ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Minor League Baseball president Pat O'Conner issued the following statement regarding the passing last night of Pawtucket Red Sox owner Ben Mondor and this morning of Harold Cooper, who was president of the International League from 1978-90:
"Our game has lost two icons with the recent passing of Ben Mondor and Harold Cooper. These two men were architects of the modern Minor League Baseball era. Their tireless efforts in Minor League Baseball are no more evident than the fact they sustained Minor League Baseball through some of our roughest years and completed the task of returning it to the limelight it richly deserves.
Ben Mondor took a Pawtucket franchise from the depths of bankruptcy and led it to prominence in Minor League Baseball's highest classification. Ben was recognized by every major industry publication for his executive and ownership successes. More telling is the love affair Ben had with his team, fans and front office staff. From first-class operations to a major renovation of McCoy Stadium, Ben handled his ownership with dignity, respect and responsibility. His gentle, but steady, hand will always be present in the workings of the Pawtucket franchise. Seldom are we privileged to associate with the likes of Ben Mondor.
In many respects, Harold Cooper was professional baseball in Columbus, Ohio. Harold rose from the ranks of a clubhouse attendant to general manager of the Columbus franchise. His fierce style and competitive nature made him a giant in our industry. Harold served our game in many positions, and in many ways. His knowledge of baseball's inner workings was rarely matched, and his reputation in the game seldom equaled. As a childhood fan of the Columbus team, I personally benefitted from Harold's involvement in the game. As an organization, we owe him a debt of gratitude. He will be sorely missed.
Our thoughts and prayers go out their families, friends and colleagues."
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.