PRESS RELEASE – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) today announced the creation of an annual promotional excellence award named after Ken Shepard, the Bridgeport Bluefish General Manager who passed away last week following his battle with kidney cancer. The Ken Shepard Award will recognize extraordinary promotional impact throughout the Atlantic League, whether a single promotion, or a series of noteworthy efforts during the course of the season.
The inaugural Atlantic League Ken Shepard Award will be presented to the entire administrative staff of the Bridgeport Bluefish, in honor of Mr. Shepard and their achievements. The presentation will take place Sunday, September 14th during the Ken Shepard Day ceremonies at the Ballpark at Harbor Yard.
Ken was a valued colleague and extraordinary human being. He had a unique, creative bent and pioneered ways to draw attention to his teams said Rick White, President of the Atlantic League. He was held in high esteem throughout baseball and will be missed by all who knew him. It is only right that we honor our dear friends promotional genius by naming the award in his honor.
On September 2, the Bluefish announced that leading up to Ken Shepard Day on September 14, they would honor their General Manager by sleeping in the press box at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard until the Fish snapped their 13-game losing streak. The team-wide promotion only lasted 24 hours, as the Bluefish defeated the York Revolution, 11 to 4, on Wednesday, September 3. The idea was inspired by Shepards time as General Manager of the Class A Geneva (NY) Cubs, when the team went on a six-game losing streak during the middle of the 1988 season. Shepard made a promise that he would sleep in the press box until the team won again. Shepard spent 12 consecutive nights in the teams press box until the Cubs snapped their 18-game losing streak with a win.
The North Syracuse, NY native was involved in professional baseball for over 20 years, including time spent with teams in Geneva, NY, Prince William, VA, Savannah, GA, Wilmington, DE and the Atlantic City Surf, one of six Atlantic League charter member teams. With Atlantic City, Shepard and his team won the inaugural Atlantic League Championship in 1998. Two of his operations also won the Larry MacPhail Promotional Award, given each season in Minor League Baseball to the club that demonstrates top promotional efforts.
“Ken and I have worked together for over twenty years in the great game of baseball,” said Bluefish principal owner Frank Boulton. “As GM of four of my teams, Ken approached each game with a level of respect for the fans and corporate partners that is unparalleled in our industry. The entire Bluefish community will sorely miss him. We hope all of Ken’s Bluefish fans will join us on September 14 as we celebrate and honor this remarkable man’s baseball career and life.”
On Sunday, September 14, the Bridgeport Bluefish will host Ken Shepard Day during their last regular season home game. The team will don special jerseys that will be auctioned off later in the evening, with all proceeds going to the Shepard family. Remaining Atlantic League organizations will also honor Shepard during each teams final regular season home game.
About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball
The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) is the highest level of professional baseball other than the Major Leagues. Atlantic League players are experienced professionals, having progressed through the development levels (A, AA, AAA) and are Major League Ready, with over 40% of Atlantic League players having Major League service time. Since the Leagues inception in 1998, over 30 million fans have attended an ALPB game in one of the Leagues state of the art ballparks. The League plans to expand from eight to twelve teams, which will join the existing teams in the major metropolitan markets of New York, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Houston.