The award, created in 2010, recognizes the essential role filled by individuals who are dedicated to helping make sure fans have the most enjoyable experience possible when visiting IL ballparks.
Mooney, 90, is affectionately referred to locally as "The Mayor of Coca-Cola Field." He has served the Bisons as an account representative for the past 28 years, all after his retirement. Mooney handles season-ticket and large group accounts, best known for his ability to convince fans who are on the fence to renew their tickets for one more season.
On game nights, Mooney is as recognizable to Bisons fans as the team's mascot, Buster. Often seen roaming the crowds wearing his trademark beige headphones, the "Moonman" has developed unique ways to connect with his fellow Buffalo baseball fanatics. For 28 years, Mooney has hand-delivered game notes to various fans around the park, which he managed to swipe from the press box. He even distributes his own version of the team's annual pocket schedule, stamped with his name and phone number and personally delivered to fans all over Western New York.
A great fan of the game and the Bisons, Mooney no longer drives but still makes it to Coca-Cola Field on most nights to say hello to fans. His resume prior to when he joined the Bisons speaks to his commitment and dedication.
A Navy frogman (the precursor to the Navy SEALS), Mooney's specialty in the Pacific Theatre in World War II was underwater demolition. After serving his country and earning four Bronze Stars, Mooney worked for three decades at the Ford stamping plant in Buffalo.
Mooney's award was presented Saturday in a ceremony prior to the Bisons' game against the Rochester Red Wings.
The first two recipients of the Spirit of the International League Award were Toledo broadcasting icon Frank Gilhooley in 2010 and long-time Rochester team organist Fred Costello last season.