By HERB SWETT
Of the Keizertimes
Pat O’Conner, president of Minor League Baseball, made history Saturday by being the first in his position to visit a minor league stadium in the Salem-Keizer area.
O’Conner was at Volcanoes Stadium for the game against Everett and spoke with spectators during the first and second innings.
Asked what brought him, he said: “I was in the area. It was part of a 10-day trip on the west coast.” He added that when he became president in 2008, he made a commitment to visit a club in each of the 17 minor leagues each year.
An Ohio native who lives in St. Petersburg, Fla., O’Conner received a bachelor’s degree from Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio, and a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University. He was general manager of the Greenwood Pirates of the South Atlantic League and then assistant general manager of the Beaumont Golden Gators of the Texas League before becoming head of Florida operations for the Houston Astros in 1985.
O’Conner was general manager of the Osceola Astros of the Florida State League from 1986 to 1993 and was named league Executive of the Year in 1988 after Osceola led the league with an 83-54 record.
He became chief operating officer of Minor League Baseball in 1993 and added the position of vice president of administration in 1995. In those capacities, he served under Mike Moore during a period of rapid growth among the 160 minor league clubs. As chief operating officer, he was involved in ending a 67-day strike of minor league umpires in 2006.