Sad news out of Sacramento, as Rivercats owner Art Savage passed away suddenly at his home on Saturday night. He was 58.
Savage, a non-smoker, had battled lung cancer but had recently been given a clean bill of health, the Sacramento Bee reported.
Savage, who co-owned the Triple-A Pacific Coast League affiliate with his wife, Susan, oversaw one of the most successful franchises in minor league baseball since he helped bring the club to town 10 years ago. During that span, the River Cats won two Triple-A championships and four PCL titles. Perhaps even more notable, Sacramento led minor league baseball in attendance in each of its first nine seasons before finishing second to Triple-A Columbus (which debuted a new ballpark) in 2009.
"He had a great vision and passion and level of perseverance unlike anybody I’ve worked for before. That’s what made the River Cats and Raley Field possible," River Cats president/general manager Alan Ledford told the Sacramento Bee.
The Florida Winter Baseball League, which was using independent league players and attempting to gain traction as a new domestic winter league in 2009, has suspended operations. The four-team league was working hand-in-hand with Global Scouting Bureau, which in a press release said it had been hired by the FWBL to "oversee formation, staff hiring, and eventual daily operations of the FWBL." However, Global Scouting Bureau dissolved the partnership after a series of "failed commitments."
The FWBL employs Ken Griffey Sr. as its commissioner and has his former Reds teammate, George Foster, on board as a manager. The league’s ranks of players have been filled with independent leaguers to date and no affiliated players had played. Major League Baseball is not involved with the FWBL.
A second fall league other than the Arizona Fall League has been attempted several times over the last 15 years, from two tries in Hawaii to leagues such as the Maryland and California Fall leagues. None of them has survived, and the FWBL may be on its way to joining the scrap heap.
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