PORTLAND, MAINE - The Eastern League is pleased to announce that Jim Pfander of the Akron RubberDucks has been named the 2016 Eastern League Executive of the Year. The 2016 season marked Jim's fourth as the General Manager and Chief Operating Officer of the RubberDucks. Pfander will be presented with the award at the Baseball Winter Meetings in National Harbor, Maryland during the Opening Session on Monday, December 5th.
Under Jim's leadership the Akron RubberDucks welcomed a total of 350,077 fans to Canal Park this season, which was the fourth highest total in the Eastern League. That total, which included nine sellouts, was an increase of nearly 10,000 fans over their 2015 attendance total. That total did not include the more than 14,000 fans that were in attendance at Canal Park during two days of events surrounding the RubberDucks hosting the Eastern League All-Star Game for the first time in franchise history this past July.
Since Pfander and owner Ken Babby joined the organization prior to the 2013 season, the Akron franchise has had a four-year attendance increase of 28 percent. During Jim's tenure with the organization, he also helped oversee the rebranding of the franchise from the Akron Aeros to the Akron RubberDucks after the 2013 season and a two-year renovation of Canal Park that included the addition of new picnic areas and premium seating, a tiki bar, a new state of the art video board and ribbon board and a new restaurant and meeting space.
With the presentation of this award the Eastern League would also like to recognize the outstanding performance this season by the entire Akron RubberDucks staff.
"Jim has done a tremendous job during his time in Akron of working with the entire staff to turn the RubberDucks into one of the premier organizations in all of Minor League Baseball," said Eastern League President Joe McEacharn. "The hard work of Jim and the rest of the staff in Akron was on full display with their excellent job in planning and hosting this year's Eastern League All-Star Game in addition to providing their fans with a season full of affordable, family fun that culminated in an Eastern League Championship."
Pfander, who is a native of Akron and a graduate of Ohio University, is a 17-year veteran of the baseball industry. Jim first worked in Akron as the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Aeros in 2011 and became just the second general manager in franchise history when he returned to the club in October of 2012. Jim started his baseball career as an intern in the Cleveland Indians broadcasting department in 2000 and has filled various roles with teams in Charleston, South Carolina; Brockton, Massachusetts; Port Charlotte, Florida; and Spokane, Washington.