PORTLAND, Maine — Portland Sea Dogs team President Charlie Eshbach announced today that he is stepping down from leadership of the team following a 45-year career in baseball, including the last 25 seasons with the Sea Dogs.
“I’ve been with Charlie Eshbach since day one with the Portland Sea Dogs when I was with the Florida Marlins. If there’s one person that stands out as ‘Mr. Sea Dog,’ it’s Charlie,” Red Sox President of Baseball Operations Dave Dombrowski said in a press release. “I congratulate him on a great career and thank him for everything he has done for our organization, and baseball in general.”
Executive Vice President and General Manager Geoff Iacuessa will assume the role of president and general manager, and Eshbach will serve as a senior adviser.
“Charlie has been a remarkable leader of our organization, combining great vision with a strong business sense and commitment to our fans and our community,” team chairman Bill Burke said in a release. “High on his list of achievements is the recruiting and grooming of future leaders, including Geoff Iacuessa.”
Iacuessa has served as the executive vice president and general manager of the Sea Dogs since the fall of 2010. The University of Massachusetts graduate will enter his 19th season as a member of the Portland organization in 2019.
Iacuessa started his career with the Sea Dogs as an intern in 2001 before being hired as the director of group sales in 2002. He went on to become the director of sales and promotions in 2004 and was promoted to assistant general manager at the end of the 2006 season.
Iacuessa, who in 2015 was honored as the Eastern League Executive of the Year, lives in South Portland with his wife, Kristie, and son, Hudson.
“On behalf of John Henry, Tom Werner, all the men and women of the Boston Red Sox, I congratulate Geoff Iacuessa on this well-earned promotion and we look forward to continuing to work with him to develop future Red Sox,” Red Sox President and CEO Sam Kennedy said in the release.
“We also congratulate Charlie Eshbach for his incredible run with the great Portland Sea Dogs organization and are forever grateful for all that he has done for us and our colleagues here in Boston and his contributions to world championship teams. We wish him well and hope to see him a lot in Fenway Park.”
Eshbach was the Sea Dogs original employee when he was hired by Dan Burke in the fall of 1992 and was inducted into the Sea Dogs Hall of Fame last month.
“Charlie was employee No. 1 at the Portland Sea Dogs and the best hire my father could have made,” the team chairman, Bill Burke, said. “He has led this franchise with vision and high integrity and his hard work and good humor have been invaluable to all of us.”
Under Eshbach’s leadership the Sea Dogs have been one of the Eastern League’s model franchises. In the teams’ inaugural season in 1994, the Sea Dogs led the league in attendance attracting over 375,000 fans and consistently rank among the league’s attendance leaders.
The Sea Dogs were awarded the 1999 Freitas Award, which is presented by Baseball America to honor the best operators in Minor League Baseball. In 2000, the Sea Dogs won the John H. Johnson President’s Trophy, which is Minor League Baseball’s top honor presented to the complete baseball franchise based upon franchise stability, contributions to the league, contributions to baseball in the community and promotion of the baseball industry.
Following the 2013 season, Eshbach was awarded the distinguished “King of Baseball” award for his accomplishments in the game.
Prior to joining the Sea Dogs Eshbach served 11 years as Eastern League President and was presented the inaugural Warren Giles Award for outstanding service as a league president in 1984. During his time as league president, Eshbach served a three-year term on the Executive Committee of Minor League Baseball and served as interim President of Minor League Baseball in 1988.
Eshbach began his career in Minor League Baseball in 1974 with the Elmira Pioneers (NY-Penn League). In 1975 he joined the Bristol Red Sox, Boston’s Double-A team in the Eastern League. Having served in the Eastern League since 1975, Eshbach is the longest serving active member of the league. Eshbach also served as General Manager of the Reading Phillies in 1978.
Follow BDN Maine Sports on Facebook for the latest in Maine high school and college sports.