Ralph Nelson is a true Renaissance Man of baseball.
The President and CEO of the Trash Pandas, Ralph is also the Managing Partner of BallCorps LLC, an amalgamation of more than 50 partners from throughout the United States, including numerous investors from North Alabama.
Ralph enjoyed a 25-year career in Major League Baseball, including 17 years with the San Francisco Giants, 10 years in which he directly oversaw or managed minor league and player development operations, including seven seasons as Vice President and Assistant General Manager.
Not satisfied with working in just one sport, Ralph was an NCAA Basketball referee for more than 20 years, primarily in the Pacific-10 Conference, during off-seasons with the Giants.
Ralph also brings experience in operating new franchises as he was a key executive in the inaugural three years of the Arizona Diamondbacks - first as Expansion Director and, subsequently, Director of Baseball Operations.
With the Diamondbacks, Ralph was responsible for selecting 34 players in the 1997 MLB Expansion Draft, 11 of whom contributed to the 2001 World Series Championship team, the fastest period in baseball history for an expansion team to win the World Series - just four seasons following the team's inception.
Ralph was then recruited by the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball in New York, where he spent five years (1999-2003) as Vice President of Umpiring. In the Commissioner's Office, he managed all MLB umpiring, including serving as a key member of collective bargaining negotiating team in 2000 along with Sandy Alderson and now-Commissioner Rob Manfred. Ralph conceptualized and oversaw the historic consolidation of the American and National League umpires, merging the two league staffs, creating umpire performance and evaluation standards, writing MLB's first-ever Umpiring Manual, and re-imaging the umpires in new uniforms representing MLB. After leaving New York, he founded and served as CEO of Excel Sports Officiating (ESO), the first national online training organization for officials in numerous sports. ESO was purchased three years later by its first client, the NCAA.
Ralph "retired" to Vermont in 2010, but that lifestyle didn't suit him, as he spent two years as a Town Manager and developed an Economic Development Plan hailed by the Governor of Vermont as "the best (he) has ever seen." This exposed Ralph to the complex bureaucracy of municipal and state governments, laying the groundwork of what was to come by the end of the decade.
He also spent two years as Executive Director of a New England nonproﬁt organization which provided sports and recreational activities to the disabled community, where he significantly improved business operations and increased fundraising revenues.
Since founding BallCorps, Ralph negotiated the purchase of the Mobile BayBears Southern League team, oversaw the successful rebranding of the franchise to the Rocket City Trash Pandas, and negotiated a 30-year lease and development agreement with the City of Madison to construct a $46.6 million Minor League Baseball stadium at Town Madison, a residential/retail/dining/lifestyle community unique in North Alabama.
Ralph and his wife, Lisa, live in Huntsville.