John Henry Moss, the founder and president of the South Atlantic League until he retired in 2007 after 50 years, passed away at a hospital in his hometown of Kings Mountain, N.C. Moss had suffered a stroke on June 7. He was 90 years old.
Moss’ impact on the Sally League, and minor league baseball as a whole, cannot be overstated. He grew the league to 16 teams spanning eight states. During his tenure, the league (originally named the Western Carolinas League before being changed to its current title in 1980) took hold in 43 cities and saw 115 ownership groups. Attendance has grown from 179,998 in 1960 to over 4 million.
He was elected president for life of the Sally League at the Winter Meetings in 1989 and a year later was named the King of Baseball—a title usually bestowed upon an executive nearing the end of his tenure, but Moss stayed at the helm of the league another 17 years.
"He’s the last of the last of the breed," former Asheville Tourists general manager and co-owner Ron McKee told Baseball America for a 2007 article honoring Moss upon his retirement.
"I do not think there is another league that owed as much to one person as the South Atlantic League owes to John Henry Moss," second-year SAL president Eric Krupa said.
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