(GREENSBORO, NC) – If Donald Moore’s game attire included a uniform number on the back of his customary beach-style button down, the baseball gods might assign him the number 27408, the Greensboro zip code where he spent his first six decades of life. That number would be retired someday to honor the most transformative figure in Greensboro’s pro baseball history. Moore, however, a Page High School and NC State University alum, wears no number and is not retiring, just changing titles.
Today in a news conference at First National Bank (FNB) Field, Temerity Baseball Chairman Andy Sandler announced that five-time South Atlantic League General Manager of the Year, Grasshoppers President & General Manager Donald Moore, will transition into the role of team president emeritus effective October 1st. His long-time Assistant General Manager Tim Vangel will succeed Moore as the team’s GM.
“Donald is just rounding third and heading for home on a remarkable, Hall of Fame career run,” explained Sandler. “He will always be the team’s ambassador in the Greensboro community and will continue to build and maintain partnerships in the business and charitable worlds.”
Former Greensboro mayor and the President/CEO of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation Jim Melvin, who entered the SAL Hall of Fame along with Moore in 2018, hired him to lead the Greensboro Bats front office prior to the 2002 season when the team played in War Memorial Stadium. Both shared similar visions of how a city’s minor league baseball team could revitalize a downtown and bring residents and visitors together for a common cause.
Melvin, Moore and many other community stakeholders worked countless hours to plan, design and ultimately build the facility known today as FNB Field on the northern end of downtown Greensboro. Since opening in 2005, the Grasshoppers have hosted more than six million baseball fans at their games. Many more have enjoyed the ballpark for college and high school baseball, including the 2006 Atlantic Coast Conference Baseball Tournament, SAL All-Star Games (2006 & 2016), non-profit events, concerts, and other non-baseball events.
Donald Moore’s legacy extends beyond helping to save the Gate City’s professional baseball team after the aging War Memorial Stadium became obsolete for modern-day, Minor League Baseball (MiLB). Along with his staff and civic-minded ownership group, Moore established a new standard of excellence for a Class A ballclub operation and consistently ranked at or near the top in terms of annual attendance. Baseball America bestowed its Bob Freitas Award to Greensboro honoring the top performing team at each classification of affiliated, professional baseball twice in 2008 and 2021.
“I am very honored to have run this organization for the last 22 years,” reflected Moore who partnered with the Yankees (2001-02), Marlins (2003-2018) and Pirates (2019-present) during his time as the lead executive for the Greensboro team.
“I thank Jim Melvin and our previous ownership for the opportunity and am thankful to Andy (Sandler) for allowing me to stay involved in a limited capacity. I am also excited for Tim (Vangel) and know he will excel as the General Manager.”
Known for providing his hometown with affordable, family-oriented entertainment in a pristine ballpark, he endeared himself to generations of fans with his innovative inclusion of the bat dog into the ballpark experience. His beloved black Labrador Retrievers’ names tap into the rich history of the greatest players of all-time: Master Yogi Berra, Miss Babe Ruth, Miss Lou Lou Gehrig, Little Jackie Robinson and Willie Mae Mays. The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown honored Miss Babe Ruth’s 10 seasons of dutiful service of providing umpires with buckets of balls and retrieving Grasshoppers player bats at home games. Master Yogi Berra remains the only bat dog in baseball history to be ejected from a game by an umpire. Fans clamored for a chance to pet and take a selfie on their way out of the game, and Donald and his dogs became fixtures at the main gate.
In addition to the accolades and strong attendance numbers, Donald oversaw significant developments that weaved MiLB baseball into a Greater Greensboro tradition. Simultaneous with running the Greensboro Bats, Moore led the planning, design and construction of FNB Field while creating a new team name and brand, the Grasshoppers, that debuted in 2005 once the team re-located downtown.
The ballpark proved to be a catalyst of development within and outside the confines of the ballpark. Moore shepherded stadium improvement projects to completion including the expansion of party decks on the suite level, the addition of “Sunbrella Hill” and the addition of the nine-story office building down the rightfield line. Outside developers have enhanced the FNB Field site lines with apartments beyond the outfield fences, and the City of Greensboro built a parking deck to stimulate further development across Bellemeade Street.
Donald’s love for sports is insatiable, and he even worked as a caddy on the PGA Tour early in his career. His stewardship of baseball included interaction with thousands of players, coaches, scouts, umpires, and fellow front office colleagues from all over the world. He enjoyed tremendous pride in providing a conducive environment where players could develop into big leaguers. The team and community will honor Moore with a “Thanks Donald!” Night on Saturday, September 2nd, the penultimate game of the 2023 regular season featuring the Hickory Crawdads versus the ‘Hoppers at 6:30 pm.
A husband (Kim) and father of two (Allison and Donald, Jr.), Moore taught his staff the inner workings of the baseball business as a father figure. Under his leadership, his key front office staff tenure topped more than a decade for many individuals. That steadfastness helped fuel the team’s success year after year.
His legacy will continue through his own continued efforts as President Emeritus and his lessons imparted to 20+ year Greensboro front office teammate Tim Vangel, who will succeed Moore as the team’s general manager.
NOTABLE TEAM AWARDS DURING DONALD MOORE’S TENURE:
South Atlantic League “GM/Executive of the Year” (2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2018)
South Atlantic League “Club Merit Award” (2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2013, 2018)
South Atlantic League Community Service Award (2014, 2015, 2016)
Baseball America’s Class A “Bob Freitas Award” (2008, 2021)
Joseph M. Bryan Foundation “Unsung Community Hero Award” (2010)
Guilford County Sports Hall of Fame Inductee (2010)
American Diabetes Association “Father of the Year” (2010)
Goodwill Industries “Margaret Earle Employer of the Year” (2011, 2016)
South Atlantic League Hall of Fame Inductee (2018)
NOTABLE COMMUNITY ROLES FOR DONALD MOORE:
Founding member & former President of the NC Association of Professional Baseball Teams
Past President & Chairman of Greensboro Sports Council
Board Member of Greensboro Sports Foundation
Board Member of Bryan Park Commission
Board Member of First Tee of the Triad
Past Board Member of Bryan Family YMCA
Past Board Member of Downtown Greensboro Inc.
Past Board Member of Guilford Merchants Association