Ben J. Hayes
Ben has been the President and Chairman of the Board of the New York-Penn League since May 2001. The office of the New York-Penn League is maintained in St. Petersburg, Fla. Ben currently serves as the Vice Chairman of Minor League Baseball's Council of League Presidents, and is a member of Minor League Baseball's COLP Officer's Committee and chairman of the COLP Charities Committee. In 2009, Ben was awarded Minor League Baseball's Warren Giles Award for outstanding service as a league president. Since 2003, Ben has been the President of the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization dedicated to assisting the poor, the youth, and those with special needs within the New York-Penn League's communities.
In additional to his New York-Penn League duties, Ben is an attorney, whose practice focuses primarily on matters involving sports and entertainment law. Ben has been a member of the Florida bar since 1992 and is admitted to practice before the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth and Eleventh Circuits, and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Prior to becoming the President of the New York-Penn League, Ben served 7 years as Secretary & General Counsel for Minor League Baseball (1993 to 2000) and played 8 years with the Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals (1978 to 1986). Ben's professional pitching career lasted eight seasons before ending due to an elbow injury. During his playing career, Ben pitched 2½ seasons at the Major League level with the Cincinnati Reds. In the minors Ben pitched for the Indianapolis Indians, Louisville Redbirds, Arkansas Travelers, Waterbury Reds, Tampa Tarpons, Greensboro Hornets, and Billings Mustangs.
Following his professional baseball career, Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with honors from University of South Florida (1987), studied political-economics at University of Florida Graduate School (1988-1989), and earned a Juris Doctorate degree with honors from University of Florida College of Law (1992).
Ben currently resides in St. Petersburg, Fla. with his wife and daughter. Ben is a USCG-licensed Captain, a NAUI-certified Divemaster, and a DAN Diving Emergency Specialist (DES) Instructor.