PRESS RELEASE – The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB) today announced its remaining postseason awards, Executive of the Year – Ken Shepard, late general manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish; Ballpark of the Year – Clipper Magazine Stadium, home of the Lancaster Barnstormers; and the inaugural “Ken Shepard Award” for Promotional Excellence – the Staff of the Bridgeport Bluefish. The recipients were selected by a committee comprised of general managers from Atlantic League ball clubs.
Ken Shepard has been posthumous honored as Executive of the Year. He was the general manager of the Bridgeport Bluefish from 2012 until September 2014, when he passed away at age 49 after a courageous battle with cancer. 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.
In 1988, Shepard spent 12 consecutive nights in the Geneva Cub’s press box until the club snapped their 18-game losing streak with a win. The feat made national news and helped increase the Class A club’s attendance 36% over the previous season, earning Shepard his first of two Larry MacPhail Promotional Awards, given each season in Minor League Baseball to the club that demonstrates top promotional efforts.
“Ken was a promotional genius and was respected throughout baseball for his innovative tactics,” said Rick White, Atlantic League President. “He is missed by all who knew him, and the League will continue to honor and remember him by presenting the “Ken Shepard Award” at the end of each season.”
The “Ken Shepard Award” is now an Atlantic League award recognizing extraordinary promotional impact, whether a single promotion, or a series of noteworthy efforts during the course of the season. The inaugural “Ken Shepard Award” for Promotional Excellence has been awarded to the Administrative Staff of the Bridgeport Bluefish, in honor of Shepard and the team’s 2014 achievements, such as welcoming Pete Rose as team manager for a game, the Battle of the Sexes game against local amateur softball team, the Stratford Brakettes, and a Big Brothers Big Sisters night in which fans who donated clothing received a special Bluefish jersey.
Clipper Magazine Stadium has been the home to the Lancaster Barnstormers since 2005 and has drawn over 3 million regular season fans since opening its front gates. The ballpark seats 6,219 fans and features family activities including bumper boats, inflatables and a carousel. New to the stadium in 2014, the Barnstormers added the “Ring of Honor” display to its outfield wall. As voted on by their fans, the “Ring of Honor” celebrates its two championship managers and the ten players, who fans believed had the greatest impact on team history. This season, the Barnstormers partnered with Bobby Rahal Lexus to update the stadium suite level to enhance the experience of their skybox clientele. Lancaster also refreshed and rebranded its ticket office as “Two Dudes Box Office,” in partnership with community-oriented painting company, Two Dudes Painting.
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), with over 40% of Atlantic League players having Major League service time. Since the League’s inception in 1998, over 32 million fans have attended an ALPB game in one of the League’s state of the art ballparks.