Minor League Baseball has announced new leadership for its Council of League Presidents (COLP), with New York-Penn League President Ben Hayes elected as Chair.Midwest League President Richard “Dick” Nussbaum was elected as Vice-Chairman of the COLP, while Carolina League President Geoff Lassiter was elected as Secretary. Hayes follows International League President Randy Mobley, who stepped down from the role after serving as chair of the council since its inception in 1992.
“Minor League Baseball is so appreciative of the work Randy Mobley has done as COLP Chairman over the last 27 years,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “Ben Hayes is a tremendous league president and has done great work as the Vice- Chairman of the COLP under Randy, and with Dick and Geoff on board, the COLP continues on with tremendous leadership.”
Hayes, who had previously served as Vice-Chairman of the COLP, has been President and Chairman of the Board of the New York-Penn League since May 2001. The league has set all-time attendance records during Hayes’ tenure and expanded its geographic footprint to include Connecticut, Maryland and West Virginia. Hayes was instrumental in the establishment and growth of the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting the poor, youth, and those with special needs within the league’s communities. Hayes was also a driving force behind the creation of the New York-Penn League All-Star Game and the New York-Penn League Hall of Fame.
Hayes served as Minor League Baseball’s Secretary and General Counsel from 1993 to 2000 after a professional baseball playing career that lasted over eight years in the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals organizations (1978–1986 seasons). Hayes pitched in 45 Major League games for Cincinnati in 1982–83 before an elbow injury ended his playing career.
Hayes graduated from St. Petersburg High School and is a member of the SPHS Sports Hall of Fame. Hayes also attended University of Florida, St. Petersburg Junior College and University of South Florida (undergraduate), University of Florida Graduate School (Center for Latin American Studies), and University of Florida College of Law. Hayes resides and maintains his office in St. Petersburg, Florida.
Nussbaum, who last week received the 2018 Warren Giles Award for excellence by a league president, has presided over the Midwest League since the start of the 2015 season. Prior to becoming the league’s president, Nussbaum served as Midwest League General Counsel since 1993.
Prior to taking over as president of the Midwest League, Nussbaum was the City of South Bend City Attorney, General Counsel to the Lieutenant Governor and Special Counsel to the Governor of the State of Indiana while the former owner of the South Bend club, Joe Kernan, was Mayor, Lieutenant Governor and Governor.
A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Nussbaum was a four-year letter winner as a centerfielder at the University of Notre Dame, where he earned his undergraduate and law degrees. Nussbaum later served as President of the Notre Dame Alumni Association and President of the Notre Dame Monogram Club. He currently serves on the Notre Dame Board of Trustees. Nussbaum and his wife, Mary Pat, have three children and six grandchildren and reside in South Bend, Indiana, where he is a partner at the law firm of Sopko, Nussbaum, Inabnit & Kaczmarek.
Lassiter, who fills the Secretary role vacated by Pacific Coast League President Branch Rickey, took over as Carolina League president in 2018. Lassiter was President of the Winston-Salem Dash from 2010–2017 after an eight-year career at Wake Forest University, where he served as the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Special Projects.
Lassiter graduated from Greensboro College in 1999 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration with an emphasis in economics. While there, he was a four-year letter winner for the men’s basketball team, was named team captain during his junior and senior seasons and served as class president during the 1998–99 school year. Geoff, and his wife, Kiera, reside in Winston-Salem with their three children, Porter, Wilson and Mary Elizabeth.