Warren Giles Award:
Ben Hayes, New York-Penn League
The Giles Award annually honors outstanding service as a league president. The New-York Penn League has experienced tremendous growth since Hayes took over as President in May 2001. The NY-Penn set attendance records in his first two years in office, including 1,890,053 in 2002. Since then, the 14 clubs in the circuit have attracted over 1.75 million fans every season. Hayes has spearheaded efforts for league-wide marketing sponsorships. He also implemented a mid-season all-star game into the schedule, beginning in 2005. New stadiums for Aberdeen, State College and Tri-City that have opened since he's taken office have been among the sites for the All-Star Game.
"I am very grateful for being selected as the recipient of the 2009 Warren Giles Award," said Hayes. "This is a tremendous honor. My being selected for the Warren Giles Award, however, would not have happened but for the outstanding support of the New York-Penn League owners, GMs and staff members. To each of them and to Pat O'Conner and the entire NAPBL staff, I say, 'Thank you.'"
Off the field, Hayes, a relief pitcher for the Cincinnati Reds in 1982 and 1983, streamlined his clubs' numerous philanthropic initiatives through the formation of a charities foundation. Last year, the New York-Penn League Charitable Foundation contributed over $840,000 in cash and gifts-in-kind to causes in the baseball family and in the cities its clubs call home.
This year, the Foundation began awarding three, $2,500 college scholarships, representing each of the league's divisions. The four playoff clubs raised over $20,000 during the post-season for Lucas Holko, a 4-year-old boy who was critically injured when he struck by a foul ball at a Mahoning Valley game in September.
In addition to his duties as league president, Hayes serves on the BIRCO/MLB Advanced Media; MLB Farm Directors; and Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. Council of League Presidents Committees.
Rawlings Woman Executive of the Year Award:
Katie Dannemiller, Greensboro Grasshoppers
Katie Dannemiller joined the Greensboro Grasshoppers in January 2006. It didn't take long for her leadership skills and team-oriented attitude to make an impression, resulting in attendance records and accolades. Katie sets a great example for her coworkers, always the first in line to help get the job done when the unexpected occurs.
As Vice President of Baseball Operations, Katie's responsibilities include overseeing Greensboro's marketing and promotional schedules, its on-field activities and most of the Grasshoppers staff. She is also heavily involved in planning and executing community-related events. It's no coincidence that the Grasshoppers have received the South Atlantic League's Club Merit Award in all four seasons that Dannemiller has been with the club.
"I am honored to have been considered for the Rawlings Woman Executive of The Year award and so grateful for receiving the prestigious award," stated Dannemiller. "It is very exciting and satisfying to be recognized throughout all of baseball after also having been awarded the South Atlantic League Female Executive of the Year.
"My heartfelt thanks to those who nominated me and voted for me, as well as my support network of family and friends, both inside and outside baseball. I have been extremely fortunate during my 13-year career in baseball and look forward to continuing to represent the industry with pride."
Prior to joining the Grasshoppers, Dannemiller worked in several capacities with Cleveland Indians affiliates, working her way to a major league position with the parent club as the executive assistant to the general manager.