Now an MLB Partner League, the Pioneer League has bolstered its front office with the addition of Michael Shapiro as President, Henry Hunter as Vice President of Business Affairs and Bill Bavasi as head of scouting and player development initiatives.
Jim McCurdy will remain with the league as its new Commissioner. McCurdy, the former owner of the Butte Copper Kings, has served as the Pioneer League’s president for the past 27 years.
Most recently, Shapiro served as Executive Vice President for Planning and Development of the Baltimore Orioles, having previously served as the Senior Vice President for Business Affairs with the Washington Nationals and Vice President and General Counsel of the San Francisco Giants. As well, Shapiro served as Senior Counsel for the Atlanta Braves and Vice President of Business Affairs for Turner Sports.
Before assuming his role with the Orioles, Shapiro was President and General Manager of the San Rafael Pacifics (independent; Pacific Association) for seven seasons. During his tenure, Shapiro led the Pacifics to four league titles and was named Pacific Association Executive of the Year in 2015.
“I am honored to have been selected as the President of the Pioneer League,” Shapiro said via press release. “This is an exciting time for the league as it transitions from an affiliated league into an MLB Partner League. I can’t imagine a more thrilling opportunity than to help further develop and grow the league into a unique vehicle for player development while continuing to serve its local communities as a wonderful and affordable family entertainment option.”
“The Pioneer League Board of Directors are thrilled to welcome Mike to our league,” said Billings Mustangs owner Dave Heller via press release. “He has a long track record as a senior executive with several Major League Baseball clubs and, uniquely, has also owned and operated an independent league club. On behalf of all the PBL owners, I look forward to working with Mike as our next league president.”
Hunter, formerly having served as Director of Business and Legal Affairs with the Washington Nationals and as General Counsel with prominent Washington, DC lobbying firm, theGROUP, will assume responsibility for the Pioneer League’s business development, legal and new media efforts as the league transitions into its newly formed status as an MLB Partner League.
In launching the PBL’s new status as an independent league and its unique relationship with MLB as Partner League, the League will also be assisted by Bill Bavasi, a 40+ year MLB executive who previously directed the MLB Arizona Fall League and supervised the MLB Scouting Bureau. Bill also served as Vice President of Scouting and Player Development for the Cincinnati Reds and Executive Vice President and General Manager of both the Seattle Mariners and Los Angeles Angels.
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