After spending 19 years as a player in both the Minor and Major Leagues, Don Mincher became the general manager of the Huntsville Stars of the Southern League in 1984, later purchasing the team as part of a group in 1994. During his tenure as owner, the team was successful at the gate and in the standings, and Mincher was elected as president of the Southern League in 2000. His resume includes more than 200 big-league homers and a World Series championship with the 1972 Oakland A's, as well as two Southern League Executive of the Year Awards. Mincher lives in Huntsville, Ala., with his wife of more than 50 years, Pat.
What makes the Southern League special?
I think the tradition of the Southern League is what makes up special. We go back to the early 1900s.
Outside of the SL, what's your favorite Minor League ballpark?
I have to be honest: I haven't been to that many parks outside my league. But I really enjoyed being at the ballpark [The Dell Diamond] in Round Rock .
Who is the best player you've seen come through the Southern League?
I could name an awful lot of players. We've had Canseco and Thomas. But I'm going to say Tom Gordon. I saw him when he came through Huntsville, and he was unhittable.
What's the one initiative you'd like to see accomplished before your term ends?
I love the old stadiums, but I'd like to see us all have updated, modern-day stadiums.
Favorite offseason activity?
I play a little golf, but I'm not very good. I'm just happy to be out there.
Being the league president is...
The culmination of my entire life in baseball. I started in professional baseball as a 17-year-old player in the Minor Leagues, after which I spent 13 years in the big leagues with Minnesota, California and Oakland. I've had my hands in all facets of the game, and it's been a lifelong endeavor.
What's the best thing about Minor League Baseball?
Seeing young players, with their raw talent and enthusiasm, before they get to the big leagues, where some of that energy gets knocked down a bit. We get to see these future superstars in the Minor Leagues.