“I have had a wonderful run, working with an amazing group of owners and operators, but, after considerable thought, have decided that after this coming season, it will be time for me to step aside,” Kayser said after making his intentions known to League directors during the Texas League annual meeting on December 9 at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville.
Kayser was hired in 1992 following the death of his predecessor, Carl Sawatski, in late 1991.
During his tenure, league attendance increased from 1.7 million fans to 2.8 million, in no small measure to the eight new facilities in the league, seven of which have opened since 2002.
“One of the great strengths of the Texas League has been our operators’ spirit of cooperation and their willingness to embrace change and innovation. I am proud to have been involved in the Texas League during what certainly will be viewed as the second Golden Age in the long history of this league. I want to sincerely thank the directors of the Texas League for allowing me to be a part of these successes for as long as they have,” Kayser continued.
The Illinois native began his career in baseball in the Eastern League at Pittsfield, Massachusetts in 1976, moving to Holyoke the next season, where he stayed for five years, the final two as the owner of the club.
Following the 1981 season, Kayser was named the Assistant Minor League Director for the Pittsburgh Pirates, working in that position through 1986. He later worked for the Cincinnati Reds, the Calgary Cannons (PCL) and for the Rockford Lightning in the Continental Basketball Association prior to his selection as Texas League president.
The 2016 season will by Kayser’s 25th as TL president, the longest tenure in league history, passing J. Alvin Gardner, who led the loop from late 1929 until early 1954 — just over 24 years, but only 21 seasons, as the league did not operate from 1943 through 1945 due to World War II.