Mike Moore, Longtime MiLB President, Passes Away
Mike Moore, the president of Minor League Baseball from 1991 to 2007, died on Thursday, Feb. 3, 2022. He was 80.
Moore presided over one of the most significant periods in the history of Minor League Baseball. He was elected president in 1991 during a hotly contested election that saw him emerge from a five-candidate campaign.
Moore’s presidency began during one of the most tumultuous times in minor league history. Moore had served as chief administrative officer for the National Association (which was what MiLB was called at the time) under previous president Sal Artiaga. A very contentious Professional Baseball Agreement negotiation between Major League Baseball and the NA had eventually led Artiaga to say that he would not seek another term as president.
Moore then won an election that saw Stan Brand, former major league general manager Murray Cook, Eastern League president Charlie Eshbach and California League president Joe Gagliardi also campaigning for the position.
Moore had worked as the co-owner and operator of the Class A Tampa club from 1971-1988, so he had experience as an owner and operator. When he took over as the head of the minors, the then-new PBA was seen by many around the minors as a potential death knell for the sport. New facility requirements were going to force many teams to either relocate or build new stadiums.
Instead of killing the minors, that PBA proved to be a booster rocket to drive already growing attendance to new levels. In 1988, MiLB teams saw 21.6 million fans come through the gates. During Moore’s tenure, attendance nearly doubled. In Moore’s final year as president in 2007, MiLB teams drew 42.8 million fans. MiLB attendance peaked the next year at 43.26 million fans.
Moore also drove a rewriting of the National Association’s constitution that brought onboard a board of trustees and a council of league presidents. Those structures remained in place for the remainder of MiLB’s time as an independent entity (Major League Baseball took over governance of the minors before the 2021 season).
Moore also was in charge when the Professional Baseball Umpire Corporation was formed and when MiLB got into national licensing of its team’s merchandise.
“Mike Moore was one of the most effective presidents Minor League Baseball ever had,” said Pat O’Conner, Moore’s successor as MiLB president. “He was a great thinker with creative ideas and the ability to communicate those thoughts clearly. Mike was a great orator. He was just the person baseball needed to lead the National Association through tumultuous times and provide the leadership to spark the phenomenal growth of its last 25 years. Scores of people benefited from Mike’s intelligence, leadership and love of the game.”