Named in honor of the longtime National League president, the Warren Giles Award is presented annually for outstanding service by a league president at the final banquet of the Winter Meetings.
But Minor League Baseball might want to consider creating a new award in honor of this year's Giles Award recipient, John Henry Moss.
Back in March, Moss announced that this year would be his last as president of the Class A South Atlantic League, with Dec. 31 marking the end of his 60-year tenure.
In 1947, Moss took over a then-semi-pro Western Carolina League as the youngest president in league history. A year later, the WCL gained full professional status. The league disbanded, but Moss revived it in 1960 as a full, eight-team Class A circuit known as the Western Carolinas League. The name was changed to the South Atlantic League in 1980.
In the intervening years, Moss' name has become virtually synonymous with the league as he's overseen its growth from a circuit limited to the western region of North Carolina into a 16-team league that includes clubs in North and South Carolina, Georgia, Kentucky, West Virginia, Maryland and even New Jersey and Ohio. During his term, a total of 43 different cities have been home to "Sally League" teams.
In each of the past five seasons, the league has shattered attendance records, with nearly 4 million fans streaming through those 16 gates in 2007.
In June, Eric Krupa was announced as Moss' successor, making him only the second president in league history. Krupa previously served as director of business and finance for Minor League Baseball. But if you can't imagine a Sally League without Mr. Moss in the picture, fear not. He will inherit the title of president emeritus and doubtless remain active and visible in league activities. Among his endeavors will be creating a permanent home for the league's Hall of Fame, which, not surprisingly, he was an inaugural member.
"We've already begun to talk to some cities. In fact, we have talked with three and have three offers, so it's a situation where we need to put all the dots together and get it going," he said of the Hall, which boasts 84 members. "It's going to be an exciting challenge, I think, for a league to have its own Hall of Fame."
Moss will pursue those efforts from his home in Kings Mountain, N.C., where he served as mayor for 24 years. (Don't ask him which job he considered "moonlighting.")
Moss leaves his post with the longest tenure of any active league president and numerous citations on his resume, including a Giles Award back in 1993. He was named Minor League Baseball's "King of Baseball," an honor bestowed upon him at the 1990 Winter Meetings for meritorious lifetime service to the game. He's also a member of several other Halls of Fame.
"It's certainly gratifying," Moss said of winning the award a second time, especially in his last year of official service. "You develop, the longer you stay in the game, a great deal of respect for the institution itself and the other people you work with. And you get an opportunity to reflect on how they've contributed to what success you've had."