ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minor League Baseball is proud to announce that, beginning this season, the champions of the Gulf Coast League will be presented the Thomas J. Saffell Trophy, named after the league's president from 1980-2009. MiLB is in its first year operating the Rookie-level league, after Saffell retired following last season.
"I think it's a wonderful thing, one of the best things that happened to me in baseball," Saffell said about the honor. "The Gulf Coast League has been my life for the last 30 years."
"For many years, Tom Saffell was the Gulf Coast League," Minor League Baseball president, Pat O'Conner, stated. "Through his stewardship and care, the league has developed into one of the premier entry-level leagues in Minor League Baseball.
"Given his career as a player, manager and administrator, it's very fitting that the top prize in the GCL be named the Thomas J. Saffell Trophy," O'Conner added.
Saffell was named the 1999 King of Baseball, an award that honors a baseball veteran for long time dedication and service to the game. At the Baseball Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, Ind., in December, 2009, O'Conner presented Saffell with a Presidential Citation, a special award designed to recognize exemplary service on behalf of Minor League Baseball.
Tom played professionally for 18 years, including parts of the 1949, 1950, 1951 and 1955 seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He also appeared in nine games with the Kansas City Athletics in 1955. Saffell managed in the Minor Leagues in 1961-62, 1965 and from 1969-72.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.