O'Conner Throws Hat In Ring
Longtime MiLB executive will run for top job
Pat O'Conner's plan to run for president of Minor League Baseball had long been assumed, but now can be considered official.
The longtime right-hand man to outgoing president Mike Moore—who will retire after 16 years in office when his term runs out in December—will be among what is expected to be a crowded field of candidates looking to fill the position in an election at the Winter Meetings in Nashville.
"I have informed the board of directors and the chairman that I am interested in the position and would like to be considered a candidate for president," O'Conner said.
After 14 years of helping Moore guide Minor League Baseball through its most successful run ever from a revenue and attendance standpoint, O'Conner has to be considered among the favorites for the position. He came to Minor League Baseball in May 1993 and currently serves as chief operating officer and vice president of administration. He took on increased responsibilities in the wake of Moore's serious car accident in early 2005. Moore's injuries and long recovery left O'Conner assuming many of his duties for a time.
O'Conner proudly points to his experience with Moore as a qualification
for the presidency, noting that their relationship has been a
partnership in building Minor League Baseball. However, he added, the
pair do have their differences.
"Mike and I have been together a
long time and the results speak for themselves," O'Conner said. "The
way we run this company, it is not an all or nothing situation—it is
not one person running roughshod with everything. In every aspect of
the business I have had exposure.
"Those who think I am a carbon
copy of Mike Moore don't know me as well as they think they do. We were
able to work well together very well and move this industry forward.
But I am more hands on, more interactive. I like to talk about things
and all that. I have a good relationship with the board and I think
that will continue. I think I am more than capable to lead this half of
With such previously contentious issues as the Professional Baseball Agreement and the minor league umpires' labor contract on solid ground, O'Conner said he expects the election to focus on issues like diversity, expanding Internet contracts and maintaining current facility standards.
"What we need to do is continue to monitor the cost of doing business," he said. "We need to continue to discuss the issues of realignment and interleague play. Now that core business is taken care of through our past efforts, we can focus on these issues to see if there are solutions for the long term."
Before he joined Minor League Baseball, O'Conner headed Florida operations for the Astros
(1986-93) and served as GM of the organization's Osceola affiliate in the Florida State
League. He was GM of
Greenwood in the South Atlantic League in 1982, and assistant GM of
Beaumont of the Texas League from 1982-85. An Ohio native, he
has a economics/finance degree from Wittenberg (Ohio) University and a masters in sports administration from Ohio University.