“It is with great sadness that the Minor League Baseball family mourns the passing of former President Sal Artiaga, who passed away last night in Palm Harbor, Florida,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner in a press statement. “Sal joined the Minor League Baseball office in 1983 and became president in 1988. His time as president was the catalyst for the future prosperity across Minor League Baseball and he was a valued member of the professional baseball family who will be greatly missed. Our thoughts and sincere condolences are with his wife, Marlene, and the entire Artiaga family during this difficult time.”
Artiaga began his career in professional baseball in 1965 as the assistant business manager for the El Paso Sun Kings, before moving on to the Tampa Tarpons, first as business manager and then general manager. From 1967–82, Artiaga served as the business coordinator in the player development for the Cincinnati Reds. In 1983, Artiaga joined the staff of Minor League Baseball President John H. Johnson, and following Johnson’s passing in January 1988, Artiaga was elected Minor League Baseball’s ninth President.
Artiaga’s time as president saw Minor League Baseball’s popularity grow as attendance rose dramatically, franchise values soared and teams began being purchased as investments. Artiaga was instrumental in starting the Dominican Republic Summer League as a Rookie-level developmental league for Latin American players.
Artiaga’s work on a new Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA) led to a new set of facility standards for Minor League Baseball ballparks that has led to the construction of 131 new facilities since 1990. That PBA also guaranteed that Major League Baseball would field no fewer than 160 Minor League Baseball teams across the country.
Following his term as president of Minor League Baseball, Artiaga served in player development roles for the White Sox, Phillies and Royals organizations before retiring in 2012 after 48 years in professional baseball.