Mobile BayBears (Class AA; Southern League) President Bill Shanahan, who has been with the team since its inception, has stepped down and will move with his family to South Carolina.
Shanahan began his career in Minor League Baseball in 1984 and has thirty years of professional sports ownership, management, sales and operations experience. Shanahan has been with the Mobile club since its inception in 1996, supervising the design and construction of Hank Aaron Stadium in Mobile.
In 2002, Shanahan won Executive of the Year honors in the Southern League, his third time receiving such an honor (California League-1988, South Atlantic League-1992). Under Shanahan’s direction, the Mobile BayBears received the prestigious Bob Freitas Award for the top Double-A Franchise in all of Minor League Baseball as well experiencing four Southern League Championships in 1998, 2004, 2011, and 2012 and were selected as Baseball America’s Minor League Team of the Year in 1998 and 2011.
In 2007, it was Shanahan’s idea to relocate Hall of Famer Hank Aaron’s childhood home to the grounds of Hank Aaron Stadium and in 2010 the dream became reality organizing the grand opening of the museum that included the attendance by Hall of Famers such as his boyhood idol, Willie Mays, as well as Reggie Jackson, Ozzie Smith, Bob Feller, Rickey Henderson and others, along with baseball commissioner Bud Selig and Baseball Hall of Fame president Jeff Idleson. The home/museum was dedicated in front of where it now stands as a museum and has become a Mobile landmark.
After purchasing an expansion franchise in the Coastal Plain League in 2006, the Columbia Blowfish begin their eighth season this coming May. In addition, Shanahan is working on building a new ballpark for the team. The franchise was awarded the Organization of the Year in its first year of operation and won the CPL Championship in 2012. In 2013, Shanahan was awarded “The Order of the Silver Crescent” by South Carolina Governor Niki Haley for exemplary performance, contribution and achievement within the community. It is the state’s highest award for volunteer and community service.
“We had a minor league team in Columbia before we came to Mobile. … We started working on the Mobile team in 1995 and in ’96, my wife Vicki and I and the Shanahan family moved here to oversee the design and construction of what came to be Hank Aaron Stadium” Shanahan said. “We opened up on April 17, 1997, and we’ve been here ever since. It’s been a great ride with so many wonderful people that we’ve met and we have so many good memories to cherish the time we spent in Mobile.
“I am grateful and thankful for being a part of this wonderful organization all these years and want to thank Minor League Baseball, the Southern League, the City of Mobile, the Arizona Diamondbacks, all the great BayBears staff members and partners over the years and the great fans of the BayBears. I look forward to the team’s continued success for many years to come,” said Shanahan.
“It’s been a real pleasure working with Bill these past ten years,” said BayBears Managing Partner Michael Savit. “We’ve shared a lot of great experiences in Mobile with the BayBears, and I wish him the best of luck in all of his future endeavors.”
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