Another executive of the year announcement, this time from the International League, which has given its award to Indianapolis Indians general manager Randy Lewandowski.
His selection was made in a vote by league peers at the International League Fall Meeting in Memphis, Tenn.
Lewandowski became the Indians’ general manager in October 2014. Under his leadership, Indianapolis led Minor League Baseball with 636,888 in attendance this season and has eclipsed 630,000 fans in each of his first two seasons as GM – the fourth consecutive year the club has reached that mark.
“Randy Lewandowski is totally deserving of the International League Executive of the Year Award,” said Cal Burleson, a two-time award recipient and Indians vice president of baseball and administrative affairs. “His inspiring leadership of our staff continues to be a very significant factor as Indianapolis achieves recognition as a premier franchise in professional baseball. We can be confident even greater accomplishments will be ahead in our future.”
It is the third Executive of the Year honor for the Indianapolis front office since joining the International League in 1998. League president Randy Mobley cited Lewandowski’s ability to lead as a top reason why he has drawn the respect of those across the IL.
“League directors could not have made a better choice when they voted Randy Lewandowski as the league’s 2016 Executive of the Year,” said Mobley. “Since Randy was elevated to the general manager’s position prior to the 2015 season he has consistently demonstrated strong leadership qualities not only within the Indians’ organization, but he is also recognized as a well-respected voice in league settings due to his thorough and thoughtful approach to problem solving. This is Randy’s first IL Executive of the Year award, but it doesn’t take much foresight to project that it will not be his last.”
The 2016 season featured a collection of memorable events and milestones. Victory Field hosted the city’s first major league exhibition, featuring the Pittsburgh Pirates and Cincinnati Reds on April 2. The event sold out in less than 24 hours – the fastest sellout on record for the club. The ballpark also celebrated its 20th season of baseball all year long, as promotional efforts and events invited fans to recollect their favorite memories at Victory Field. In May, the park welcomed its 12 millionth fan – a remarkable feat in comparison to the 13 million its predecessor Bush Stadium drew over 65 years.
In addition to record attendance figures, Lewandowski’s tenure as GM has been characterized by a commitment to giving back to the Indianapolis community. The 2016 season saw the Indians tally more than $130,000 in donations to local organizations through charitable fundraising efforts and partnerships.
“This recognition is truly an honor and I am extremely humbled,” said Lewandowski. “There are many talented and deserving candidates throughout our league. The selection as the IL Executive of the Year puts an exclamation point on a special year for the Indians. We are fortunate to have a gifted and dedicated staff that allows us to push limits and strive for excellence. I am also very grateful to my family for their support over the course of my career.”
Lewandowski joined the Indians in 1994 as a ticket office intern. From there, he served stints as an assistant ticket manager and director of operations prior to spending 2002-06 as one of the team’s two assistant general managers. He became the sole assistant GM in 2007.
For seven years (2007-2014), he helped guide the Indians by overseeing the marketing, operations and ticket departments. Under his guidance, the team recorded five straight seasons of increased attendance, including leading all of Minor League Baseball in 2013, and setting a Victory Field record in 2014.
A native of Fort Wayne, Indiana, Lewandowski graduated with a degree in business management from Anderson University in 1993. He was also four-year starter on the Ravens’ baseball team, where he earned academic All-American honors as a first baseman and pitcher.