Fast Forward Sports Group (FFSG) is the parent company of the Eastern League’s RubberDucks and the Southern League’s Jacksonville Suns. In his new role as FFSG’s president, in addition to his Akron duties, Pfander will oversee the operations in Jacksonville led by general manager Harold Craw. Pfander will remain based in Akron and he will continue serving the RubberDucks in a general manager/chief operating officer capacity.
“Jim’s proven track record of more than 16 years as a seasoned Minor League Baseball executive prepares him perfectly for these expanded responsibilities,” said Babby, who is also the owner and chief executive officer of the Suns and RubberDucks. “His able leadership, passion for our organizational growth goals, and commitment to delivering the finest in affordable family fun in the communities we serve, is unmatched.”
Pfander was Babby’s first hire upon his purchase of the Akron franchise in October 2012. Under his leadership, the franchise completed an identity change, remade its game-day presentation, remodeled Canal Park with more than $6 million of privately-funded improvements, and helped the team increase attendance by a record 27.7 percent by the 2014 season. In addition, the franchise has made major steps reconnecting with the Northeast Ohio community and making Canal Park the area’s home for affordable family fun.
“I am humbled and honored that Ken Babby chose me for this new role within the organization,” said Pfander. “I am extremely proud of the work we have done in Akron during the last three years setting our core principles based around families and affordability, but there’s more work to do to finish what we’re building there. The Suns franchise already has a passionate fan base and is an establishment in Jacksonville area, so I am excited to work with Harold see what we can build there in this new era with the terrific staff we have assembled and the fun new ideas we’re bringing.”
The Akron native is a graduate of Archbishop Hoban High School and Ohio University. During his 16-year career in baseball, he has served as general manager of the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Florida State League, assistant general manager of the Charleston (S.C.) RiverDogs, and held positions with the Brockton Rox and Spokane Indians. He began his baseball career as an intern in the Cleveland Indians broadcasting and special events department in 2000.