ST. PETERSBURG, Florida — Minor League Baseball announced today that it has selected South Atlantic League President Eric Krupa as the recipient of the 34th annual Warren Giles Award, which honors outstanding service as a league president.
The Warren Giles Award has been presented annually since 1984 and is named for the long-time baseball executive who served as the National League president from 1951 to 1969. Krupa will receive his award at the Baseball Winter Meetings Banquet on Sunday, Dec. 10, at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
“Eric Krupa has been an excellent leader for the South Atlantic League and his service on various Minor League Baseball committees, combined with his efforts to improve and promote our game cannot be overstated,” said Minor League Baseball President & CEO Pat O’Conner. “Going back to when Eric joined the National Association office, he has been a tremendous ambassador for Minor League Baseball and continues to do so as president of one of our strongest leagues. On behalf of Minor League Baseball, it is my pleasure to present Eric with this honor.”
“It is an honor to win this award and I am blessed with the opportunity to serve so many talented owners, general managers and their staffs,” said Krupa. “I want to thank the clubs in the South Atlantic League for their wonderful support over the past 10 years.”
Krupa became the South Atlantic League president in 2008, and sits on Minor League Baseball’s Charities Committee, previously serving on the MiLB Umpire Committee. In addition to overseeing the 14-team league, Krupa created and maintains a website (www.clubphilanthropy.com) that chronicles the charitable and philanthropic activity of Minor League Baseball clubs, showcasing the generous contributions of clubs across
the country and serving as a resource for clubs looking for new ideas to use in their communities.
He pioneered the use of computer-generated schedules by Minor League Baseball leagues as he worked closely with the Applied Mathematics Department at Johns Hopkins University to create the program that generated the 2016 South Atlantic League schedule and is now used by several other leagues.
Following the 2013 season, Krupa worked with the Wendelstedt Umpire School to develop a set of charts to assist in the application of the rules related to regulation and suspended games (OBR 7.02). These charts provide an easy-to-use decision tree to ensure the proper application of the rules.
In 2016, Baseball Chapel awarded Krupa its prestigious Bowie Kuhn Award, which honors an individual, team or organization who demonstrates support of the chapel program in professional baseball.
During the 2017 season, Krupa and the South Atlantic League partnered with Force3 Pro Gear to offer SAL umpires the opportunity to wear the Force3 Defender mask in an effort to measure the effectiveness of the mask in reducing umpire injuries.
Prior to taking over as president of the South Atlantic League, Krupa spent 10 years as the Director of Business & Finance for the Minor League Baseball office in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he also served as the administrator of the Professional Baseball Umpire Corp. which oversaw recruiting, training and evaluation of all umpires throughout Minor League Baseball.
Born in Rio de Janeiro, Krupa earned his bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from Lafayette College in 1992 and earned a master’s degree in Sports Administration and Facility Management from Ohio University in 1996. Prior to attending Ohio University, Krupa interned and served as Visiting Clubhouse Manager for the Reading Phillies (now Fightin Phils) in 1995 and during grad school he interned with Walt Disney World Sports, where he assisted in the opening of the Disney Wide World of Sports complex in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Krupa and his wife, Melissa, have one daughter and reside in Safety Harbor, Florida.
PAST WARREN GILES AWARD WINNERS
1984 Charles Eshbach, Eastern League
1985 Bill Walters, Midwest League
1986 Joe Ryan, American Association
1987 Carl Sawatski, Texas League
1988 Harold Cooper, International League
1989 Jimmy Bragan, Southern League
1990 Joe Gagliardi, California League
1991 Chuck Murphy, Florida State League
1992 Bill Cutler, Pacific Coast League
1993 John Moss, South Atlantic League
1994 Randy Mobley, International League
1995 John Hopkins, Carolina League
1996 Freddy Jana, Dominican Summer League
1997 George Spelius, Midwest League
1998 Branch Rickey, Pacific Coast League
1999 Bob Richmond, Northwest League
2000 Bill Troubh, Eastern League
2001 Lee Landers, Appalachian League
2002 Randy Mobley, International League
2003 Tom Kayser, Texas League
2004 Saul Gonzalez, Venezuelan Summer League &
2005 Tom Saffell, Gulf Coast League
2006 Joe McEacharn, Eastern League
2007 John H. Moss, South Atlantic League
2008 Don Mincher, Southern League
2009 Ben Hayes, New York-Penn League
2010 George Spelius, Midwest League
2011 Chuck Murphy, Florida State League
2012 Bob Richmond, Northwest & Arizona Leagues
2013 Plinio Escalante, Mexican League
2014 Branch B. Rickey, Pacific Coast League
2015 Randy Mobley, International League
2016 John Hopkins, Carolina and Charlie Blaney, California
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