans to Peoples Natural Gas Field in 2014, as well as the 10,000-plus fans on hand for the two-day Eastern League All-Star Stop this past July. As part of the all-star festivities the Curve made it a priority to give back to their community, building an entire night of events around saluting the military, both locally and abroad, the night before the all-star game. This kicked off with the Curve, PA Heroes Game, which featured the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball, and culminated with the Ghostman Games Hitting Challenge, which featured a jersey auction that was used to raise money towards providing an all-terrain wheel chair to a local veteran. The event also included the dedication of a POW/MIA chair that will remain vacant in memory of the service men and women who have not come home and remain unaccounted for. These efforts surrounding the All-Star Stop were in addition to the many other charitable efforts of the franchise throughout the regular season that helped raised money and awareness for hundreds of organizations in and around Altoona.
“Rob has done an outstanding job during his tenure with the Curve and his selection for this award displays the tremendous growth he has shown since originally taking over as General Manager six years ago,” said Eastern League President Joe McEacharn. “The hard work of Rob and the entire staff was on full display with their efforts in planning and hosting the Eastern League All-Star Stop. Not surprisingly given Rob’s previous background as a broadcaster, one of his areas of strength is strong communication skills, which can be seen in working with his office staff, the league office, and the field staff and umpires around the league.”
Egan, a 1991 graduate of Central Michigan University, is a 16-year veteran of the baseball industry. He first joined the Curve front office in 1999, serving as the team’s radio voice for the first six seasons. After spending almost four years away from the club from 2005-08, he rejoined the franchise as the general manager prior to the 2009 season. Egan previously worked for minor league clubs in Charleston, South Carolina (1997-98), Johnstown, Pennsylvania (1996) and Salinas, California (1995) before joining the Altoona organization.
In addition, the Eastern League announced the league nominees for the Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award, the John Henry Moss Community Service Award, the Larry MacPhail Award, and the John H. Johnson President’s Award. The winners of these awards are selected by Minor League Baseball and will be honored at the 2014 Baseball Winter Meetings in San Diego, California.
The New Hampshire Fisher Cats are the Eastern League nominee for the John H. Johnson President’s Award, which is used to honor a “complete” baseball franchise that has demonstrated franchise stability while making significant contributions to its community, its league and to the baseball industry. Under the guidance of owner Art Solomon and President Rick Brenner, the Fisher Cats drew a total of 340,299 fans in 2014 and are set to welcome their four-millionth fan in franchise history to Northeast Delta Dental Stadium in 2015. In addition to providing their fans with the affordable family entertainment they have come to expect, the Fisher Cats have also made giving back to their community a top priority of the organization. Through the Fisher Cats Foundation, which was established in 2006, the New Hampshire club has provided more than $3.5-million in monetary and in-kind donations to thousands of non-profit organizations.
The Eastern League nominee for the Larry MacPhail Award, which is given to a club in Minor League Baseball that has demonstrated outstanding and creative marketing and promotional efforts, is the Akron RubberDucks. This past offseason the Akron franchise announced the changing of their name to the Akron RubberDucks. In addition the team completed the second year of a renovation of Canal Park. All of these changes helped the Akron franchise draw a total of 350,704 fans in 2014, an average of 5,157 fans per game, which ranked fourth in the Eastern League. This marked a 15.7% increase in attendance over the 2013 season, and a 27.7% increase since Ken Babby took over as the owner of the franchise in October 2012. Those fans that came out to Canal Park were treated to numerous creative and fun promotions, such as the Rock ‘N Bobble bobblehead series that honored musicians from the Akron area like the Black Keys, and their extreme foods selections that included new additions like the Johnny Footlong and the Return of the King Burger.
For the John Henry Moss Community Service Award, which is given to a club that demonstrates an outstanding, on-going commitment to charitable service, support and leadership, the Eastern League is nominating the Richmond Flying Squirrels. One of the major initiatives for the Flying Squirrels in 2014 was “Operation Renovation,” which is a campaign to raise money to rebuild 12 little league fields for the Richmond City Department of Parks & Recreation. The team has already raised $60,000 towards this project. This was in addition to the more than $150,000 the club made in monetary donations and gifts-in kind to charitable organizations in 2014. The Richmond front office is also a constant presence within their community, as the club made nearly 600 appearances by their mascot, players and executives.
The Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year award is given out annually to one woman who has made an outstanding contribution to her club, league or to baseball. For this award the Eastern League is pleased to nominate Amy McArdle of the Erie SeaWolves. Amy is a key member of the senior management team for the SeaWolves as the Director of Accounting and Finance. Amy joined the SeaWolves staff in 2011 and has helped to create an environment which saw the franchise increase sponsorship sales and ticket revenue in 2014.