Two big pieces of news to pass along: Schaumburg Boomers owner Pat Salvi is the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame’s 2023 Sportsman of the Year, while longtime baseball executive Scott Proefrock has been named president of New England Professional Baseball.
Each year, the NIASHF presents the Sportsman of the Year Award to an individual who has exhibited tremendous leadership, benevolence and humanitarian activities to the National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame itself and the Italian American community at-large. Former honorees include Presidents and Chairmen of enterprises such as Anheuser-Busch, Pepsi, Sara Lee, San Fransisco 49ers, Phoonix Suns/Arizona Diamondbacks, and many more.
“[Mr. Salvi’s] combination of law accolades, sports business and love for the Italian heritage make him the ideal candidate for this award,” NIASHF President Ron Onesti said via press release
A lifetime baseball aficionado, Salvi–Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard Founder and Managing Equity Partner–decided it was time to enter the world of minor league baseball and purchased his first team, the Gary SouthShore RailCats (American Association) in 2008. He owned and operated the team until 2022. Under his leadership, the team won four division championships, had 30 players signed to MLB organizations, and won the 2013 American Association Championship.
After finding much success with the RailCats, Salvi expanded his enterprise to include a 100 percent interest in both the Schaumburg Boomers (Frontier League) and the North Shore Navigators (Futures League). Since purchasing the Boomers in 2012, the team has been named Organization of the Year four times, with ten consecutive seasons leading the league in attendance. Under Mr. Salvi’s leadership, the team won the Frontier League Championship four times in 10 years.
With New England Professional Baseball, Scott Proefrock will provide executive oversight in the operations of the New England Knockouts (Frontier League), the Windy City ThunderBolts (Frontier League) and the Brockton Rox (Futures League). All three teams are owned by Brian Kahn.
Proefrock’s history in professional baseball dates to 1987 when he got his start as an intern for the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also spent time with the Atlanta Braves, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and Baltimore Orioles before he was named the assistant general manager of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2008, a role he maintained for 13 years.
“I’m excited to be back in the game,” he said via press release. “I believe MLB Partners and independent leagues are vital to the future of the game, both in providing baseball fans across the country with access to affordable family entertainment and aspiring players with a place to pursue their dreams. I look forward to continuing to support our GMs, Mike VerSchave in Windy City and Nick Desrosiers in New England and Brockton, in their efforts to make memories for our fans, players, and staff.”
As president of the New England Professional Baseball, his initial focus will be on the newly christened New England Knockouts, playing out of Campanelli Stadium in Brockton, Massachusetts. This will be Proefrock’s first year working with teams in an MLB Partner League, but it is not his first time helping to get a fledgling franchise started. In 1995, he became the director of baseball administration for the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, more than two years before they began American League play. He was named assistant general manager in 1998 and held that position through the first eight years of the team’s existence.
The Brockton Rox also play out of Campanelli Stadium and, in 2024, will be playing their 13th year in the summer-collegiate Futures League. The Windy City ThunderBolts operate out of Crestwood, Illinois, and are entering their 25th season in the Frontier League.