JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp general manager Harold Craw was selected by JEA to be the company's keynote speaker at their 30th annual Black History Month "Honoring African-Americans in Motion" program. Craw delivered his speech Thursday on being a change agent and identifying angels in life.
"It was an honor to speak to a great group at the JEA Black History Month program," Craw said. "I applaud them for their commitment to celebrating Black History Month and their continued efforts in diversity. I attribute so much of my own success to the importance of trailblazers like Jackie Robinson, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Barack Obama that this month celebrates. I hope that my own experience as a trailblazer in Minor League Baseball helps bring recognition to other African-Americans doing great work in their respective fields and communities."
A native of Chattanooga, Tennessee, Craw has led the Jacksonville club since September 2015, when the Fast Forward Sports Group officially took over the franchise. In 2017, Craw became the first African-American to win Executive of the Year for any league in Minor League Baseball. He was voted the 2017 Southern League Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year by the general managers of the league member clubs.
After helping the franchise draw nationwide attention following their Nov. 2, 2016 rebrand, Craw oversaw an incredible 23 percent increase in attendance for the inaugural Jumbo Shrimp season in 2017, the largest increase for any Double-A club. The success carried over to the following campaign, as the July 3, 2018 crowd of 11,762 was the largest at the Baseball Grounds in 10 years and the four crowds over 8,700 were the four largest in the Southern League in 2018. The Jumbo Shrimp's average attendance of 5,037 in 2018 also marked the first time in eight years that Jacksonville has averaged at least 5,000 fans in consecutive seasons.
Craw's tenure in Jacksonville has also seen the club receive several honors. A new ballpark menu featuring more than a dozen shrimp options at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville was selected to appear on the Travel Channel show "Food Paradise." The JAXSPORTS Jumbo Shrimp Neck Pillow Giveaway was named the top Minor League Baseball giveaway item by MLB.com Cut4 and Silent Movie Night in 2017 won awards as June and August's respective Minor League Baseball Promotion of the Month. The Jumbo Shrimp have also hosted free military appreciation nights in each of the last three seasons and celebrated Northeast Florida's Negro Leagues legacy with throwback Jacksonville Red Caps uniforms and a fan jersey giveaway.
Set to enter his 18th season in Minor League Baseball, Craw worked for the Johnson City Cardinals, Charleston RiverDogs, Quad Cities River Bandits and Chattanooga Lookouts prior to coming to Jacksonville. While with Charleston, he was twice recognized by the South Atlantic League as Sales Executive of the Year and also for his work in community relations. Craw has been active in volunteering in each community he has lived in, co-founding and co-chairing the Charleston RBI Baseball League and mentoring middle school youth throughout Jacksonville's Duval County Public Schools 5000 Role Models program.
UP NEXT: Opening Day for the Jumbo Shrimp in 2019 is Thursday, April 4, against the Jackson Generals at the Baseball Grounds Jacksonville. Season tickets, mini plans, and corporate outings are on sale now. Visit www.jaxshrimp.com or phone 904-358-2846 to secure yours today.
ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp offer affordable family fun at the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville. Their inaugural season garnered the Southern League's Don Mincher Organization of the Year, Promotional Trophy and Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year, won by General Manager Harold Craw. To experience the excitement with the terrific value of ticket and group options, call the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visit www.jaxshrimp.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.