As Director of Communications and Baseball Information for Rochester Community Baseball (Rochester Red Wings), Morrie Silver is charged with developing the team’s strategic communication plans, disseminating pertinent information to the media and the public, organizing press availabilities for players, coaches, and executives, and coordinating the staff responsible for executing the team’s communications apparatus. Morrie engages regularly with the team’s Major League affiliate, the Washington Nationals, to ensure seamless communication between the organizations.
As both entrepreneur and analyst, Morrie founded a full-service player development organization, Silver Dawg, Inc., implementing cutting edge technology aimed at developing clients more effectively. Morrie and his team at Silver Dawg have been successful in aiding numerous players in being drafted by Major League Baseball clubs, and has published studies in the player development realm.
Before being appointed to his current role at RCB, Morrie served as Pitching Coach and Director of Baseball Operations for St. John Fisher University’s baseball team, and served as the Wings’ assistant bench coach. In his time at Fisher, he led the program to become one of the top player development organizations in the nation.
Morrie graduated from St. John Fisher University with a degree in legal studies and sports management.
The Silver Story
Local music store owner and real estate developer Morrie Silver came to the rescue of professional baseball in Rochester in the winter of 1956-57, when the St. Louis Cardinals decided to sell their fledgling Triple-A franchise. Silver, whose true passion was serving his community, organized a stock drive to buy the Red Wings and keep them in the Flower City.
There were 8,222 shareholders who purchased the club, a number that has been retired on the left-centerfield fence at Frontier Field, and Silver became the largest shareholder of them all. The 1957 season was the first community-owned season for the Red Wings, who remained a Cardinals affiliate until the end of the 1960 season.
Silver became the first president of Rochester Community Baseball, Inc., running the day-to-day operation of the club. The Brighton native stayed at his post until “retiring” after the 1968 season and moving his family to Miami Beach, Florida. He was actually still at the helm over all aspects of the club while in Florida until he passed away in 1974. Red Wing Stadium, meanwhile, the home of the Red Wings since 1929, was renamed Silver Stadium on August 19, 1968.
Morrie’s wife Anna B. and his daughter Naomi returned to Rochester in January 1975 to carry on Morrie’s legacy. Anna B. became the Chairman of the Board in 1982 and young Naomi started as an intern in 1988. Naomi’s primary task in her first year was handling stock transfers (i.e. when a deceased grandparent passes on his stock to a son or grandson). Then in 1989, Naomi took over the operation of the team souvenir store.
Naomi would later work in the accounting department and in concessions, eventually forming a separate concessions entity in 1994, Rochester Community Baseball Enterprises. She also became the Red Wings’ voting member for the International League in 1993, the same year she began a lobbying effort for a new ballpark that would replace Silver Stadium. Frontier Field would later open in 1997, and the street along the west side of the ballpark was re-named Morrie Silver Way. Over the years, she continued to oversee accounting, the team store, office personnel, and the relationship with the Red Wings’ parent club, the Baltimore Orioles.
Naomi further continued her father’s legacy by serving as Vice President of the Board of Directors from 1989-99 and then as President from 2000-10. She became the Red Wings’ President/Chief Executive Officer/Chief Operating Officer in 2010, a position she still holds to this day, overseeing all aspects of the club.
A statue featuring Morrie and a young baseball player stands in the courtyard that leads to the main entrance of Frontier Field, providing a permanent memorial of the civic leader and a meeting place for fans. The bronze figures, commissioned by sculptor Dejan Pejovic, was dedicated on July 25, 2007 in a ceremony that included Hall of Fame Manager Earl Weaver, Rochester’s Mr. Baseball Joe Altobelli, International League President Randy Mobley, and several political dignitaries from the city, county, and state.
Morrie’s legacy also is remembered on an annual basis with Morrie Silver Family Scholarship. The scholarships are awarded by the Silver Family to employees of the Red Wings who are pursuing a full-time course study at an accredited two- or four-year college, university or vocational school. Each applicant is considered on the basis of academic achievement, financial need, extra curricular activities, job performance and recommendations from supervisors. Those employees who are selected for the scholarship show exemplary work ethic, solid academic achievement and a desire to continue their education to accomplish their goals.
Morrie was a charter inductee to the Red Wings Hall of Fame in 1989, 15 years after his passing. Naomi was inducted in 2007.